EMS St Andrews Colloquium 1930

The Edinburgh Mathematical Society held its second St Andrews Colloquium in St Andrews from 19 to 30 July 1930. The American Mathematical Monthly published an announcement of the Colloquium in April 1930. The full reference is Notes and News, Amer. Math. Monthly 37 (4) (April 1930), 204.

  1. Announcement of the St Andrews Mathematical Colloquium, 1930.

    The version we give below of the announcement is from the Application for Membership Leaflet:

    Under the auspices of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society, a Mathematical Colloquium will be held in St. Andrews, Scotland, from July 19th to 30th, 1930.

    The following courses of lectures have been arranged:

    1. Rational curves and surfaces
      By H. F. Baker, F.R.S.,
      Lowndean Professor of Astronomy and Geometry in the University of Cambridge.
      Simple rational curves in a plane: rational curves in space (cubics, quartics): general rational curves: conditions for a curve to be rational: simple rational surfaces (quadrics, cubics): general notions as to rational surfaces: conditions for a surface to be rational.

    2. Arithmetical properties of curves and surfaces
      By H. W. Richmond, F.R.S.,
      Fellow of King's College, Cambridge.
      In certain parts of the Theory of Numbers it is helpful to interpret the propositions geometrically: this is particularly true in relation to theorems involving sums of squares or cubes of integral or rational numbers. The title chosen is based upon that of a paper by Poincaré in Louville's Journal (1901) dealing with plane curves.

    3. The wave mechanics
      By C. G. Darwin, F.R.S.,
      Tait Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh.
      A description of the newer developments in the Quantum Theory.

    4. Elementary mathematics from the higher standpoint
      By H. W. Turnbull, M.A.,
      Professor of Mathematics in the United College, University of St Andrews.
      Starting from familiar elementary concepts such as the theory of indices, partial fractions, circles, conics and the like, it is proposed to show how these fit in with the broad developments of mathematical advance.

    5. Recent developments in symmetric functions, determinants, and algebraic equations
      By A. C. Aitken, D.Sc.,
      Lecturer in Actuarial Science in the University of Edinburgh.

    6. Theory of functions
      Final arrangements in regard to this course of lectures have not yet been made, but it is probable that the course with be given by Professor G. H. Hardy, F.R.S.

    7. Informal talks by Professor E T Whittaker and others - discussions on the lecture courses.

    The fee for the Colloquium (including all the lecture courses) is £1, of which 5s. is payable as the registration fee when application is made. Application should be made to E T Copson, Esq., 144 North Street, St Andrews, as early as possible, and in no case later than June 30th. Early application is particularly advisable in the case of those who propose to stay at the Hall (see below), as this Hostel accommodation is limited.

    Members of the Colloquium may stay at the University Hall, which has been reserved entirely for this purpose. The Hostel is divided into three separate wings for ladies, for gentlemen, and for members accompanied by their wives. The cost of board and lodging for the period of the Colloquium (dinner on July 19th to breakfast on July 30th) will be £5 10s. per head; some reduction will be made for shorter periods.

    Arrangements will be made for golf, tennis, excursions and other recreations.

  2. Colloquium Arrangements.

    The following press release related to the opening session of the conference:

    It is regretted that there will be no course on the Theory of Functions, since Professor G. H. Hardy now finds himself unable to attend the Colloquium. Any member wishing to withdraw his name on this account is requested to communicate immediately with Dr E. T. Copson, Cowan House, George Square, Edinburgh.

    All lectures will be delivered in University Hall. The opening meeting will be at 8.30 p.m. on Saturday 19th July.

    The University Hall. Accommodation has been reserved for you at University Hall. The Hall is at a distance of half a mile from the Railway Station

  3. Report on the St Andrews Mathematical Colloquium, 1930.

    The report of the meeting given below is from the Minute Book of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society:

    A Mathematical Colloquium was held at the University Hall, St Andrews, from July 19th to 30th, 1930. Some eighty to ninety people attended, who with their friends made a total gathering of over one hundred. Members came from all parts of Great Britain and Ireland, and also from Canada, the United States, Egypt, Romania, Holland and Italy. The Colloquium was honoured by the presence of a distinguished guest in the person of Prof, T. Levi-Civita (Rome).

    The opening meeting took place at 8.45 p/m. on Saturday, 19 July, the President [John Edward Aloysius Steggall] in the Chair. The Colloquium was welcomed to St Andrews by Principal Sir James Irvine, F.R.S., on behalf of St Andrews University, and by the President on behalf of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society. Prof. Whittaker moved the vote of thanks to Sir James.

    During the period of the Colloquium, five formal courses of lectures were given, beginning on Monday, 21 July. Three lectures were given by Dr H. W. Richmond, F.R.S. on "Arithmetical Properties of Curves and Surfaces"; four by Prof. C. G. Darwin, F.R.S. on "The Wave Mechanics"; three by Prof. H. W. Turnbull on "Elementary Mathematics from the Higher Standpoint"; three by Prof. H. F. Baker, F.R.S. on "Rational Curves and Surfaces"; and three by Dr A. C. Aitken on "Recent Developments in Symmetric Functions, Determinants, and Algebraic Equations".

    On Monday 21 July Prof. Whittaker gave an introductory lecture on the subject of "Is Space Finite?", and this was followed on July 22 by Drs G. C. McVittie and W. H. McCrea, who gave an excellent account of the recent work in Relativity and Astronomy.

    At 8.45 p.m. on Thursday July 24, Prof. D'Arcy Thompson F.R.S. (St Andrews) gave a characteristically brilliant and amusing talk on "Stories from Greek Mathematics - The Golden Section and other matters."

    A lecture on "Heaviside's Operational Calculus" was given on Friday 25 July by Dr Balth. van der Pol (Eindhoven, Holland), and on Saturday, 26 July Prof. E. C. Titchmarsh (Liverpool) lectured on "Equations with an Infinite Number of Variables."

    A vigorous discussion on "Teaching of Mathematics at Home and Abroad" was introduced on Monday July 28 by Prof. Charles Noble (California).

    The closing meeting of the Colloquium took place on Thursday 29 July at 12 noon. Votes of thanks were given to those who had arranged the Colloquium, and to Miss Cameron, the Warden of University Hall.

    A reception, with music, was held at 8.45 p.m. on Tuesday 22 July, the guests including many prominent residents of St Andrews.

  4. Press releases

    The following press release related to the opening session of the conference:

    Mathematical Colloquium at the Residence Hall.

    Under the auspices of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society a Mathematical Colloquium is being held at the University Residence Hall, St Andrews, from 19th to 30th July. About a hundred people are attending from all parts of the world. They were welcomed at the opening meeting held on Saturday night. Professor Steggall, University College, Dundee, the president of the Society, occupied the chair. Principal Sir James Irvine, on behalf of the University, welcomed the Society to St Andrews, and said they were glad that such a Society should choose St Andrews for its meeting. He referred to the distinguished mathematicians, especially Napier and Gregory, who had been associated with St Andrews University. He hoped the Society's stay in St Andrews would be of a very pleasant nature.

    Professor Steggall also welcomed the members, doing so in a racy and reminiscent speech.

    Professor Whittaker, Edinburgh, returned thanks for the welcome. Tracing the development of the Colloquium, he said it had been held at Edinburgh in 1913 and 1914, and in 1926 at St Andrews, and now it was being held again this year at St Andrews. The following will be the course of lectures and the lecturers:- "Rational Curves and Surfaces," by H F Baker, F.R.S., Lowndean Professor of Astronomy and Geometry in the University of Cambridge; "Arithmetical Properties of Curves and Surfaces," by H W Richmond, F.R.S., Fellow of King's College, Cambridge; "The Wave Mechanics," by C G Darwin, F.R.S., Tait Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh; "Elementary Mathematics from the Higher Standpoint," by H W Turnbull, M.A., Professor of Mathematics in the United College, St Andrews; "Recent Developments in Symmetric Functions, Determinants and Algebraic Equations," by A C Aitken, D.Sc., Lecturer in Actuarial Science, University of Edinburgh.

    Informal talks will be given by Professor E T Whittaker, F.R.S., and others.

    The University of St Andrews Library put on an exhibition associated with the St Andrews Colloquium of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society. The University issued the following Press release:

    Mathematical Works at St Andrews.

    In connection with the Mathematical Colloquium at present in session at St Andrews a small but extremely interesting exhibition of rare mathematical works has been arranged in the science reading-room of the University library. The books are grouped around the central figure of Napier of Merchiston, the inventor of Logarithms (and himself a St Andrews student), whose works, with those of his successors, are well represented. No copy of one of the works on Logarithms was to be seen, in fact, at the great Napier Tercentenary Exhibition.

    Perhaps the most outstanding work on show is the first edition of Gilbert's De Magnete. This is a monumental work which gives England the glory of being the absolute birthplace of electrical science. It was the first great work on natural science ever printed in England, and called forth Dryden's well-known lines

    Gilbert shall live till loadstones cease to draw,
    Or British fleets the boundless ocean awe.

    The first edition is extremely rare, much rarer, in fact, than the first folio Shakespeare.

    Side by side with the first edition of one of Galileo's works is the first edition of the works of his pupil Torricelli, who gave to the world the barometer, and in a showcase nearby is another "first" Galileo, bearing an inscription in the great scientist's own hand.

    Another exhibit of outstanding interest is a copy of the first volume of the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, presented to the library by Benjamin Franklin, and bearing his autograph. It will be remembered that he was an honorary graduate of St Andrews. This volume was untraced about twenty years ago, but has fortunately turned up during the reorganisation of the library.

    The collection of works of James Gregory, a predecessor of Professor Turnbull in the Chair of Mathematics, and the inventor of the reflecting telescope, is of exceptional local interest. The ancient mathematicians - Diophantus, Euclid, Pappus, and others - are all exceedingly well represented, and the exhibition, highly selective as it is, gives some idea of the extraordinary wealth of St Andrews University Library.

    The following is taken from a handout prepared by H. S. Ruse and E. T. Copson:

    St Andrews Mathematical Colloquium.

    The Mathematical Colloquium, under the auspices of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society, which opened at St Andrews on 19th July, was concluded yesterday. It has been very successful, over a hundred members attending the series of meetings in the University Residence Hall. In addition to the courses of lectures given by Professor H F Baker, Cambridge; Dr H W Richmond, Cambridge: Professor C G Darwin, Edinburgh; Dr A C Aitken, Edinburgh, and Professor H W Turnbull, St Andrews, there were several special meetings addressed by Professor E T Whittaker, Edinburgh: Dr B van der Pol, Philips Radio Research Laboratory, Holland; Dr G C M'Vittie, Cambridge; Dr W H M'Crea, Edinburgh: Professor C A Noble, California; Professor D'Arcy Thompson, St Andrews; and Professor E C Titchmarsh, Liverpool.

    While considerable attention was given to broad sketches of the latest advances in pure and applied mathematics, the scope of the lectures also included connected historical accounts of important earlier developments, together with references to the relations between school and college, as regards Mathematical teaching. On this last, an interesting discussion took place, led by Professor Noble, in which the experiences of teachers in the United States, America, Canada, England, Ireland, and Scotland were related. In spite of the broken weather the visitors found time for golf, tennis, and excursions, while several concerts and other social functions were held in the evenings.

JOC/EFR April 2016

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