Person: Conway, Arthur
Arthur Conway was an Irish mathematician and mathematical physicist who wrote one of the first books on relativity and co-edited two volumes of William Rowan Hamilton's collected works.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Another interest that Arthur had when growing up was in all things associated with the sea; he became an expert with boats and an exceptionally strong swimmer.
- In 1889 Conway entered St Peter's College, Wexford which provided a strong classical training for boys, most of whom were intending to become Roman Catholic priests.
- The best university in Ireland at this time was undoubtedly Trinity College Dublin and in many ways this should have been the natural university for someone like Conway whose interests had already turned to mathematics and physics.
- However it was a Protestant university and the religious atmosphere in Ireland at that time would have made it impossible for a devout Roman Catholic like Conway to attend.
- Conway was one of only twelve students living in university accommodation.
- Conway was awarded First Class honours from the Royal University of Ireland in 1896 being placed as the top candidate.
- Conway then entered Corpus Christi College, Oxford, winning a scholarship in mathematics in 1898.
- At Oxford he worked under A E H Love who exerted a strong influence on the direction of Conway's research.
- At this stage Conway intended to pursue a career in the Civil Service but in 1901 a chair of Mathematical Physics became available in University College, Dublin.
- Conway's first papers appeared in 1903.
- Conway was elected to the Chair of Mathematical Physics which effectively formalised the post he had been elected to in 1901.
- Perhaps the work for which Conway will be best remembered is his editorship of Hamilton's papers.
- The Hamilton project was undertaken by the Royal Irish Academy, with Conway and myself as editors of the first volume of Hamilton's collected works - the papers in geometrical optics.
- The second volume of Hamilton's Collected Works was Dynamics which was edited by Conway and A J McConnell and published in 1940.
- From this time on all of Conway's research papers related in some way to Hamilton's work.
- Dublin and St Andrews honoured Conway with honorary degrees in 1938.
- Conway became the first Chairman of the Theoretical Physics Board which became very strong with Schrödinger and Synge joining the Institute.
- In 1940 Conway was elected an Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College and in the same year he became President of University College Dublin.
- In 1949 Conway attended the Canadian Mathematical Congress in Vancouver and he lectured there on The life work and influence of Sir William Rowan Hamilton.
Born 2 October 1875, Wexford, Ireland. Died 11 July 1950, Dublin, Ireland.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive