David Acheson is a British applied mathematician and author, best known for his books 1089 and All That and The Calculus Story.

He was born in 1946 and educated at Highgate School, in North London. In 1967 he obtained a 1st class Honours degree in mathematics and physics at King's College, London, winning the Alan Flower Memorial Prize.

He obtained a Ph.D in mathematics at the University of East Anglia in 1971, and then held a NERC Research Fellowship at the Meteorological Office, working with Raymond Hide.

He took up a Junior Lecturership at Oxford in 1973, and a research fellowship at St Catherine's College in 1976. In 1977 he was appointed a Fellow in Mathematics at Jesus College, Oxford.

His early research was on geophysical and astrophysical fluid dynamics, beginning with the discovery in 1972 of a magnetic 'field gradient' instability in rotating fluids.

Later, in 1976, he discovered the first examples of wave over-reflection (i.e. reflection coefficient greater than unity) in a stable system.

In 1978 he published a wide-ranging paper on magnetic fields and differential rotation in stars, including what is now called the 'magnetorotational' instability.

David Acheson's first book, Elementary Fluid Dynamics, was published in 1990, and quickly became a major textbook in the field.

In 1992 he discovered the 'upside-down pendulums theorem', which is loosely connected with the Indian Rope Trick. The theorem (and experiment) eventually featured on BBC TV's Tomorrow's World in October 1995, and led to a second book, From Calculus to Chaos (1997).

In 2000 he made a brief return to fluid mechanics, with a curious new twist on a 100-year old problem of vortex motion.

His first 'popular' maths book, 1089 and All That, was published in 2002, and has now been translated into 13 languages.

In 2004 he became Oxford University's first winner of a National Teaching Fellowship, and he was elected Emeritus Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford in 2008.

He served as President of the Mathematical Association for 2010-11.

In 2013, David Acheson was awarded an Honorary D.Sc by the University of East Anglia for his outstanding work in the popularisation of mathematics.

In 2017 his book The Calculus Story was published, and quickly became a bestseller.

He followed this in 2020 with The Wonder Book of Geometry.

His latest book,The Spirit of Mathematics, was published in March 2023.