Person: Carrier, George
George Carrier was considered to be one of the best applied mathematicians the United States ever produced. He loved applied mathematical problems developing complex mathematical models, which he solved with ingenious approximations and asymptotic results.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Charles Mosher Carrier was born in Troy, New York, on 10 September 1893 and studied chemistry at Cornell University, being in the Class of 1916.
- Let us say a brief word about George's siblings.
- John W Carrier graduated from Cornell University in 1947 and New York Medical College in 1951.
- When in his teens, George was a guide in the Maine woods where he showed tourists the way to climb Mt Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine, and was an expert at finding the best places to pick blueberries.
- He was a member of the school orchestra and on the Editorial Board of Northern Lights, the George W Stearns High School Yearbook of 1935.
- In 1939 Carrier was awarded a Master's Degree in engineering by Cornell and he continued to undertake research for a Ph.D. advised by James Norman Goodier (1905-1965).
- Carrier was one of about fifty Ph.D. students that Goodier supervised at Stanford.
- When George contracted tuberculosis and had to spend a year in a sanatorium, he studied books on advanced mathematics.
- Even before the award of his Ph.D., Carrier was submitting papers.
- Carrier published two further papers in 1945, both related to work he had undertaken for his Ph.D. thesis.
- The quote above mentions that Carrier was an accomplished clarinet player.
- Emmons proposed him for a faculty position but was overruled by the rather formal Professor Richard von Mises who thought George was "too much of a wise guy." So George went off to Brown University, where he quickly set the academic world on fire.
- George and Mary Carrier had three sons: Robert Carrier, Mark Carrier and Kenneth Carrier.
- Carrier was appointed as an assistant professor at Brown University in 1946.
- Carrier was one of his first appointments to build up applied mathematics at Brown University.
- While at Brown, Carrier was supported by the US Air Force to undertake a review of all current research on the theory of supersonic flow.
- Richard von Mises retired from his chair at Harvard University shortly before his death in 1953 and Carrier was appointed as the Gordon McKay Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Harvard in 1952.
- In addition to the 1951 publication mentioned above, Carrier wrote three books, all in collaboration with others: Functions of a Complex Variable: Theory and Technique (1966); Ordinary Differential Equations (1968); and Partial Differential Equations: Theory and Technique (1976).
- This is the way George taught himself complex variables, essentially developing the subject for himself, with minimal reference to any text; he felt that he thereby achieved a depth of understanding ...
- We have already remarked on the extraordinary number of Ph.D. students that Carrier advised while at Brown University.
- Carrier received prestigious awards.
- He was presented with the Medal by President George Bush at a White House East Room Ceremony on 13 November 1990.
Born 4 May 1918, Millinocket, Maine, USA. Died 8 March 2002, Wayland, Middlesex, Massachusetts, 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