**By Edmund Schluessel:** Two tweets from his colleagues report the death of Prof. John Horton Conway, one of the most renowned mathematicians of the past century, from COVID-19.

As a mathematician Conway will probably be most remembered for his eponymous “Game of Life”, which illustrated how complex behaviors in mathematical systems could emerge from simple rules. Conway’s explorations in this subject fundamentally expanded the applications of the branch of mathematics known as cellular automaton theory.

Conway also earned a reputation as a popularizer of mathematics, writing multiple texts that brought ideas from the most abstract realms of mathematics to the everyday person. His mathematical game “Sprouts,” which draws on ideas from graph theory, presents a challenge with unexpected patterns emerging in each variation despite starting from rules appropriate for kindergarteners.

Among his most significant recent contributions was a series of papers with Simon Kochen which attempt to use mathematics to establish a deep relationship between free will and quantum mechanics.

Born in Liverpool, England in 1937, Conway spend the second half of his career as John von Neumann Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Princeton University.. He is survived by his wife Diana, seven children, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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We are going to lose so many good people. Far too many. 🙁

I’ve spent much time playing with the Game of Life on a variety of computers (mainframes, Amigas, etc.). Vale, John Conway.

My father knew him professionally and has always had a lot of very good things to say about him.

This is really sad. What an inventive mind Conway had.

II’m pretty sure Conway will be most remembered as a mathematician, at least by other mathematicians, for the Atlas of Finite Groups, and his work on group theory in general.

I went a made a very slow (and static unless you scroll very quickly to get a sense of movement) version of Conway’s game on Google sheets https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1lAK5gmP6EJbSsOdk8kDPwGmh6NrZ8SMHmF3bhpMDrpg/edit?usp=sharing

Lis Carey says

Wee are going to lose so many good people. Far too many. ?One of the new conservative talking points is that they’re not really dying of Covid 19 but died of whatever they would’ve died of anyways and are being labelled as such to make the numbers look worse in an attempt to embarrass to Trump.

I’ve got an NP who’s monitoring my head trauma via weekly phone chats now who’s under house quarantine because she had a kidney transplant five years ago. She’s allowed to take walks in her neighborhood with her two daughters so long as she wears an N95 mask

anddoesn’t approach anyone she knows closer than a cross the street to chat.I ‘m under orders from her to always wear a mask if I enter any store, period. We wear masks and gloves at the two food pantries I help staff, hence my getting three hundred masks for us.

No, it’s not a fake virus and fuck you for thinking it is.

That’s … horrible — but hardly unexpected. It’s also a lie, of course; the local listings are majority-old, but there are have been a lot of people who should have been nowhere near dying (60’s, even 50’s).

A Conway tribute at SMBC https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/life-2

Rats.

When I was in gradual school a while ago, Conway came to my university, and I attended the talk he gave for general consumption. It was very approachable.

It sounds like he is not so warmly remembered by many of his women colleagues. This Twitter stream came up in my timeline about the late John Conway:

https://twitter.com/WanderingPoint/status/1249386686590660608

Posts on the thread include:

OTOH, his biographer, Siobhan Roberts, who spent long periods of time with him, found him “charming”. And it’s not like she is blind to issues of sexism.

I met him a few times at the Gathering for Gardner. Once at dinner, he taught us all his algorithm for calculating the day of the week for any date. He could do it almost as fast as you could say the date; my speed was never that good.

deleted by me — sorry, wrong thread!

xkcd honors him:

https://xkcd.com/2293/