Person: Rutherford, Daniel Edwin
Dan Rutherford was appointed to be the first Gregory Professor of Applied Mathematics at St Andrews in 1964. In spite of his title, he was primarily a pure mathematician with an interest in algebra.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- It was an outstanding piece of work done under difficult circumstances since Rutherford knew no Dutch when he arrived in Amsterdam.
- Rutherford returned to Scotland in 1932 after completing his doctoral studies and was appointed to the University of Edinburgh as an Assistant Lecturer in Mathematics.
- When Ledermann was appointed to St Andrews as an assistant in 1938 one of his main tasks was to help Rutherford build applied mathematics.
- However, despite teaching cadets, and being involved with developing applied mathematics, Rutherford continued to undertake research in algebra.
- Rutherford was promoted to Reader in 1952 and then he was appointed to the Gregory Chair of Applied Mathematics in 1964.
- Despite his mathematical interests, since Copson held the Regius Chair of Mathematics, Rutherford was appointed to a new chair of applied mathematics.
- It was a rather peculiar situation since Rutherford was far more of a pure mathematician than was Copson, but with only one professor in each department and with Rutherford's task from 1934 onwards being to expand the teaching of applied mathematics, giving him an applied mathematics chair was inevitable.
- Rutherford's papers in the 1940s included On the relations between the numbers of standard tableaux, On the matrix representation of complex symbols, On substitutional equations, Some continuant determinants arising in physics and chemistry, On commuting matrices and commutative algebras; these being published either by the Edinburgh Mathematical Society or by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
- Rutherford wrote several other texts in the Oliver and Boyd series which he set up with Aitken.
- Outstanding research contributions led to Rutherford being elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1934 and he received the Keith Prize from the Society for an outstanding series of papers he published in 1951-53.
- Refugees from Nazi oppression who found their way to St Andrews (as did the present writer) will remember with gratitude what Dan Rutherford did for them and for others who became victims of persecutions elsewhere.
- Rutherford was a talented amateur artist.
Born 4 July 1906, Stirling, Scotland. Died 9 November 1966, St Andrews, Fife, 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