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Mathematics at Leeds: Retirement of Prof. W. P. Milne

Nature volume 158, pages 781782 (30 November 1946) | Download Citation



PROF. W. P MLINE, head of the Mathematics Department of the University of Leeds since 1919, has retired and been appointed professor emeritus. After studying at the University of Aberdeen, where he obtained a doctorate, Milne took his mathematical degree at Cambridge as fourth wrangler, and received honourable mention in the Smith's Prize examin ation. He then became mathematics master at Clifton College, where he stayed until he was offered the chair of mathematics at Leeds. The appointment of a school master to a university chair was an interesting experiment, and there can be no doubt about its success. During his Clifton period, Milne wrote text-books on higher algebra, projective geometry, homogeneous co-ordinates and the calculus. But his greatest contribution to mathematics has been a number of papers, published mainly in the Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society, dealing with the properties of plane cubic, quartic and quintic curves, and the relations between the cubic surface and quartic curves, culminating in the properties and groupings of the 2,015 conies which touch the plane quintic curve at five distinct points. The University of Aberdeen recently conferred upon him the honorary degree of LL.D.

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