Peter Johnstone (mathematician)

Peter Tennant Johnstone (born 1948) is Professor of the Foundations of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, and a fellow of St. John's College.[2] He invented or developed some ideas in topos theory. His thesis, completed at the University of Cambridge in 1974, was entitled "Some Aspects of Internal Category Theory in an Elementary Topos".[3]

Peter Johnstone
A picture of Johnstone as a lecturer at Cambridge in 1978.
Born1948 (age 7071)
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge
Known forCategory theory
Topos theory
AwardsWhitehead Prize (1979)[1]
Scientific career
ThesisSome Aspects of Internal Category Theory in an Elementary Topos (1974)
Doctoral advisorJohn Frank Adams

He is a great-great nephew of the Reverend George Gilfillan who was apostrophised in William McGonagall's first poem.[4]


  • Johnstone, Peter (1977), Topos Theory, Academic Press, ISBN 978-0-12-387850-2, Zbl 0368.18001.
"[F]ar too hard to read, and not for the faint-hearted"[5]
  • Johnstone, Peter (1982), Stone Spaces, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-33779-3, Zbl 0499.54001.
  • Johnstone, Peter (1987), Notes on Logic and Set Theory, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-33692-5.
  • Johnstone, Peter (2002), Sketches of an Elephant: A Topos Theory Compendium. I, II, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-852496-0, Zbl 1071.18002 (v.3 in preparation)


  1. The list of Whitehead Prize winners, retrieved 2019-10-10.
  2. "Fellows of St. John's College 2009". Cambridge University Reporter. 2009-10-02.
  3. "The Mathematics Genealogy Project - Peter Johnstone".
  4. Hunt, Chris, William McGonagall: Collected Poems, Birlinn, 2006, px
  5. An anonymous referee, as quoted by Johnstone in his Sketches of an elephant, p. ix.
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