Person: Cheney, Ward
Ward Cheney was an American mathematician who was one of the pioneers in the fields of approximation theory and numerical analysis.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- These moves were all made as Elliott Ward Cheney, Sr., moved between different academic appointments.
- Ward's parents were both employed by Consumers' Research, perhaps the first consumer-product testing organization in the United States.
- In addition to his academic studies, Cheney worked every summer for the U.S. Forest Service from 1947 to 1954.
- Cheney was awarded a B.A. by Lehigh University in 1951 and remained there undertaking postgraduate study in session 1951-52.
- It was while he was working for the U.S. Forest Service that Cheney met Elizabeth Jean, known as Beth.
- Ward and Beth Cheney were divorced on 24 April 1974.
- Let us now return to Cheney's career after his marriage in 1952.
- After a year of postgraduate work at Lehigh University, in 1952 Cheney continued his postgraduate work at the University of Kansas.
- The first year Cheney studied at Kansas, Schatten spent most of his time at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.
- He held this position for two years while completing his thesis On Gauge Functions and his Ph.D. was awarded in 1957.
- At Convair Astronautics, Cheney collaborated with Allen A Goldstein and together they published four joint papers which appeared in 1958-59.
- In the present algorithm, each problem is reinterpreted as one of finding the lowest points (if any exist) of a polytope in an Euclidean space the techniques of steepest descent and elimination of variables are then combined to work downward from vertex to vertex.
- The fourth Cheney-Goldstein joint paper appearing in 1958-59 was Newton's method for convex programming and Tchebycheff approximation (1959).
- In 1959 Cheney moved to the Space Technology Laboratories, Los Angeles, California, where he worked as a member of the technical staff for two years.
- During these years, in addition to his academic duties, Cheney worked as a consultant for Boeing Scientific Research Laboratories in the summers of 1962 and 1963.
- Cheney spent the summer of 1964 visiting the Technische Hochschule, Munich, and then was a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Texas in 1964-65.
- Let us say just a little about Cheney's coauthors.
- Henry L Loeb was working at the System Development Corporation, Santa Monica, California when the two papers mentioned above were written but by 1966 he was working at the Aerospace Corporation, Los Angeles, California where Cheney had been a consultant.
- Although he was at Alberta when the two papers mentioned above were published, he had been a colleague of Cheney's at UCLA when their collaboration began.
- This paper was written with coauthor Thomas H Southard, who worked at Alameda County State College, Hayward, California, and had been President of SIAM in 1956-58.
- Cheney's work on this paper was supported by the Space Technology Laboratories and by the U.S. Army Research Office (Durham) while that of Southard by Boeing Scientific Research Laboratories.
- Cheney published the classic text Introduction to approximation theory in 1966, the year he became a full professor at the University of Texas.
- For the rest of his career, Cheney held the professorship at the University of Texas but he spent time at other universities.
- In 1977 Ward spent two months (June and July) in St Andrews funded by a Senior visiting fellowship from British Scientific Research Council.
- The second time Ward visited St Andrews was in March 1984 when he addressed the Departmental Colloquium with the talk Approximating Multivariate Functions.
- Ward was a really nice person, clearly a world leader in numerical analysis, but most of all it was his enthusiasm and energy, both for mathematics and for life in general, that shone through.
- Light moved from Lancaster to the University of Leicester and, after that, Cheney visited Leicester every summer from 1992 to 1995.
- Cheney and Light wrote two joint books and fifteen joint papers.
- These three papers were written jointly by Cheney, Light and my two St Andrews colleagues, George Phillips and John McCabe.
- Professor Cheney has over a hundred published papers and is the author of eleven textbooks in mathematics, with several having multiple editions.
- Professor Cheney maintains a list of piano trios (piano, violin/clarinet/viola, and cello).
- Cheney's health deteriorated with the onset of Alzheimer's.
- Following his death, Cheney was cremated and his ashes were interred at New York City Marble Cemetery where his parents were buried.
Born 28 June 1929, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA. Died 13 July 2016, Austin, Texas, 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