Person: Maxwell (2), Edwin
E A Maxwell wrote several popular textbooks and made many outstanding contributions to the teaching of mathematics, particularly through his contributions to the Mathematical Association. He was an outstanding lecturer at the Queens' College, Cambridge where he undertook many administrative duties.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Edwin Maxwell had been born in Nottingham, England, then lived in Maidstone, Kent.
- At the time of the 1901 census, Edwin and Florence Maxwell are living in Grimsby, and Edwin's occupation is given as fisherman.
- Edwin Maxwell Sr was at this time, and at the 1911 census, listed as a ship's cook in the fishing industry.
- E A Maxwell attended school in Aberdeen, then entered the University of Aberdeen in 1924 and was awarded an M.A. in 1928.
- This is what Maxwell did, matriculating at Queens' College, Cambridge in 1928 where he studied the mathematical tripos.
- Also in 1933 he was awarded a Smith's Prize, for an essay on "The Invariants of Certain Surfaces." In addition to these positions, in 1934 Maxwell was appointed as a Director of Studies for Mathematics.
- With his position at Queens' College, Cambridge secure, Maxwell returned to Aberdeen in 1934 to marry Greta Louise Sykes (1905-1986).
- Greta had studied at the University of Aberdeen at the same time as Maxwell and had been awarded an M.A. in 1929.
- After their marriage Edwin and Greta Maxwell set up home at 71 De Freville Avenue, Cambridge.
- Maxwell was a member of the Society from the time it was founded for the rest of his life.
- In 1934 Maxwell was awarded a Ph.D. for his thesis entitled 'An examination of particular surfaces with regard to their invariants'.
- In addition to Maxwell's positions which we gave above, he also had duties as an Air Raid Warden for Queens' College.
- At the Annual Meeting before the dinner Maxwell was elected as one of the two secretaries of the Club.
- Maxwell became an enthusiastic member of the Mathematical Association from the 1930s.
- Of course it was Maxwell's belief in the importance of teaching which, in many way, explains his whole career.
- Let us give just a few comments by reviewers to illustrate Maxwell's style and achievements.
- Maxwell retired in 1974.
- These were activities of which Greta Maxwell was particularly fond and which do not receive direct encouragement from any other source.
- Edwin loved teaching, and he had the gift of being able to adapt his approach to a wide range of audiences.
- In his personal habits Edwin was conservative: he chose to use the train, the blackboard and the fountain pen rather than the plane, the overhead projector and the typewriter.
Born 12 January 1907, Aberdeen, Scotland. Died 27 August 1987, Edinburgh, 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