John C. Butcher

John Charles Butcher ONZM (born 31 March 1933) is a New Zealand mathematician who specialises in numerical methods for the solution of ordinary differential equations.[1] Butcher works on multistage methods for initial value problems, such as Runge-Kutta and general linear methods. The Butcher group and the Butcher tableau are named after him.

More recently, he is investigating a new type of method with stability identical to that of a Runge-Kutta method.

Positions held

  • Lecturer, University of Sydney, 1959–1961.
  • Senior Lecturer, University of Canterbury, 1961–1964.
  • Computer Scientist, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, 1965–1966.[2]
  • Professor of Mathematics, University of Auckland, 1966–1979.
  • Head of Mathematics Department, University of Auckland, 1967–1973.
  • Founded Department of Computer Science, University of Auckland, 1980.
  • Professor of Computer Science, University of Auckland, 1980–1988.
  • Head of Applied and Computational Mathematics Unit, University of Auckland, 1989–1994, 1997–1998.
  • Professor of Mathematics, University of Auckland, 1989–1998.
  • Emeritus Professor, University of Auckland, 1999–present.


Butcher was awarded the Jones Medal from the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2010, for his "exceptional lifetime work on numerical methods for the solution of differential equations and leadership in the development of New Zealand mathematical sciences."[1] In 2011 he received the Van Wijngaarden Award.[3]

In the 2013 Queen's Birthday Honours, Butcher was appointed a Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to mathematics.[4]


  • Butcher, J. C. (1975), "A stability property of implicit Runge-Kutta methods", BIT, 15: 358–361, doi:10.1007/bf01931672.
  • Butcher, John C. (2008), Numerical methods for ordinary differential equations (2nd ed.), John Wiley & Sons Ltd., doi:10.1002/9780470753767, ISBN 978-0-470-72335-7, MR 2401398.


  1. The Royal Society of New Zealand (10 November 2010), 2010 Jones Medal Winner Professor Emeritus John Butcher (media release), archived from the original on 12 February 2013, retrieved 22 March 2012.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. "Van Wijngaarden Award 2011 for Éva Tardos and John Butcher" (Press release). Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica. 10 February 2011. Archived from the original on 21 February 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  4. "Queen's Birthday honours list 2013". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2018.

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