DEATHS
Contents
Ambrose Rogers
Albert Boyd
AMBROSE ROGERS
Professor C. Ambrose Rogers FRS, who was elected a member of the London
Mathematical Society on 13 December 1945, died on 5 December 2005 at
the age of 85. He was born 1 November 1920 and attended Berkhamsted
School before studying at University College London 193840, including
being evacuated to Bangor in 1939. From 19405 he served as an experimental
assistant and officer in the Applied Ballistic Department of the Ministry
of Supply, but managed to keep up his research interest by parttime
study at Birkbeck College under the guidance of R.G. Cooke and L.S.
Bosanquet.
In 1946 Ambrose returned to UCL as an Assistant Lecturer and began
a most fruitful collaboration with Harold Davenport on the Geometry
of Numbers. In 1949 he went to the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton
as a Commonwealth Fund Fellow and teamed up with Dvoretsky to produce
their famous result on absolute and unconditional convergence. Leaving
a Readership at UCL, in 1954 Ambrose went to Birmingham as Mason Professor
of Pure Mathematics. In collaboration with Geoffrey Shephard and James
Taylor during that period his interest in convex geometry and Hausdorff
Measure Theory widened. In particular, with Geoffrey Shephard, he produced
sharp bounds for the volume of a difference body, a problem which had
been open for 30 years.
A Junior Berwick Prize followed in 1957 and when Davenport moved to
Cambridge in 1958, Ambrose returned to UCL as Astor Professor of Pure
Mathematics. He was deemed to be too young to be the sole Head of Department
and so for the next 28 years he was Joint Head, firstly with W.R. Dean
and later with Keith Stewartson. Throughout this period he was the Principal
Editor of Mathematika a journal that Harold Davenport had founded
with the purpose of fast publication of results. In 1959 he was elected
to the Royal Society and in 1961 spent a year in Canada where, in particular,
working with Maurice Sion he developed an interest in analytic sets
and put the final touches to his influential book Packing and Covering.
During the 1960s, Ambrose concentrated mainly on Hausdorff Measure
Theory. This culminated in a wonderful example (with Roy Davies) of
a compact metric space of infinite Hausdorff measure which has no subsets
of finite positive measure. His book Hausdorff Measures is a
standard text. From 19702, following the untimely death of Sir Edward
Collingwood, he took over the Presidency of the LMS and in 1977 received
the Society’s highest honour, the De Morgan Medal. He was also
VicePresident from 195859 and 197274.
During the 1970s his interests switched back to convex sets with spectacular
success. This second period produced the famous work on the measure
of the directions of line segments on the boundary of a convex body
and a 12dimensional counterexample to the BusemannPetty problem. Retiring
in 1986, he continued to work mainly on analytic sets, in the context
of functional analysis, with John Jayne and Isaac Namioka.
Ambrose was a passionate supporter of the LMS and attended every London
Meeting until his health began to fail. He was also passionate about
research. I recall being summoned to his home to discuss research while
he lay in bed recovering from pneumonia. His wide interests and depth
of thought meant that most visitors to the UCL Mathematics Department
ended up collaborating on a joint project with him.
He was married in 1952 to Joan North, a writer of children’s books,
who died in 1999. They had two daughters, Jane and Petra. Ambrose was
also very proud of the achievements of his nephew L.C.G. (Chris) Rogers.
David Larman
University College London
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ALBERT BOYD
Professor Albert Vyvyan Boyd, who was elected a member of the London
Mathematical Society on 17 January 1952, died on 1 November 2005, aged
75. He began his long and distinguished association with the University
of the Witwatersrand (South Africa) in early 1946 as a first year student,
on a campus crowded with war veterans. His reaction to certain chemicals
persuaded him change direction from Chemistry to the Mathematical Sciences.
He graduated in 1949 and was jointly awarded the William Cullen gold
medal for the most distinguished graduand in Science Faculty, obtaining
an Honours (first class) and a Masters degree.
He became a graduate assistant in 1950 and a lecturer in Mathematics
in 1953. His teaching duties oscillated between Mathematics and Mathematical
Statistics, with Statistics being the focus since the '80s. On retiring
in 1995, he continued as an Honorary Research Fellow, assisting with
sessional lectures. As his illness progressed, and his voice became
too soft for the classroom, he continued to prepare and update course
material and mentor any member of staff who asked for help, often using
checks on test and examination questions for this. For him there was
only one way – the correct way, and he required it of all who worked
with him. The last of his 37 papers was published in 2001.
He developed a course on Actuarial Mathematics in the '70s, resulting
in the Actuarial Science undergraduate and postgraduate program. A former
head of department and director of Actuarial Studies wrote upon hearing
of his death: 'I know that he generated a warm appreciation from the
actuarial students that he taught, although I often thought that they
did not fully appreciate his exceptional gifts in laying down an undoubtedly
world class foundation for their statistical and actuarial training.'
Albert was a superb organiser, giving detailed and meticulous instructions
in his precise handwritten notes. His examples, exercises, and assignments
were illustrative and extended concepts, and were frequently updated
from recent journal articles. He was a diffident and shy man, but he
could still a rowdy lecture theatre (and a student whom he felt had
not given sufficiently to the work required) with a piercing look and
some very sharp words.
His final job, on the day before his death, was to evaluate the 2006
SA Statistical Association education committee bursary applications.
Albert never left work unfinished.
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