Person: Foster (2), Dorothy
Dorothy Foster studied at Bedford College and was awarded a Ph.D. by the University of London in 1960. Except for a few years as an Assistant Lecturer in Mathematics at Royal Holloway College, London, she spent her whole career at the University of St Andrews. She was an expert on geometric number theory.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- This came through Dorothy's maternal grandparents who were William Flintoff (1851-1903) and Mary Amy Dixon (1849-1914).
- Dorothy Foster grew up in Darlington, living at 15 Dale Road.
- Dorothy excelled at Polam Hall School, consistently ranked 1st or 2nd in her class.
- English: Style imaginative, but Dorothy worked extremely well in her coaching periods, and overcame many difficulties she had previously experienced.
- Latin: Dorothy is a keen and steady worker and deserves to do well in her examination.
- Games: Dorothy could be a really good tennis player if she gave more time to practice.
- General Conduct: Dorothy has always maintained a high standard of conduct, and had set a good example to the school.
- Dorothy sat the University of Cambridge General Certificate Examinations in the Summer of 1952 passing Latin, Mathematics and Further Mathematics at the Advanced Level and the General Paper at the Ordinary Level.
- Dorothy's thesis was Some arithmetical properties of quadratic polynomials (May 1960).
- Wilfred Norman Bailey (1893-1961) was Head of Mathematics at Bedford College when Dorothy studied there, retiring in 1958 before she completed her research.
- There had been a difficulty with Dorothy's Ph.D. studies for, in the middle of her work, her Ph.D. supervisor J H H Chalk had left Bedford College and moved to the University of Toronto in Canada.
- In February 1960, even before she had submitted her thesis to Royal Holloway College, Dorothy Foster was appointed to the Department of Mathematics at the University of St Andrews.
- Dorothy continued as a member of Pure Mathematics throughout her career, although the Department later became the Division of Pure Mathematics in the School of Mathematics and Statistics.
- As a lecturer Dorothy was always exceptionally well prepared, with well thought out lectures.
- Dorothy Foster then took over the linear algebra course and taught it in her style, namely matrices as boxes of numbers.
- Dorothy gave an outstanding advanced course on number theory.
- One student, Nigel Watt, studied Dorothy's number theory course in the 1980s and took her advice to carry on to study for a Ph.D. in number theory with Martin Neil Huxley at Cardiff University.
- Dorothy was the local organiser of the 1984 Edinburgh Mathematical Society Colloquium held in St Andrews.
- In 1992 Dorothy retired from her lectureship at the University of St Andrews.
- In 2003 Geoffrey Kneebone, who had taught Dorothy at Bedford College, died and Dorothy, together with fellow student Glenys Ingram, founded the Geoffrey Kneebone Scholarship which is available for a full-time postgraduate student studying MSc Mathematics for Applications or MSc Mathematics of Cryptography and Communications at Royal Holloway.
- In 2018 the London Mathematical Society recorded that Dorothy had been a member of the Society for 60 years.
- Dorothy had many interests in addition to mathematics.
- Dorothy was an expert putter and we were all surprised to see just how competitive she was.
- But Dorothy was multi-talented - she was an accomplished pianist and had an enthusiastic interest in literature.
- Dorothy never lost her interest in mathematics, however, and one of her near neighbours, a retired professor of German, told me that one of the last times he spoke to her she was explaining the 'Seven Bridges of Königsberg problem' to him.
Born 3 December 1933, Darlington, County Durham, England. Died 2 July 2021, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin England, Women
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive