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Dr Stephen Siklos

University Lecturer in Mathematics (retired)
Applied Mathematics
Theoretical Physics

I am a Fellow at Jesus College, but have now retired from my University position. My main research area has been General Relativity.

Academic interests

  • General relativity.

Degrees obtained

  • MA, Cantab.
  • PhD, Cantab.

Awards and prizes

  • Pilkington Teaching Prize, 1999.


The school I went to in Horsham was a state grammar school but it offered little help as far as Cambridge maths was concerned. It is now a rather good sixth form college. My school days were long before the internet, so there were few resources available.

Students nowadays are much better prepared and informed than I was, and a good thing it is. How very fortunate we are to have mathematics sites such as Cut the Knot at our disposal!

I did my first degree and Part III at Pembroke College and then did a year's teaching at a school in London. I enjoyed this very much. I considered making a career of it, but the head of the department assumed that I would go back to Cambridge and advertised for my replacement while I was still dithering.

My PhD on the properties of solutions of Einstein's equations representing cosmological models was supervised by Stephen Hawking, who was an excellent supervisor.

His ideas pointed me in the direction I followed for most of my research career at Oxford, then Queen Mary, University of London, then back at Cambridge. I joined Jesus College in 1999 and have been very happy here.

Much of my time now is spent on the Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP), the examination used as the basis for conditional offers for students wanting to study Mathematics at Cambridge.

Setting questions, and knocking other peoples' questions into shape, has been a great source of interest and entertainment over very many years. I helped set the first papers in 1987, and have been involved ever since.

Other interests

Music (viola), tennis, and bridge (an excellent game involving calculation, memory and psychology, sadly in decline).

Department link

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