Person: Jeffery (2), George
George Jeffery worked on hydrodynamics, viscous liquids, elasticity and general relativity and he produced exact solutions to Einstein's field equations. He also made contributions to teaching mathematics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- George Jeffery Sr had been born in Southwark, Surrey, England in about 1865.
- His siblings were Elizabeth McDonald McKenzie Jeffery (born about 1893), David Leslie Geoffrey Jeffery (born about 1895), and Mary Christina Jeffery (born about 1897).
- Let us note here that Elizabeth McDonald McKenzie Jeffery, also born in Lambeth, became a clerk for a Mechanical Engineering company while David Leslie Geoffrey Jeffery, again born in Lambeth, became a clerk for a shipping agency.
- Mary Christina Jeffery was born in Brixton, London.
- George Barker Jeffery was educated at Strand School, a boys grammar school in the basement of King's College in London's Strand, and at Wilson's Grammar School, Camberwell.
- After schooling, Jeffery entered University College London in 1909 without a scholarship but his work in mathematics was so outstanding that at the end of his first year he was elected to a scholarship.
- He returned to University College where, after the award of his B.Sc. in 1912, he became a research student and assistant to Louis Napoleon George Filon.
- Jeffery had begun publishing on relativity in 1920 with the paper On the path of a ray of light in the gravitation field of the sun, followed by The gravitational field of a particle on Einstein's theory (1921), and The identical relations in Einstein's theory (1922).
- In 1924 Jeffery published the book Relativity for Physics Students.
- The first chapter was an Introduction consisting of Jeffery's Inaugural Lecture mentioned above.
- E C Titchmarsh was already an assistant at University College and he became Jeffery's assistant on his appointment to the chair.
- Although appointed at a chair of Pure Mathematics, Jeffery's work was on the applications of mathematics, in particular he worked on hydrodynamics, viscous liquids and elasticity.
- His chair of pure mathematics was, however, a little unfortunate as Jeffery had to leave many parts of that subject to his assistants.
- Jeffery was elected to the Royal Society in 1926, about the time his research papers dried up.
- However at this time graduate students were beginning to come along with problems in pure mathematics with which Jeffery was not able to deal, and he was compelled to leave much of this work to his assistants.
- From 1937 to 1938, Jeffery was President of the London Society for the Study of Religion and was a Vice-President of the Royal Society from 1938 to 1940.
- Ten years later Jeffery was President of the Mathematical Association and delivered this Presidential Address Mathematics as an Educational Experience in January 1948.
- It looking at some of the roles that Jeffery filled we have moved from the mid 1930s to the mid 1940s without saying a little about his contribution during World War II.
- As early as 1938 Jeffery was involved in discussions with Bangor University to arrange for the evacuation of some students from University College London in the event of war.
- In 1939 Jeffery, with around 200 students and 17 teaching staff, arrived in Bangor.
- In 1945 Jeffery resigned his position as Astor Professor of Pure Mathematics at University College and Harold Davenport was appointed to fill the vacancy.
- Jeffery was appointed as Director of the Institute of Education, University of London.
- It submitted a draft scheme as a basis for further discussion, and the task of giving this scheme a definite and practicable form therefore fell largely upon Jeffery.
- In getting such a vision on to paper Jeffery was at his best.
- Jeffery made a long speech in which he reviewed the history of all the colleges and expressed his hopes for the future of the whole organization.
- Jeffery had rather unusual hobbies being an expert cabinet maker and later in life he became and expert silversmith registering his own hall-mark with the Goldsmiths' Company.
Born 9 May 1891, London, England. Died 27 April 1957, London, 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