Mathematics
Ireland

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants 1960-1969 (Nov 2017)

In March here, we showcased 30 Irish people who completed postgraduate training with notable advisors in the period 1910-1959.  Picard, Bateman, Levi-Civita, Baker, Whittaker, Hardy & Littlewood, Born, Artin, Wright, Higman and Feller were some of the names that showed up, as well as some others that also appear again below. This month, we continue with a selection of people whose postgraduate work was completed between 1960 and 1969. By then, the pace had picked up considerably. 

Heitler, Hodge, Igusa, Cooper, Goldie, Strang, Baer, Taussky-Todd, Fröhlich, Ledermann and Nachbin as advisors are here joined by Irish mentors Bates, Hamilton and Synge. The focus once more is on pure maths and theoretical physics, excluding applied and engineering maths.  (Examples of the latter were documented in the recent Caltech blog, and others will appear in similar future blogs.)

With many of the people below spending long periods teaching at third level institutions in Ireland, it is not surprising that they helped to shape the style and content of the curriculum in maths, maths physics and theoretical physics for many decades.

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1 Mathematical physicist Lochlainn O'Raifeartaigh (1933-2000) was born 11 Mar in Dublin. Educated at UCD and the University of Zürich, he earned his doctorate in 1960 on "Non Local Field Theories" with Walter Heitler, who had spent the 1940s at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. After some years at the the University of Syracuse, he himself worked for over three decades at DIAS, supervising many postgraduate students and writing five books. He is best known for several ground-breaking results in the application of group theory to the physics of elementary particles, notably his "no-go theorem." Wikipedia DIAS

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2. David Simms was born in India, and grew up in Dublin. He was educated at TCD, where he was a scholar, and at Cambridge. His 1960 PhD on "The Spectral Sequence of a Pair of Coverings, and Related Cohomology Groups" was done with William Hodge. He spent most of his career at TCD, where his research interests have included differential geometry and geometric quantisation. Wikipedia

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3. Paddy Barry was born in Ballynacargy, Westmeath, grew up in Mallow, Cork. He was educated at UCC and the University of London, earning his 1960 PhD on "The Minimum Modulus of Integral Functions of Small Order" with Walter Hayman. He worked at UCC for four decades, and is well-known for his 2001 book Geometry with Trigonometry.

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4. Theorerical physicist Petros Florides was born 16 Feb in Lapithos, Cyprus, and was educated at the University of London. His 1960 PhD on "Problems in Relativity Theory and Relativistic Cosmology" from Royal Holloway was supervised by Dublin-born Bill McCrea. After a two-year postdoc with John Synge at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies, he settled at TCD, where he spent over 40 years, rising to the rank of pro-chancellor. Wikipedia Snipview

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5. Astronomer Derek McNally was born 28 Oct in Belfast, and was educated first at QUB. In 1960 he completed his PhD on "Problems of interstellar and intergalactic matter" at Royal Holloway with Dublin-born Bill McCrea He spent four decades at the University of London where he served as director of the observatory, and then moved to the University of Hertfordshire. His publications include the book Positional Astronomy (Wiley, 1974). IAU Prabook

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6. Theoretical physicist David Spearman was born 25 Mar in Dublin, and was educated at TCD and the University of London. His 1961 PhD (awarded by Cambridge) on "Problems in pion physics" was done with Ireland's Jim Hamilton. The bulk of his career was spent on the staff at TCD, where he supervised three doctoral theses and rose to the ranks of vice-provost and pro-chancellor. TCD

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7. Don McQuillan was born in Dundalk, Louth, as was educated at UCG and at Johns Hopkins University, earning his 1961 PhD on "A Generalisation of a Theorem of Heck" with Jun-Ichi Igusa. His career was spent at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) and at UCD. Over the past few decades he has become a sought after expert on quality assurance, most recently at the Vatican. Ovidius

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8. Trevor West (1938-2012) was born 8 May in Midleton, Cork. He was educated at TCD and Cambridge, earning his 1963 PhD on "Riesz and Fredholm theory in Banach algebras" under Frank Smithies. He spent most of his career at TCD, where he worked in functional analysic. He served several terms on Seanad Éireann and wrote numerous books, both on mathematics and other subjects. Wikipedia LMS Obit RIA

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9. Finbarr Holland was born 12 May in Cork city, and was educated at UCC and at Cardiff, getting his 1964 PhD on "Contributions to Harmonic Analysis" under Lionel Cooper. A classical analyst, his career has been spent at UCC, where he has supervised several theses. He was the founding president of the Irish Mathematical Society in 1977, and led the first Irish team to compete at an International Mathematics Olympiad in 1988. He is still active in the Cork Mathematical Enrichment Programme for secondary school students, which he initiated thirty years ago. UCC

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10. Physicist Paddy Dolan was born 18 Feb in Dublin, and was educated first at UCD, where he earned an NUI Travelling Studentship Prize. His 1964 PhD on "Problems in relativistic and steady-state cosmology" was done at Royal Holloway with Dublin-born Bill McCrea. He spent his career at Imperial College, where he supervised many doctorates. notable_photo

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11. John Coulter McConnell was born in Ballycarrickmaddy, near Lisburn, Antrim. He was educated at QUB and Leeds, writing his 1965 doctoral thesis on "Universal Enveloping Algebras of Lie Algebras" with Alfred Goldie. His career was also spent at Leeds, where he supervised several theses and co-authored the book Noncommutative Noetherian Rings (Wiley, 1987). notable_photo

 

notable_photo 12. Seán McDonagh was born in Westport, Mayo, and grew up in Galway. He was educated first at UCG, where he earned an NUI Travelling Studentship Prize. His 1965 PhD "On some problems in the theory of numbers" was done at TCD under Heini Halberstam. After some years on the staff at UCC, he moved to the Regional College (later the Institute of Technology) in Dundalk, where he worked for 30 years, rising to the rank of principal. notable_photo
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13. Theoretical physicist Dermott McCrea (1934-1993) was born 25 Apr in Athlone, Westmeath. He was educated at UCG, Louvain, and the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies. His 1965 PhD on "Gravitational Radiation" was done with John Synge. He also became a Franciscan priest. Most of his career was spent at UCD, where he developed EXCALC, an early computer algebra system for doing calculations in quantum theory and relativity. Obit Medal Book EXCALC

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14. John Miller was born 11 Aug in Dublin. At TCD, he studied modern languages before switching to maths. His 1965 from MIT on "An Improvement to the Kreiss Matrix Theorem" was done with Gil Strang. He spent three decades of his career at TCD, working on the numerical analysis of singularly perturbed differential equations, where he supervised over a dozen doctorates. His has written or edited over 30 books, and his current interests include the application of maths to renewable energy. TCD INCA

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15. Theoretical physicist Takaaki Yukawa (1934-1971) was born in Japan and grew up there and in the USA. He was educated at Columbia and Kyoto Universities and at DIAS, obtaining his 1965 PhD from TCD on "Spherically symmetric motion of energy in general relativity" with John Synge. His short career was spent at Manchester, followed by a brief spell in publishing in Japan.

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16. Martin L. Newell (son of mathematician Martin J. Newell) was born 16 Sep in Galway city, and was educated at UCG and Frankfurt. His 1966 PhD on "Poly-e-Gruppen"was done under Reinhold Baer. He first taught at Queen Mary in London before returning to UCG/NUIG for 35 years. He has edited two conference proceedings on group theory. His son John is also a mathematician. Wikipedia NUIG

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17. Fergus Gaines (1939-2001) from Dublin did maths science at UCD and then a Caltech PhD in 1966 with Olga Taussky-Todd (wife of Irish mathematician John Todd) on "Some Generalizations of Commutativity for Linear Transformations on a Finite Dimensional Vector Space". His career was spent at UCD, and he was very active in setting up the Irish Mathematical Olympiad.

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18. Theoretical physicist Derrick Crothers was born 24 Jun in Londonderry, and grew up in Cookstown, Tyrone. He was educated at Oxford and QUB, earning his 1966 PhD on "Theoretical studies of inelastic atomic collisions" with David Bates. He taught for four decades at QUB, supervising over 30 PhD students and writing three books. At the Northern Ireland Assembly election, 1973, he was elected for the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland in South Antrim. Wikipedia

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19. Allan McEvett was educated at TCD, where he was a Scholar, and at King's College, London. His 1967 PhD on "Hermitian forms over algebras" was done under Ali Fröhlich. His career started at Nottingham.

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20. Ken Houston was born 13 Jan in Belfast, and was educated at QUB. His 1967 PhD on "Variational Bounds in Scattering Theory" was done under Benno Moiseiwitsch (1927-2016). He lectured at Jordanstown for over three decades, where he aimed to encourage in mathematics undergrads the art of mathematical modelling and to adopt this as their professional "Way of Life," and he published a lot in this area. He edited the essential book Creators of Mathematics: The Irish Connection (UCD Press, 2000).

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21. Theoretical physicist Robin Reid was born in Belfast and was educated at QUB. His 1967 PhD on "Inelastic collisions in molecular hydrogen; and eignen-energies of the hydrogen molecular ion" was supervised by David Bates. He lectured at QUB for almost four decades.

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22. Tom Laffey was born 5 Dec in Cross, Mayo, and was educated at UCG and the University of Sussex. His 1968 PhD on "Structure Theorems for Linear Groups" was done under Walter Ledermann. For over40 years he lectured at UCD, pursuing research in group theory and linear algebra. He also played a major role in the successful establishment of the Irish Mathematical Olympiad. UCD IMS

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23. John P. McDermott was born in Salthill, Galway, and was first educated at UCG, where he won an NUI Travelling Studentship, and then at Oxford. His 1968 doctorate "On the representation theory of the general linear group" was done under Graham Higman. After a few years on the staff at Newcastle, he returned to UCG where he taught for over three decades.

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24. Seán Dineen was born 12 Feb in Clonakilty, Cork, and was educated at UCC and the University of Maryland College Park (and on the beaches of Brazil, rumour has it). His 1969 PhD on "Holomorphy Types on a Banach Space" was done under Leo Nachbin. His career was spent at UCD, where he supervised numerous doctoral theses and wrote (or edited)10 books on analysis, calculus, and mathematical finance. UCD IMS

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25. Athmospheric scientist John (Jack) Charles McConnell (1945-2013) was born 11 Sep in Belfast and was educated at QUB. His 1969 PhD on "A study of some collision processes involving mercury atoms and ions" was done under Benno Moiseiwitsch (1927-2016). Most of his career was spent at York, where he supervised over 50 doctorates. Obit

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