Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of EDWARD HUBERT LINFOOT Sc.D. (1905 - 1982)
|Title:||Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of EDWARD HUBERT LINFOOT Sc.D. (1905 - 1982)|
SECTION A BIOGRAPHICAL NCUACS 9.2.89/A/1-NCUACS 9.2.89/A/10
SECTION B RESEARCH NCUACS 9.2.89/B/1-NCUACS 9.2.89/B/57
SECTION C CONSULTANCIES NCUACS 9.2.89/C/1-NCUACS 9.2.89/C/60
SECTION D PUBLICATIONS, LECTURES, CONFERENCES NCUACS 9.2.89/D/1-NCUACS 9.2.89/D/40
The collection is of particular interest for the material relating to wartime research and to consultancies on the design of optical systems for commercial and other organisations.
Section A, Biographical, is very slight but includes published biographical accounts and a number of letters from mathematical colleagues.
Section B, Research, is predominantly material relating to wartime research which is introduced by Linfoot's own lists detailing his Second World War projects. The Ministries of Aircraft Production and Supply are both represented in the documentation, and there is correspondence with scientific colleagues such as N F Mott of Bristol and L C Martin of Imperial College London and technical papers of the Telecommunications Research Establishment mathematics group. There is some postwar material relating to work on Schmidt and related optical systems.
Section C. Consultancies, is presented alphabetically by organisation, and records Linfoot's work for firms and others on both sides of the Atlantic including EMI, Farrand Optical Company and the Perkin-Elmer Corporation. The most extensive documentation relates to the Isaac Newton telescope (presented under Grubb Parsons) and the University of St Andrews telescope.
Section D, Publications, Lectures, Conferences, presents a chronological sequence of drafts and related correspondence. The largest body of material relates to Linfoot's unpublished book on almost periodic functions (completed at Princeton 1929-31), and comprises a typescript draft and correspondence with the Clarendon Press Oxford and colleagues in Britain, Germany and the USA. Section D also includes material relating to a mathematics colloquium organised by Linfoot and H Heilbronn at Bristol in 1935 and to postwar optics conferences.
|Held by:||Cambridge University Library: Department of Manuscripts and University Archives, not available at The National Archives|
Edward Hubert Linfoot was born in Sheffield in 1905. He was educated at King Edward VII School Sheffield and Balliol College Oxford, taking his BA in mathematics with first class honours in 1926. He obtained his D.Phil with a thesis on almost periodic functions in 1928 and spent 1928-29 at Göttingen and 1929-31 at Princeton as the Jane Eliza Proctor Fellow. On his return to England he taught at Balliol until his appointment in 1932 as Assistant Lecturer and then Lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Bristol. In 1935 he married Joyce Dancer, herself an able mathematician, and they had a daughter and son born in 1945 and 1947, respectively.
In the years before the Second World War Linfoot's interests shifted from pure mathematics to optics, particularly the Schmidt telescope and related optical systems such as the Schmidt-Cassegrain. Among the factors stimulating his interest in optics were the presence of C R Burch at Bristol, and his conviction that political developments in Germany would lead to war and that optics would have an important role to play in the conflict. In addition to theoretical contributions he mastered the practical skills involved in figuring optical surfaces and in 1939 the Physical Society exhibited a pair of aspheric microscopes constructed by him. During the war Linfoot did substantial work on photographic aerial reconnaissance for the Ministry of Aircraft Production. He was also associated with N F Mott's research group which worked on a number of urgent technical problems for the Ministry of Supply.
In 1948 his professional standing in mathematical optics was recognised by his appointment as Assistant Director and John Couch Adams Astronomer at the Cambridge Observatory; he retired in 1970. His arrival in Cambridge coincided with the development of the EDSAC I computer and he was a pioneer in the use of computers in the solution of optical problems. He continued work on Schmidt and related optical systems and acted as consultant on a number of telescope projects including the Isaac Newton and St Andrews telescopes. In addition to his many scientific papers Linfoot published two books, Recent Advances in Optics in 1955 and Fourier Methods in Optical Image Evaluation in 1964. Linfoot died in 1982 aged 77.
For further details of Linfoot's career see the obituary notices in Bull. London Math. Soc. 16 (1984), 52-58 and Q.Jl R. astr.Soc. 25 (1984) 219-222.
|Immediate Source Of Acquisition:||
Compiled by Peter Harper and Timothy E Powell
The work of the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists, and the production of this catalogue, are made possible by the support of the following societies and organisations:
The Biochemical Society
The British Library
The City of Bath
The Geological Society
The Institute of Physics
The Royal Society
The Royal Society of Chemistry
The Society of Chemical Industry
We are very grateful to Mrs Linfoot for making the material available, and for her help and encouragement."
|Link to NRA Record:|