Person: Bonsall, Frank Featherstone
Frank Bonsall was a English mathematician who worked mainly in functional analysis.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Let us note at this stage that Arthur Bonsall went on to become the director of the Government Communications Headquarters at Cheltenham from 1973 to 1978 and was knighted in 1977.
- The town, about 30 km north of London, was only founded in 1920 and was a small place when the Bonsalls moved there.
- Frank was educated at Fretherne House Preparatory School in Welwyn Garden City until he was thirteen years old when his parents sent him to Bishops Stortford College as a boarder in 1933.
- Despite not being particularly happy at the boarding school, Bonsall excelled academically enjoying particular success in mathematics.
- Bonsall spent six years in the Royal Engineers, spending two years in 1944-46 in India where his task was to try out equipment to test how it functioned under extreme jungle conditions.
- After the award of his first degree, Bonsall had to choose between remaining at Oxford to undertake research or take up a temporary one-year lectureship at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
- In the following year, Bonsall moved to Newcastle to join Rogosinski and to take up a lectureship there.
- Bonsall had had no research training before his first appointment but the influence of Rogosinski guided the young talented lecturer into becoming an excellent researcher.
- Bonsall spent the academic year 1950-51 on study leave on the Stillwater campus of Oklahoma State University.
- In collaboration with Morris Marden, Bonsall published Zeros of self-inversive polynomials (1952) and, in collaboration with Alfred Goldie, Algebras which represent their linear functionals (1953).
- Back in Newcastle after his year at Stillwater, Bonsall soon became one of the leading functional analysts, becoming a leading expert on Banach algebras.
- When Rogosinski retired from the Newcastle chair in 1959, Bonsall was appointed to succeed him.
- Bonsall applied and was interviewed by a committee chaired by the principal, Sir Edward Appleton, who immediately wrote to offer him the position.
- Bonsall took up the chair in 1965 but spent the following academic year at Yale, where he was already committed to a visiting professorship.
- Let us look briefly at some of the books that Bonsall published.
- This book was the lecture notes from a course Bonsall had given at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bombay, India.
- Bonsall's other books were all written in collaboration with John Duncan, who had been one of his research students graduating with a Ph.D. from Newcastle in 1964.
- The other important text jointly authored by Bonsall and Duncan was Complete normed algebras (1973).
- Bonsall received many honours to mark his mathematical contributions.
- In two articles in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal in 1973 and 1974, Bonsall developed a rule for determining this.
Born 31 March 1920, Crouch End, London, England. Died 22 February 2011, Harrogate, 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