Person: Morley, Frank
Frank Morley wrote mainly on geometry but also on algebra. He is best known for his theorem about the trisectors of the angles of a triangle.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Frank attended Seckford Grammar School in Woodbridge before he entered King's College, Cambridge, in 1879, having won an open scholarship.
- An important influence on his school career was Airy who Frank had met through their shared passion for chess.
- It was Airy's encouragement which saw Frank compete for the scholarship.
- However ill health disrupted Morley's undergraduate course and he was forced to take an extra year because of these health problems.
- Morley only achieved the eighth place in the First Class Honours.
- Morley graduated from Cambridge with a B.A. in 1884 but his relatively poor performance meant that he had no hope of a fellowship.
- This was an important period for Morley since he was able to overcome his health problems and with the improvement in health came a renewed confidence in his own mathematical abilities.
- At Haverford, Morley worked, not with others at the College, but with the mathematicians Scott and James Harkness, both also graduates of Cambridge, England, who were at Bryn Mawr which was close to Haverford.
- We should note that the marriage produced three sons, Christopher (born in Haverford on 5 May 1890), Felix, and Frank, who all went on to become Rhodes scholars.
- Christopher Darlington Morley (1890-1957) became a novelist, and his works include The Trojan Horse, Kitty Foyle and The Old Mandarin .
- Felix M Morley (1894-1982) became editor of the Washington Post and was also president of Haverford College from 1940 to 1945.
- Morley was appointed Professor of Mathematics at Johns Hopkins University in 1900.
- The strong graduate programme in mathematics which had been set up there continued to flourish but by 1900 it had begun to decline and Morley's appointment was a very definite attempt to reinvigorate the programme.
- We should look now at Morley's mathematical achievements.
- Morley's own favourite among his geometry papers was On the Lüroth quartic curve which he published in 1919.
- Morley loved posing mathematical problems and over a period of 50 years, starting in his undergraduate days, he published over 60 problems in the Educational Times.
- We mentioned that Morley was a chess enthusiast while at school and, indeed, he was an exceptionally good chess player, so the problem above reflects one of his hobbies.
- Yet, whatever the significance one chooses to attach to them, Morley must be given credit for both finding and solving such questions.
- Morley made a major contribution to mathematics in the United States.
Born 9 September 1860, Woodbridge, Suffolk, England. Died 17 October 1937, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
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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