John Stillwell

John Stillwell

Faculty Emeritus

Faculty Emeritus
Harney Science Center 121A


John Stillwell was born in Melbourne, Australia, and taught at Monash University from 1970 until 2001, before moving to USF in 2002.

He was an invited speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1994, and his mathematical writing has been honored with the Chauvenet Prize of the Mathematical Association of America in 2005 and the book award of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in 2009.

Among his best-known books are Mathematics and Its History (3rd edition, 2010) and Yearning for the Impossible (winner of the AJCU book award in 2009).

His interests are history of mathematics in the 19th and 20th centuries, number theory, geometry, algebra, topology, foundations of mathematics.

In Australia during spring and summer.


  • PhD, MIT, 1970

Selected Publications

  • Classical Topology and Combinatorial Group Theory (Springer 1980)
  • Mathematics and Its History (Springer 1989) Geometry of Surfaces (Springer 1992)
  • Elements of Algebra (Springer 1994)
  • Numbers and Geometry (Springer 1998)
  • Elements of Number Theory (Springer 2003)
  • The Four Pillars of Geometry (Springer 2005)
  • Yearning for the Impossible (A K Peters 2006)
  • Naive Lie Theory (Springer 2008)
  • Roads to Infinity (A K Peters 2010) The Real Numbers (Springer 2013)

Plus annotated translations of historic mathematical works, including:

  • Papers on Fuchsian Functions, by H. Poincaré (Springer, 1985)
  • Papers on Group Theory and Topology, by M. Dehn (Springer, 1987)
  • Theory of Algebraic Integers, by R. Dedekind (Cambridge University Press) 1996
  • Sources of Hyperbolic Geometry, by Beltrami, Klein & Poincaré (AMS, 1996)
  • Lectures on Number Theory, by P. G. L. Dirichlet (AMS, 1999)
  • Papers on Topology, by H. Poincaré (AMS, 2010)
  • Theory of Algebraic Functions of One Variable, by Dedekind & Weber (AMS, 2012)

Some recent invited lectures are available on YouTube: