MacArthur Fellows Program

Julia Robinson

Mathematician | Class of February 1983

Berkeley, California
64 at time of award
July 30, 1985
Published February 1, 1983

About Julia's Work

Julia Robinson was a mathematician whose work focused on the border between number theory and logic.

Robinson was best known for the simplicity, ingenuity, and beauty of her approach to mathematical problems.  In a 1951 Annals of Mathematics article entitled “An Iterative Method of Solving a Game,” she proved what is considered by many to be one of the most important theorems in elementary game theory.  She devoted much of her research to the problem of solving a Diophantine equation, the tenth of the famed twenty-three research problems posed in 1900 by the German mathematician David Hilbert.


Robinson served as a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, after joining the faculty in 1976.  She was the first woman inducted into the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1975 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1984.  She was the second woman to give the American Mathematical Society Colloquium Lectures in 1980, and served as the first woman president of the American Mathematical Society (1983-84).

Robinson received an A.B. (1940), an M.A. (1941), and a Ph.D. (1948) from the University of California, Berkeley.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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