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Person: Broadbent, Thomas Arthur Alan
Alan Broadbent was a British mathematician who was editor of the Mathematical Gazette for many years.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Broadbent then attended Armstrong College in Newcastle-on-Tyne where he was taught by George William Caunt who was a lecturer there.
- He did much to enthuse Broadbent both for the mathematics he taught and also for his greatly appreciated skills as a teacher.
- Broadbent was particularly impressed by Caunt's infinitesimal calculus textbook which he later championed in his own teaching.
- In 1921 Broadbent matriculated at St John's College, Cambridge.
- The two were almost exactly the same age, Broadbent being about two weeks older than Hodge.
- Broadbent, who was taught by J E Littlewood and F P White (who lectured on projective geometry), was awarded a star in Schedule B and, in 1924, was awarded the St John's College Wright prize which is "awarded to a candidate whose performance in the First Class in an Approved Examination is judged to have been of special merit" and a Senior Fellowship by St John's College.
- He felt that he lacked the creativity necessary to be a leading researcher and for Broadbent being a mediocre researcher would not have been acceptable.
- There is no real evidence that Broadbent was right in feeling that he would not have made a leading researcher but, nevertheless, he decided to give up research at Cambridge and seek a lecturing position.
- We note, for instance, that his companion William Hodge, who went on to become an exceptional mathematical researcher, was undertaking research in St John's College at the same time as Broadbent and left Cambridge at the same time after one year's research also feeling that he had made little progress.
- After nine years at the University of Reading, in 1935 Broadbent was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.
- When Milne-Thomson reached the age of 65 in 1956, he retired from the Gresham Chair of Geometry and Broadbent was appointed to the Chair.
- This appointment was made, as all to this Chair are, by the City of London Corporation and Broadbent then joined a list of outstanding mathematicians who had been Gresham Professors of Geometry including Isaac Barrow and Robert Hooke.
- When Milne-Thomson retired in 1956, Broadbent also became Professor of Mathematics at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.
- Broadbent's first paper was published in 1930 and the last in 1971.
- These were all published in The Mathematical Gazette and tell us much about Broadbent's ideas about teaching.
- William John Greenstreet had resigned as editor in 1930 and E H Neville had taken on the task on a temporary basis until Broadbent took it over in 1931.
- Broadbent and Goodstein had been colleagues at Reading but Broadbent had moved to the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, over ten years before the paper was written.
- This article appears under the joint authorship of Broadbent and E H Neville but in fact it was an article written by Broadbent based on some notes left by the late E H Neville (born 1 January 1889, died 22 August 1961) and entrusted to Broadbent who prepared them for publication.
- We often talk about hating the sin while loving the sinner; it is certain that Alan Broadbent hated the sham while loving the shammer.
- While on a summer holiday in 1972, Broadbent suffered a heart-attack.
Born 31 May 1903, Consett, County Durham, England. Died 27 January 1973, Greenwich, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive