Person: Aitken, Alexander Craig
Alec Aitken was a New Zealand mathematician who served at Gallipoli and in France. He had a prodigious memory and calculating ability and worked in Statistics, Numerical Analysis and Algebra.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Aitken followed his original intention and became a school teacher at his old school Otago Boys' High School.
- His mathematical genius bubbled under the surface and, encouraged by R J T Bell the new professor of mathematics at Otago University, Aitken came to Scotland in 1923 and studied for a Ph.D. at Edinburgh under Whittaker.
- Aitken's wife, Mary, had continued to lecture at Otago up to the time they left for Edinburgh.
- Even before the award of the degree, Aitken was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1925.
- Aitken had an incredible memory (he knew π to 2000 places) and could instantly multiply, divide and take roots of large numbers.
- Aitken's mathematical work was in statistics, numerical analysis, and algebra.
- Aitken wrote several books, one of the most famous being The theory of canonical matrices (1932) which was written jointly with Turnbull.
- For the latter Professor Aitken would ask for members of the class to give him numbers for which he would then write down the reciprocal, the square root, the cube root or other appropriate expression.
- Finally we should mention Aitken's love of music.
Born 1 April 1895, Dunedin, New Zealand. Died 3 November 1967, Edinburgh, Scotland.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Algebra, Origin New Zealand, Puzzles And Problems
Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive