Person: Edge, William Leonard
William Edge graduated from Cambridge and lectured at Edinburgh University. He wrote many papers on Geometry.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Edge's fellow students included P du Val and J G Semple but other famous geometers joined the group while Edge was at Cambridge including the slightly younger men H S M Coxeter and J A Todd.
- Edge played a major role in the success of the Mathematics Department at Edinburgh, first under Whittaker's and then under Aitken's leadership.
- After studying classical geometry, Edge moved towards the topic which is most associated with him, namely finite geometry.
- Edge wrote nearly 100 papers and his mastery of the area ranks him with Coxeter as one of the leading geometers of the 20th century.
- These have interesting geometrical properties and Edge investigated them in a series of papers spanning 40 years.
- Edge continued and completed Castelnuovo's investigations.
- Edge explicitly examined one such projection in a paper on Castelnuovo's normal surface.
- Edge gave a procedure for finding this equation in 1979.
- Some of Edge's work on Bring's curve extends work due to Clebsch.
- Edge investigated a pencil of canonical curves of genus 6 on a del Pezzo quintic surface in a 5-dimensional projective space.
- Edge was not someone uninterested in modern techniques, however, and it may come as a surprise to some that in a 1991 paper he included computer-drawn pictures.
- Other topics Edge worked on, all of which exhibit his mastery of the subject, include nets of quadric surfaces, the geometry of the Veronese surface, Klein's quartic, Maschke's quartic surfaces, Kummer's quartic, the Kummer surface, Weddle surfaces, Fricke's octavic curve, the geometry of certain groups, finite planes and permutation representations of groups arising from geometry.
- When he attended the celebrations for Coxeter in Toronto in 1979 it was the first time Edge had crossed the Atlantic and he said only his great friendship with Coxeter had made him overcome his reluctance to travel.
- "Never met Cayley" replied Edge.
- A colleague now at St Andrews, C M Campbell, attended Edge's courses in the 1960s.
- He described them as difficult lectures which required a lot of work to appreciate their content but, once this work had been put in, the quality and insight in Edge's lectures became apparent.
- Edge taught the algebra courses at Edinburgh at this time but he taught algebra with a strong geometric flavour reflecting his deep knowledge, feel and love for geometry.
- Edge had a deep concern for his students, both while they were studying at Edinburgh and after they had graduated.
- Edge was also a capable singer, and performed the solo in a Bach cantata for participants at one of the St Andrews colloquia ...
Born 8 November 1904, Stockport, England. Died 27 September 1997, Bonnyrigg, Scotland.
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