Prof. D. M. Y. Sommerville


DUNCAN MCLAREN YOUNG SOMMERVILLE was born in 1879 in Rajputana, and died on January 31, 1934, in New Zealand. After receiving an early education at Perth Academy he went to the University of St. Andrews, where his mathematical and scientific ability soon became apparent. In 1905 he was appointed lecturer in the Mathematics Department at St. Andrews, a post which he filled until 1915, when he became professor of pure and applied mathematics in Victoria University College, Wellington, New Zealand. while Sommerville was essentially a geometer he had considerable interests in other sciences; and it is noteworthy that the classes which he chose to attend in his fourth year of study at St. Andrews had been in anatomy and chemistry. Crystallography in particular appealed to him; and doubtless these possible outlets influenced his geometrical concepts and led Sommerville to ponder over space-filling figures, and gave an early impetus to thoughts in a field which he made peculiarly his own. Beneath his outward shyness considerable talents lay concealed: his intellectual grasp of geometry was balanced by a deftness in making models, and on the aesthetic side by an undoubted talent with the brush. In the course of years he produced a pleasing collection of water colour sketches of New Zealand scenery.

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