Person: Champernowne, David Gawen
David Champernowne was an English economist and mathematician.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Francis Champernowne had matriculated at Keble College, Oxford in 1884 and, after taking his M.A., had become a barrister and had returned to Keble College, Oxford as the bursar.
- David Champernowne, known to all as Champ, was educated at Winchester College, a famous independent school for boys founded in the 14th century.
- This school provided Champernowne with an outstanding education and his favourite subject at school was mathematics.
- Champernowne was almost exactly the same age as Alan Turing and the two young students both matriculated at the same time to study the mathematical tripos at King's College, Cambridge.
- Champernowne quickly made his mark as a brilliant mathematician and proved some beautiful results which we will now describe.
- Champernowne was the first to give simply constructed normal numbers.
- This number is now known as Champernowne's constant and he published a proof that it is normal is a delightful paper submitted to the Journal of the London Mathematical Society in April 1933.
- With such a brilliant start to his undergraduate career, one might have expected Champernowne to carve out for himself a career as a top mathematician.
- However, one of his lecturers at Cambridge was John Maynard Keynes who quickly spotted Champernowne's potential and interest in economics.
- Advised by Keynes, Champernowne completed his mathematics degree in two years and then embarked on a second degree in economics.
- In November 1936 Champernowne submitted his prize fellowship dissertation Distribution of income between persons to King's College, Cambridge.
- In 1936, after graduating, Champernowne had been appointed as an assistant lecturer at the London School of Economics.
- Champernowne did not find working for Lindemann easy.
- Lindemann had proposed saturation bombing of working class areas of German cities and Champernowne showed considerable moral courage to criticise this strategy, both on the grounds that it was not effective and that it was not moral.
- Champernowne was moved to the Department of Statistics and Programming in the Ministry of Aircraft Production.
- After the war ended in 1945, Champernowne returned to university positions but not at Cambridge, rather at the University of Oxford where he was appointed as a fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford.
- In the same year of 1948 Champernowne was appointed as professor of statistics at Oxford.
- Champernowne's friendship with Alan Turing had continued and, after the war, the two began to investigate writing a computer program to play chess.
- Both Champernowne and Turing were good chess players and Turochamp certainly could not have given them a good game.
- Champernowne did not find the University of Oxford as good an environment as he had the University of Cambridge.
- In addition his famous mathematics paper and to many articles on statistics and economics which he published in journals, Champernowne published three major books.
Born 9 July 1912, Oxford, England. Died 19 August 2000, Budleigh Salterton, Devon, 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