Person: Hedrick, Earle Raymond
Earle Hedrick was an American mathematician who worked on partial differential equations and on functions of complex variables. He was the first president of the MAA and he became the Vice-president and Provost of the University of California.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- The name seems to have originally been Hetrig but was later changed to Hedrick.
- Let us record here that Aurie Hedrick graduated from Union City High School in 1880, studied at the University of Michigan and continued her studies of mathematics at Leipzig.
- While most of us followed the customary practice of taking notes during a lecture and felt obliged to work over them ponderously later, Hedrick seemed to grasp all instantly.
- The W D Cairns who Hedrick mentions in this quote is William DeWeese Cairns (1871-1955).
- Cairns was a graduate student at Harvard from 1896 to 1898 so overlapped with Hedrick for two years.
- He later worked closely with Hedrick on projects that we will mention below.
- He had received a Parker fellowship from Harvard to study abroad and it is likely that he advised Hedrick to follow the same course.
- Hedrick was awarded the Parker fellowship and he spent the sessions 1899-00 and 1900-01 at the University of Göttingen in Germany.
- Harvard awarded Hedrick a scholarship for a third year to study at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and there he spent part of 1901 in contact with Edouard Goursat, Émile Picard, Jacques Hadamard, Paul Appell and Jules Tannery.
- It also led to Hedrick translating Goursat's Cours d'Analyse into English which provided an important text for American students.
- Also note that Dorothy, Amy, Clyde and Frank went on to attend the University of California at Los Angeles.] Hedrick was appointed an instructor in mathematics in the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University, a post he held from 1901 to 1903.
- By performing his manifold duties on the Los Angeles campus with wisdom and foresight, Dr Hedrick exercised a great influence throughout the University, and this influence extended to other universities of the country through his expert analysis of complex administrative matters.
- In addition to his research in pure mathematics, Hedrick was also interested in applications of mathematics and he wrote papers on a generalised form of Hooke's law and the transmission of heat in boilers.
- Hedrick's editorial work, however, was extraordinary.
- Despite saying that he would refuse to join such an organisation, nevertheless Hedrick, as editor of the Monthly, presided over the founding meeting of the Mathematical Association of America on 30-31 December 1915 at Columbus.
- At this meeting Hedrick was elected as the first president of the Mathematical Association of America.
- We noted above that W D Cairns and Hedrick were friends from their time as graduate students at Harvard.
- Cairns and Hedrick were therefore close colleagues over many years.
- Hedrick had only one Ph.D. student, Eula Adeline Weeks.
- Also, the Earle Raymond Hedrick lectures were established by the Mathematical Association of America in his honour.
- The first Earle Raymond Hedrick lecturers were Tibor Radó in 1952 and Paul Halmos in 1953.
Born 27 September 1876, Union City, Randolph, Indiana, USA. Died 3 February 1943, Los Angeles, California, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
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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