Contemporary Mathematics
Volume 41T, 2006
Henry Jack
B.D. Sleeman
This note is based on an appreciation of Henry Jack made at the workshop.
Henry Jack was born at Menzieshill (by Dundee) on 6th July 1917, the son of a
farmer. He went to Dundee High School where his developing interest in mathemat-
ics was encouraged by the senior mathematics master, Mr. J. B. Meiklejohn. Under
his guidance Henry, having been awarded a Dalhousie Bursary, went up to the Uni-
versity of Edinburgh in 1936. Henry's mathematical talents shone at Edinburgh.
He received a number of medals and prizes and graduated M.A. with First class
honours in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in 1940. He was regarded as one
of the best students of that era and was encouraged by Professor E.T. Whittaker
to continue with mathematics.
It was then the custom for Scottish students to take the Cambridge Tripos
after their undergraduate courses in Scotland. In 1940 Henry went up to Christ's
College but was then immediately called up for meteorological work in the Royal
Air Force. He became a commissioned officer and saw service in both the Middle
and near East as well as in Britain.
On demobilization Henry returned to Cambridge and took part II of the tripos
examination in 1948 and received a star of distinction in Part III, graduating B.A
with first class honours in 1949. He remained in Cambridge for a further year
and then a position arose in Dundee in 1950. So Henry returned to his hometown
and remained there all his life. Apart from travelling during the war years Henry
never ventured far from Scotland. He did not attend conferences except for the
International Congress of Mathematicians in Amsterdam in 1954.
On entering E.T.Copson's department at University College Dundee he soon
showed that teaching and the interest in students were central to his career. He
became Adviser of studies in the Faculty of Science and when The University of
Dundee was created, was the first Dean of Students. He was appointed a Senior
lecturer in the by then , Queens College, Dundee (University of St Andrews) in
1964 and to a Readership in the University of Dundee in 1970. He was always a
great supporter of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society whose meetings he regularly
@2006 American Mathematical Society
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