Person: Fox (3), Leslie
Leslie Fox was a British mathematician who specialised in numerical analysis.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Leslie won a scholarship to the Wheelwright Grammar School in Dewsbury where he became interested in mathematics through excellent mathematics teaching at the school.
- At Oxford, Fox was highly successful in his mathematical studies but also took a full part in university life.
- Although working for his DPhil in computational and engineering mathematics, Fox was also engaged in highly secret war work.
- We should note that Fox was undertaking numerical work solving partial differential equations which arose in engineering problems but which could not be solved by analytic techniques.
- However at this time no electronic computers were in use and Fox had to undertake the numerical calculations using a desk calculator.
- Although Fox produced a considerable amount of material which was publishable, the secret nature of his work in a wartime environment meant that most of his early work was either not published, or at least publication was delayed until after the end of the war.
- After the award of his doctorate in 1942 Fox joined the Admiralty Computing service.
- For example the National Physical Laboratory published Fox's The use and construction of mathematical tables in 1956.
- Fox was keen to establish rapid convergence for the methods used, describing the auxiliary quantities needed in the table in order to carry out the interpolation.
- In 1963 Fox was appointed as Professor of Numerical Analysis at Oxford also being elected to a professorial fellowship at Balliol College.
- Fox published An introduction to numerical linear algebra in 1964.
- This was not the only book Fox published in 1968 for he also published Computing methods for scientists and engineers this time collaborating with D F Mayers.
- Another collaboration between Fox and Mayers led to Numerical solution of ordinary differential equations published in 1987, four years after Fox retired.
- In addition to these outstanding texts, Fox continued to produce top quality research articles.
- We also note two further aspects of Fox's career.
- Fox's laboratory at Oxford was one of the founding organisations of NAG in 1970 and he strongly encouraged the development of the group, offering considerable resources from his own Computing Laboratory.
- The second aspect we mention is Fox's association with the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
- Fox, who had enjoyed trouble free health up to 1981, continued to suffer from heart problems during his retirement.
- An indication of the high regard he was held in by his friends and colleagues is the enthusiastic response to support the creation of a Leslie Fox Prize for Numerical Analysis.
Born 30 September 1918, Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England. Died 1 August 1992, Oxford, 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