LAMB, Sir Horace (1849-1934)

LAMB, Sir Horace (1849-1934)
son of John Lamb, was born at Stockport, Cheshire, England, on 27 November 1849. Educated at Stockport Grammar School, Owens College, Manchester, and Trinity College, Cambridge, he was 2nd wrangler and 2nd Smith's prizeman in 1872. He was elected a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, in the same year, and in 1875 was appointed professor of mathematics in the newly founded university of Adelaide. For the next 10 years the average number of students doing the arts course at Adelaide was fewer than 12, and though Lamb also did some popular lecturing, his work was comparatively light. This gave him time to develop his own subject, and in 1878 appeared his able and original A Treatise on the Mathematical Theory of the Motions of Fluids. From 1881 to 1884 he published a brilliant series of memoirs dealing with the application of harmonic analysis to vibrational problems, and in 1885 he was appointed professor of mathematics at the university of Manchester. He held this position for 35 years, and proved himself to be an inspiring teacher and an excellent administrator. He was known as one of the great mathematicians of his time, and his various treatises firmly established this position. His Hydrodynamics appeared in 1895 (6th ed. 1933), and his other works included An Elementary Course of Infinitesimal Calculus (1897, 3rd ed. 1919), Propagation of Tremors over the Surface of an Elastic Solid (1904), The Dynamical Theory of Sound (1910, 2nd ed. 1925), Statics (1912, 3rd ed. 1928), Dynamics (1914), Higher Mechanics (1920), The Evolution of Mathematical Physics (1924). When Lamb resigned his chair in 1920 he went to live at Cambridge. He died on 4 December 1934. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1884, was twice vice-president, received its Royal medal in 1902 and, its highest honour, the Copley medal in 1924. He was president of the London Mathematical Society 1902-4, president of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, and president of the British Association in 1925. He was knighted in 1931. He married in 1875, Elizabeth Foot of Dublin, who died in 1930. He was survived by three sons and four daughters. The sons were born at Adelaide and all became distinguished. At the time of their father's death, Ernest Horace Lamb was professor of civil and mechanical engineering at East London College, university of London, Walter Rangeley Maitland Lamb, a noted classical scholar, was secretary of the academy of arts, and Henry Lamb was a well-known artist.
The Times, 5 December 1931; Who's Who, 1935; The English Catalogue.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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