ALEXANDER G BURGESS, M.A., D.SC., F.R.S.E.

by P Comrie

ALEXANDER G BURGESS received his early education at Wishaw Academy and George Watson's College. At the latter he specially distinguished himself in Mathematics and gained the Welsh Mathematical Bursary as the best student in Mathematics who entered Edinburgh University in 1890. At the University he more than fulfilled the promise of his school career by gaining many prizes in the classes of Professors Chrystal and Tait, and graduating with First Class Honours in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in 1894.

He selected teaching as his life's work, and after gaining experience in Merchiston Castle School, Rothesay Academy, and Edinburgh Ladies' College, was appointed Rector of Rothesay Academy in 1917.

He spent practically all his spare time in the study of his favourite subject, and from 1900 was a faithful and zealous member of this Society. The Society owes him much. Looking through the Proceedings and Mathematical Notes one finds no fewer than thirteen articles over his signature. His Alma Mater recognised the value of his work by conferring on him the Degree of D.Sc. in 1924 for a thesis on Tripolar Co-ordinates. He was Secretary of the Society from 1908 to 1911, Vice-President 1911-12, and President 1912-13. During his presidency the first Mathematical Colloquium was held in Edinburgh and Dr Knott testified that "his genial tact and fine powers of organisation and administration made him the right man in the right place." The signal success of the Colloquium as well as of the one held in the following year was in large measure due to his untiring devotion to the interests of the Society.

As a teacher and headmaster he was held in the highest esteem by all who came in contact with him, and his former pupils, many of whom hold important appointments at home and abroad, mourn the loss of one who was ever a true friend.

This obituary was written by P Comrie and published in the Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society. The reference is:
P Comrie, Alexander G Burgess, M.A., D.Sc., F.R.S.E, Proc. Edinburgh Math. Soc. 3 (1932-33), 300.