Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)US20
TitleUniversity of Birmingham Staff Papers: Papers of George Neville Watson
Extent2 cartons
DescriptionArticles, notes, lectures and correspondence largely relating to Watson's research on mathematical functions, and his interest in the work of the Indian mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan. The papers include drafts of expanded and revised unpublished edition of Watson's textbook 'A Course in Modern Analysis'; a number of draft papers, some of which may have been delivered as lectures; and miscellaneous notes and mathematical tables
There is also a photograph showing George Neville Watson with others, possibly at the official opening of the Watson building at the University of Birmingham in 1961
Access ConditionsOpen. Access to all registered researchers.
Finding AidsA temporary handlist is available as a pdf file. Click on the link in the document field below
DocumentUS20 Watson box list.pdf
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryGeorge Neville Watson was born on 31 January 1886 at Westward Ho! in Devon. His father, George Wentworth Watson, was master at the United Service College, Westward Ho! but the family later moved to London, and Watson was educated at St Paul's School from 1898, where he was a Foundation Scholar. He went to Trinity College, Cambridge with a Major Scholarship in 1904. In 1907 he was classed as Senior Wrangler in Part I of the Mathematical Tripos. The following year he obtained a Smith's Prize and in 1910 became a Fellow of Trinity College. He held this Fellowship until 1916, but in 1914 he went to University College, London as an Assistant Lecturer and was promoted to an Assistant Professorship the following year.
Watson was appointed Mason Professor of Mathematics at the University of Birmingham in 1918, on the retirement of Professor Robert S. Heath. He remained at Birmingham for the rest of his career, until his retirement in 1951. When he arrived at Birmingham, the Mathematics Department was still housed in the original Mason Science College buildings at Edmund Street in the city centre, and there was then a period when teaching took place in both these buildings and the new mathematics department building at Edgbaston. He set up an Honours School and widened the scope of mathematical studies. The Department split into Pure and Applied Mathematics in 1937, and Watson became Professor of Pure Mathematics. The new mathematics building on the Edgbaston campus, opened in 1961, was named the Watson building in his honour.
His major publications were 'Complext Integration and Cauchy's Theorem: Cambridge Tracts in Mathematics and Mathematical Physics, No.15, Cambridge University Press, 1914; 'A Course of Modern Analysis' (with E. T. Whittaker) Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed. 1915, 3rd ed. 1920, 4th ed. 1927 (reprinted 1935, 1940, 1946, 1950, 1952, 1958, 1962); and 'A treatise on the theory of Bessel functions' Cambridge University Press, 1st ed. 1922, 2nd ed. 1944 ( reprinted 1952, 1958, 1962, 1966)
He married Elfrida (Freda) Gwenfil Lane in 1925, and they had a son, George.
Watson was an active member of the London Mathematical Society from 1907, holding a number of offices. He was a member of the Council 1916-1946; Honorary Secretary 1919-1933; Honorary Editor 1937-1946; President 1933-1935; and Vice-President 1935-1936. He was also a member of the Mathematical Association, and was President 1932-1933. He was awarded the De Morgan Medal by London Mathematical Society in 1947; the Gold Medal, Danish Royal Academy in 1912; and the Sylvester Medal, Royal Society in 1946. He held honorary doctorates from the Universities of Dublin and Edinburgh, and was an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He died in Leamington Spa on 2 February 1965

Source: R. A. Rankin 'George Neville Watson' Journal of the London Mathematical Society ( 41, 1966)

For further reading about the University of Birmingham see: Eric Ives, Diane Drummond, Leonard Schwarz The First Civic University: Birmingham 1880-1980 An Introductory History ( The University of University of Birmingham Press. 2000 ).
AcquisitionThe collection was deposited in about 1990 by the Mathematics Department at the University of Birmingham.
Related MaterialUniversity of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department also holds the archives of the University of Birmingham and archives of other former staff, officials and students.