Person: Craik, Alex
Alexander D D Craik was an expert on fluid mechanics writing many significant papers on the topic, but he was also interested in the history of mathematics, particularly Scottish mathematics, and wrote over 30 historical works.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- On their Marriage Certificate, Alexander gives his address as 107 River Street, Brechin and his occupation as Trader (Master) while Mary gives her address as 13 City Road, Brechin and her occupation as Photographer's Assistant.
- Craik attended primary school in Brechin, continuing to study at Brechin High School from 1950 to 1956.
- At this time Edward Copson was the Regius Professor of Mathematics and, among those who taught Craik, were Daniel Rutherford, David Borwein and Jim Tatchell.
- In May-June 1960 Craik sat the honours examinations in Applied Mathematics.
- After graduating from St Andrews, Craik went to Churchill College, Cambridge, to undertake research for his doctorate.
- In 1963 Craik was appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Applied Mathematics, St Salvator's College, University of St Andrews.
- Craik was an excellent lecturer, delivering well-prepared and well thought out material.
- At the time of his appointment to St Andrews, Craik was still working on his Ph.D. dissertation Wind-generated waves in thin liquid films which he submitted to the University of Cambridge and was awarded a Ph.D. in 1965.
- Craik made a visit to the University of California's Cecil H and Ida M Green Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at La Jolla, California.
- Three of the four papers Craik published in 1968 related to his research to La Jolla.
- The fourth paper is a joint paper with Frank Smith, Craik's first Ph.D. student.
- We list these four papers and give Craik's Acknowledgements in each in each of them.
- Craik continued to publish high quality papers on wave motion and hydrodynamic stability.
- Perhaps the 'MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive' would never have existed if Alex Craik had not been so helpful and encouraging to me at this time.
- In his paper, Alex Craik describes several authors who had anticipated the formula to varying extents, and awards the palm of discovery to Arbogast in 1800.
- Craik's book on the history of mathematics is not specifically on either of the two areas we have just mentioned.
- In 1997 Elizabeth Craik was appointed as Professor of Classics at Kyoto University, Japan.
- Alex Craik spent periods in Japan where he made many friends among the mathematicians, particularly the fluid dynamicist Hisashi Okamoto, and became interested in the history of Japanese mathematics.
- Craik died at his home in St Andrews after a short illness, leukamia having been diagnosed in July 2019.
- After we both retired Alex would come to the Mathematical Institute, take the opportunity to talk to me about his latest research, often giving me a copy of one of his newly published papers, and would ask with interest about my latest MacTutor project.
Born 25 August 1938, Brechin, Angus, Scotland. Died 17 November 2019, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland.
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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