John Horton Conway (born 26 December 1937, died 11 April 2020) was an English mathematician active in the theory of finite groups, knot theory, number theory, combinatorial game theory and coding theory.
He also contributed to many branches of recreational mathematics, notably the invention of the cellular automaton called the Game of Life. Conway is currently Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Princeton University in New Jersey.
Research on the go endgame by Conway led to another definition and construction of the surreal numbers. Conway's construction was introduced in Donald Knuth's 1974 book Surreal Numbers: How Two Ex-Students Turned on to Pure Mathematics and Found Total Happiness. In his book, which takes the form of a dialogue, Knuth coined the term surreal numbers for what Conway had called simply numbers. Conway later adopted Knuth's term, and used surreals for analyzing games in his 1976 book On Numbers and Games.
Conway died of COVID-19 complications on 11 April 2020.