Person: Watson (4), George Neville
E H Neville was professor of mathematics at the University of Reading. He played an important role in mathematical education, particularly with the British Association for the Advancement of Science, with the Mathematical Association and with the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction. He wrote a number of important texts and many interesting articles.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Mynott Neville Jr's occupation is given as 'analyst' in the 1891 census, as 'Tar Works Manager' in the 1901 census, and as 'Bookkeeper in Tar Works' in the 1911 census.
- We note that Bernard Mynott Neville became a master at the William Ellis School, London.
- Maurice Raymond Neville studied mathematics at Peterhouse, Cambridge, was awarded an MC in 1918 for "conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty as forward observation officer for his battery" and then worked for the General Electric Company.
- Neville was educated at the William Ellis School at Gospel Oak, London.
- Cumberland was headmaster for nearly thirty years and had that role throughout Neville's time at the school.
- Nunn quickly saw that Neville had the potential to become a leading mathematician and he encouraged and inspired him.
- Neville graduated from the William Ellis School in 1907 and, later that year, entered Trinity College, Cambridge as a scholar.
- Both Neville and Daniell were coached by Robert Alfred Herman (1861-1927).
- During his undergraduate years Neville became acquainted with G H Hardy and Bertrand Russell who were both fellows of Trinity College both of whom had a considerable influence on his career.
- Daniell was the Senior Wrangler, Neville the Second Wrangler, Mordell the Third Wrangler, and Berwick the Fourth Wrangler.
- In 1911 Neville was examined by Bertrand Russell for a Fellowship of Trinity and shortly after being awarded the fellowship he submitted an essay for a Smith's Prize and again was successful.
- Perhaps it is unfair to note that Alice's age on the marriage certificate is 34, where she is actually 35, while Neville's is 25 but he is actually 24.
- Neville went to India to deliver lectures in the first half of 1914.
- Neville's eyesight was too poor for active service but he did not want to leave it there, but wished to declare his opposition to war.
- Neville worked in a London hospital throughout the war but his Trinity fellowship was not renewed, almost certainly because of his attitude to war.
- In 1919 Neville accepted the position of Professor of Mathematics at University College, Reading.
- By the time Neville was appointed it was already putting together an application for a Royal Charter to make it a university in its own right with the ability to award degrees.
- The application it made in 1920 was not successful and Neville worked hard helping to frame another application.
- Let us note at this stage that Neville did much to build mathematics at Reading and played important roles in UK mathematics throughout his career, but he would always look slightly out of place, for he could have been one of the leading research mathematicians of his day but after his Cambridge fellowship was not renewed, he chose not to engage in investigating current research problems.
- Neville applied his talents to mathematical education, particularly with the British Association for the Advancement of Science and with the Mathematical Association.
- It was Percy Nunn, someone passionately committed to reform mathematical education, who approached Neville, his former pupil, asking if he would chair a sub-committee of the General Teaching Committee of the Mathematical Association which was being set up to report on the teaching of geometry in schools.
- This began Neville's involvement with the Mathematical Association which lasted for the rest of his life.
- Neville contributed many articles to the Association's journal, The Mathematical Gazette.
- Let us turn to Neville's contributions to the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
- It is thus very fitting that the Royal Society Mathematical Tables - successors to the British Association Mathematical Tables should start with two volumes by Neville.
- While serving on the Mathematical Tables Committee, Neville met Dorothy Wrinch who had produced works such as Tables of Bessel function (1924).
- She never loved Neville as he loved her, but he would be the one, perhaps the only one, for whom she didn't wear a mask of gaiety.
- Her letters to Erice, as she almost always spelled his name, are filled with fears, frustrations, and worries; his with love and advice.
- Neville was a member of the London Mathematical Society from 1913 and he was a member of the Council from 1926 to 1931.
- a painful illness and prolonged convalescence in 1940 gave Neville time to write a long-meditated volume on Jacobian elliptic functions ...
- Although the primer was written by 1950, for some reason Neville never published it and after his death the manuscript was found among his papers.
- Neville's logical skill made him a dangerous opponent in an argument, but a natural tolerance prevented him from dogmatising or attempting to impose his own firmly-held opinions and beliefs on others.
Born 1 January 1889, Bow, London, England. Died 21 August 1961, Reading, England.
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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