Person: Havelock, Thomas
Thomas Havelock was an English applied mathematician, hydrodynamicist and mathematical physicist. He became a professor at the Armstrong College in Durham. He had close contacts with the Department of Naval Architecture for many years.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Thomas was a pupil at Singleton House School on Clayton Road, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne.
- Havelock was placed first in mathematics in 1890 and presented with the book 'The Young Carthaginian' by G A Henty, as his prize.
- Havelock sat the Cambridge University Junior Local Examinations in 1891 and was awarded a distinction in botany, French and mathematics.
- So, in 1893, at the age of sixteen, Havelock entered Durham College of Physical Science.
- Havelock, who studied in Newcastle, was particularly attracted to mathematics and physics so when a vacancy occurred at the Neptune Works and he was offered a place there in March 1894, he turned it down.
- Part way through Havelock's time at the Durham College of Physical Science, Henry Palin Gurney became its principal in 1894.
- Havelock was awarded an Associateship in Physical Science in 1894 and, in the following year, he graduated with a B.Sc. with distinction in physics.
- Havelock was admitted as a pensioner to St John's College, Cambridge on 17 March 1897.
- Mr H Havelock, of St John's, fared very badly.
- Mr Havelock submitted dissertations entitled: (1) On the continuous spectrum; (2) On the pressure of radiation; (3) On the general equations of wave propagation.
- The Durham College of Physical Science in Newcastle, where Havelock had studied before going to Cambridge, had been renamed Armstrong College in 1904 after the engineer, industrialist and philanthropist William George Armstrong (1810-1900).
- Havelock returned to study there and was awarded a D.Sc. in 1905.
- 'Fellow of the College' in these quotes refers to the fact that Havelock was a fellow of St John's College at the time of these reports.
- In 1907 Thomas I'Anson Bromwich resigned the chair of mathematics at Queen's College, Galway (now the National University of Ireland, Galway) to return to St John's College, Cambridge as a lecturer.
- Havelock was a candidate to fill the vacant chair at Galway and he had an impressive list of referees supporting him: Joseph Larmor, Henry Baker, Edmund Whittaker, and the Principal of Armstrong College, Isambard Owen (1850-1927).
- Given the quality of Havelock's supporters, it seems a little strange that the chair was offered to William A Houston (1871-1953).
- Let us list Havelock's publication list up to 1907 when he submitted his application for the Galway chair: On the continuous spectrum (1903), On the pressure of radiation (1903), Mathematical analysis of wave propagation in isotropic space (1904), Wave fronts considered as the characteristics of partial differential (1904), Surfaces of discontinuity in a rotationally elastic medium (1905), The pressure of radiation on a clear glass vane (1905), Artificial double refraction due to aeolotropic distribution with application to colloidal solutions and magnetic fields (1906), The electrical theory of mass (1907), The electric or magnetic polarization of a thin cylinder by a uniform field of force (1907), and The dispersion of double refraction in relation to crystal structure (1907).
- Havelock was now living in Newcastle, his address in 1908 being given as Rockliffe, Gosforth, Newcastle-on-Tyne but he continued to spent the vacations at St John's College in Cambridge; The Eagle reports that he was present at various special celebration dinners throughout the six years in which he held the fellowship.
- In 1915 Armstrong College founded a second chair of applied mathematics so that Havelock could continue at the College as a professor.
- Then, as always, Havelock had a somewhat formal, even austere, outward demeanour.
- Havelock fainted, recovering consciousness quickly but so white-faced and shaken that he had to be taken home.
- George Dixon Rochester (1908-2001) was an undergraduate at Armstrong College in 1927 and was taught by Havelock.
- Havelock was well organised, quietly logical in speech and in his blackboard work, undemonstrative and completely free from any sign of pomp or showmanship.
- Havelock impressed by his thoroughness and his devotion to his subject.
- In 1928 Pure and Applied Mathematics at Armstrong College were merged into a single department with Havelock as head of department.
- He retired in 1941 and Havelock acted as Honorary Head of the Department of Naval Architecture for the following three years.
- This was quite a natural task since Havelock had had close contacts with the Department of Naval Architecture for many years.
- Although he wrote some twenty papers on the first of these, they did not attract lasting attention, and Havelock himself appears to have lost interest in optics by 1930.
- One has only to refer to a book, such as that written by Kostyukov (1968), or to the proceedings of a conference, such as that mentioned above, to appreciate that Havelock stood at the very heart of the subject, and has left an imperishable legacy behind him.
- Havelock received much recognition for his outstanding contributions.
- First, we take great pleasure at this opportunity to express our respect and admiration for Sir Thomas, whose intellectual and scientific achievements in hydrodynamics have served as a source of inspiration and guidance for those researchers following him.
- Second, we feel that the increased accessibility of these important contributions of Sir Thomas which bear directly on many of today's urgent problems will prove to be of great value to the hydrodynamic research community.
- Since the first introduction of hydrodynamical research many years ago, the editor has always regarded Professor Havelock's work with the greatest admiration and respect.
- And, for nearly forty years, after making personal acquaintance with Professor Havelock, the editor has received much very kind advice and assistance from him, which he is very glad to acknowledge here.
- For example, in 1939 they were living at 8 Westfield Drive, Gosforth: William Havelock was a shipping company director, Thomas Havelock was a University Professor of Mathematics, and Alice Havelock's occupation is given as 'Unpaid Domestic Duties'.
Born 24 June 1877, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England. Died 1 August 1968, Gosforth, Northumberland, England.
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