**Henry Jack** was a Scottish mathematician who taught at Dundee University and made contributions to the theory of polynomials.

- Before he entered Meiklejohn's classes, Jack had been more interested in rugby than in any academic subjects but Meiklejohn's teaching changed the course of Jack's life.
- Meiklejohn encouraged Jack to study mathematics at University and he also encouraged him to enter the Bursary Competition for Edinburgh University.
- Jack was awarded a Dalhousie Bursary and matriculated at Edinburgh University in the autumn of 1936.
- A nice story that Jack recounted from his wartime experiences was when he was stationed on the Scottish island of Tiree, in the Inner Hebrides.
- Sitting in a tin hut, Jack and his colleagues suddenly heard a loud noise and immediately there was an alert believing it could be a possible German invasion.
- Edward Copson moved to the Regius Chair of Mathematics in St Andrews soon after Jack's appointment in Dundee and Murray Macbeath became the new professor of mathematics in Dundee.
- At this stage in his career, Jack lived in student residences, serving as a sub-warden of Airlie Hall, then as warden of the William Low residence which housed medical students.
- Jack remained a Lecturer in Mathematics until 1964 when he was promoted to Senior Lecturer.
- When he was first appointed to Dundee, Jack concentrated on teaching and did not undertake original research.
- As well as teaching mathematics students, Jack taught the large contingent of engineering students.
- The engineering students would chant "Joke, Jack.
- However, it was in 1970 the Jack published his most important paper.
- Within a few weeks Jack produced a complete solution in the case of the first two or three dimensions and then with later studying he solved the problem completely, with the use of very elegant combinations of algebraic and analytical techniques.
- Encouraged by this success Jack began to look through the literature and saw that the techniques which he had applied in that particular case were capable of very much improving and simplifying much of the work that had been done in connection with multivariate analysis in statistics.
- In 1976 Jack wrote to G de B Robinson at the University of Toronto trying to interest him in the ideas that he was developing and, in particular, in his conjectures.
- A manuscript A class of polynomials in search of a definition, or the symmetric group parametrised, unpublished during Jack's lifetime, was eventually published in V B Kuznetsov and S Sahi (eds.), Jack, Hall-Littlewood and Macdonald polynomials (Contemp.
- However, illness cut short Jack's career.

Born 6 July 1917, Menzieshill, near Dundee, Scotland. Died 5 January 1978, Dundee, Scotland.

View full biography at MacTutor

Origin Scotland

**Oâ€™Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F**: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive