◀ ▲ ▶History / 19th-century / Person: Williams, William Lloyd Garrison
Person: Williams, William Lloyd Garrison
Lloyd Williams was an American mathematician most important for his role in founding the Canadian Mathematical Society.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- We should comment at this point on Lloyd's full name.
- He was named after William Lloyd Garrison who helped lead the successful Abolitionist campaign against slavery in the United States.
- The tutorial system at Oxford suited Williams.
- Williams undertook research in mathematics at the University of Chicago attending each summer.
- At Chicago, Williams thesis supervisor was L E Dickson and he suggested the topic for his student.
- However it appears that he gave little further advice until he suggested in 1920 that Williams should submit.
- There are two things for which Williams is particularly remembered.
- In 1922 the African American Elbert Frank Cox entered Cornell to study for his doctorate under Williams' supervision.
- Williams had strong beliefs regarding equality, being passionate in his hatred of racial discrimination.
- It is perhaps hard today to understand just how ground breaking a move it was by Williams to supervise the doctorate of an African American student.
- In 1924 Williams moved from Cornell to accept a position within the Mathematics Department of McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
- Cox had still not competed his doctorate at this stage and with help from Williams he was awarded a Erastus Brooks Fellowship so that he could study at McGill University with his supervisor.
- Williams felt that since Cox was the first person of his race in the world to be awarded a doctorate in mathematics it was necessary for him to have the recognition by a university outside the United States.
- It was at McGill that Williams spent the rest of his working life, teaching there until 1954.
- Although extremely kind, Williams had high standards as a teacher.
- Williams favoured the term "Congress" which he gave French and English speaking Canadians equal status.
- Williams worked hard from 1943 to provide a forum around which Canadian mathematical life could be centred.
- Williams was much honoured for his contributions to the mathematical life of Canada.
- When he retired from McGill in 1954, Williams joined the Board of the Canadian Friends Service Committee and was Chairman of the Committee from 1959 until 1963.
Born 3 October 1888, Friendship, near Labette, Kansas, USA. Died 31 January 1976, Pennsylvania, USA.
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