50th anniversary celebrations for Prof. Wilson and Prof. Johnson

Martin Johnson and John Wilson with their partners and the Master of Christ's

Today the College is holding a celebration of 50 years since the admission of Professor Martin Johnson and Professor John Wilson as Fellows of Christ’s College.  Johnson – a world-leading researcher into Human Reproduction and Embryology and its ethics, and author and editor of many world-leading scientific publications – and Wilson – an eminent mathematician specialising in group theory – were elected as Fellows in 1969 and remain prolific contributors to their fields of research. 

Prof. Martin Johnson

Martin Johnson was one of the first two graduate students of in vitro fertilisation pioneer, Bob Edwards.  Bodies such as the Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences, and Belgian Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts have recognised Johnson's work and he has authored over 300 research papers.  His current research investigates the history of the reproductive and developmental sciences and their historical relationship to the development of human in vitro fertilisation and other clinical technologies, and to their regulation legally and ethically. He was a specialist scientific advisor to the Joint Lords and Commons Committee scrutinizing the Draft Human Embryos and Tissue Bill (2007).  Most recently, he was the first RG Edwards lecturer in Lisbon (2012), Annual Historical lecturer, the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology, Istanbul (2012), opening plenary lecturer at the Canadian Fertility Society, Vancouver (2013) and the first Annual AE Szulman Memorial lecturer (Pittsburgh, 2015). He is author of Essential Reproduction (eigtth edition, Wiley Blackwell, January 2019), co-editor of Sexuality Repositioned (2004), Death Rites and Rights (2007) and Birth Rites and Rights (2011), and an editor of Reproductive Biomedicine Online and Reproductive Biomedicine and Society.

Prof. John Wilson

John Wilson gained his BA at Christ's College and later his PhD, with a dissertation entitled `Subgroups of finite index in infinite groups'. He was awarded a Smith’s Prize in 1968 and the degree of ScD in 1989.   After his election as a Fellow of Christ's College, he became a Lecturer in Mathematics in the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics. He has worked on many aspects of group theory and his best-known contributions are to the study of just infinite groups and branch groups, to profinite group theory, to generation results for finite simple groups, and solubility criteria for finite groups.  He held the Mason Chair of Mathematics in Birmingham from 1994 to 2003 and subsequently a professorship in Oxford.   His distinguished career has included appointments at a variety of other universities internationally in both Europe and the USA. He spent 20 years as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Group Theory from its foundation until 2017 and continues to be on its editorial board.  His most recent research publications are `Some geometric properties of metric ultraproducts of finite simple groups' (Israel J. Math. 227, 2018) and `Components and minimal normal subgroups of finite and pseudofinite groups' (J. Symbolic Logic  84, 2019).   His is the author of “The glass bead game” (Math. Intelligencer, 1997), which explores the links between music and mathematics in relation to Hesse’s 1943 novel of the same title.  In addition to his eminent mathematical career, he composes choral and instrumental music.  He is an Honorary Professor of the University of Leipzig.