David Broadhurst

Category: 1970s /  All Harkness Stories /  Higher Education /  Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths / 

David Broadhurst (HF 1971-73) had the great fortune to be a Harkness fellow at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center when physicists were discovering the fundamental theories of the strong and weak interactions of quarks and leptons. This was followed by a Royal Society fellowship at CERN in Geneva and a fellowship at Balliol College, Oxford. David's Harkness fellowship provided the opportunity to visit more than 40 of the United States and three quarters of its national parks. He met Margaret in Fern Canyon, Humboldt County, California and they wed in Coventry in 1975, by which time David was intensively engaged in teaching physics and mathematics to students of the Open University. He continued to combine research and teaching until his retirement from a readership in 2013, since when he has enjoyed frequent invitations to conferences and workshops on quantum field theory and the exquisite mathematics that it entails. He continues to be amazed by "the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences" and lives in hope of seeing an eventual proof of the Broadhurst-Kreimer conjecture on multiple zeta values. A formula discovered by David was inscribed on the bronze statue awarded to Andrew Wiles by the Clay Mathematical Institute to celebrate the proof of Fermat's last theorem. David served for more than 30 years as a governor of a primary school that seeks to combine sound education with human values. When in need of solace he turns to Bach and to his grandchildren.