Person: Richardson (3), Lewis Fry
Lewis Fry Richardson was an English mathematician, physicist and meteorologist who pioneered modern mathematical techniques of weather forecasting.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Richardson held a large number of posts.
- Being a conscientious objector, however, did not mean that Richardson was not involved in the War.
- However in 1920 the Meteorological Office became part of the Air Ministry which would have meant that Richardson would have become part of the military.
- From 1920 to 1929 Richardson was head of the Physics Department at Westminster Training College, then from 1929 to 1940, he was Principal of Paisley College of Technology and School of Art in Scotland.
- It was Richardson who was the first to apply mathematics, in particular the method of finite differences, to predicting the weather in Weather Prediction by Numerical Process (1922).
- Despite this, Richardson's work laid the foundations for present day weather forecasting.
- In addition to his 1922 book, Richardson published about 30 papers on the mathematics of the weather and in these he made contributions to the calculus and to the theory of diffusion, in particular eddy-diffusion in the atmosphere.
- The 'Richardson number', a fundamental quantity involving gradients of temperature and wind velocity is named after him.
- Another application of mathematics by Richardson was in his study of the causes of war and he published the results of his analysis in a number of major books: Generalized Foreign Politics (1939), Arms and Insecurity (1949), and Statistics of Deadly Quarrels (1950).
- Again Richardson made novel applications of mathematics.
- However the way that Richardson modelled the causes of war was quite different, giving systems of differential equations which governed the interactions between countries caused by such things as attitudes and moods.
- Before this Richardson had returned to university study and obtained a B.Sc. in psychology as an external University College, London, student in 1929.
- After he retired from Paisley College of Technology in 1940 Richardson began another major piece of work related to wars.
- It is a fascinating approach to try to understand war, yet none of the factors Richardson investigated seemed statistically significant.
Born 11 October 1881, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England. Died 30 September 1953, Kilmun, Argyll, Scotland.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Analysis, Origin England
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive