Biography

**"***I come not from Heaven, but
from Essex*." William Morris

Mark V Lawson was educated at Belfairs High School in Leigh-on-Sea, Southend Technical College, York University and Cambridge. He received his BA in Mathematics from York University in 1981, studied for the Part III at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and then returned to York to work on his DPhil under the supervision of John Fountain. During this time, he was also a part-time course tutor for the Open University. His post-docs took him first to Lincoln College, Oxford for three years as the Thomas Rotherham Junior Research Fellow in Mathematics, and then to the Technische Hochschule (since renamed), Darmstadt to work for a year in Karl H. Hofmann's research group supported by a Royal Society European Exchange Scheme Programme Fellowship. In 1989, he returned to Britain to take up a lectureship in mathematics at the University of Wales, Bangor. In 1999, he became a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at Bangor, and in 2004 he moved to Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh to take up a lectureship. He was promoted to senior lecturer in 2007 and professor in 2015.

Lawson has published over 80 papers with his research interests centred on algebraic semigroup theory. He has made research visits to Australia (1992, 1994), Hungary (1996), France (2016, 2018), Germany (1996, 2012), Portugal (1998, 2001, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2016, 2018, 2023), Israel (2000, 2009) and Canada (2000, 2010, 2012, 2016).

Seven research students have successfully completed their PhDs under his supervision: Peter Hines (1998), Helen James (2000), Tanveer Khan (2001), Joseph Matthews (2004) , David Gareth Jones (2011), Bassima Afara (2013) and Alistair Wallis (2013). A new PhD student, Francesco Tesolin, began in 2024.

His book Inverse semigroups: the theory of partial symmetries was published by World Scientific in 1998 and has been well-reviewed. A second edition is currently being prepared. He has written three other books: Finite automata, published in 2003 (soon to appear in a Japanese version),Algebra & Geometry: an introduction to university mathematics,published in 2016 (the Second Edition appeared in 2021) andA first course in logic,published in December 2018. He has also contributed chapters to theHandbook of networked and embedded control systemsedited by Dimitrios Hristu-Varsakelis and William S. Levine, published in 2004, and toWagner's theory of generalised heapsby Chris Hollings published in 2017. In 2003, he carried out research for DSTL on automata theory. He has been one of the communicating editors of Semigroup Forum since February 2011, and between 2005 and 2013 he was one of the algebra editors for the Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society. Between 2020 and 2023, he was on the editorial board of theInternational Journal of Algebra and Computation.

In 2011, he was awarded the Graduates' Teaching Prize at Heriot-Watt University.

In 2017, he was awarded the Mahony-Neumann-Room Prize by theAustralian Mathematical Society.

His role as first year co-ordinator in mathematics came to an end in September 2022. Previously, he was a member of the University's Discipline Committee, the Undergraduate Studies Committee and served two terms as a member of Senate. In 2017, he completed three years as pure mathematics external examiner for NUI, Galway having previously been external examiner for pure mathematics at the University of Newcastle for four years until 2013 and sub-honours external examiner for mathematics at St Andrews University for three years until 2014. He is currently looking after first-year induction during Welcome Week.

Two forebears (my thanks to Peter Jones) of his fought in WWI. His great uncle, William Henry Lawson, was a career soldier in the East Kent Regiment (the Buffs) and fought at the Second Battle of Ypres. Charles Peirce Eccleshall fought in the Dardanelles. Neither survived the war.

"... where the body of the people, or any single man, is deprived of their right, or is under the exercise of a power without right, and have no appeal on earth,

then they have a liberty to appeal to heaven, whenever they judge the cause of sufficient moment."John Locke, buried in High Laver, Essex.