# Mathematician:Leslie John Comrie

(Redirected from Mathematician:L.J. Comrie)

Jump to navigation
Jump to search
## Mathematician

New Zealand mathematician and astronomer who was a pioneer in the field of mechanical computation.

Produced two editions of *Barlow's Tables*, making significant extensions and enhancements.

Computerised the British football pools.

## Nationality

New Zealander

## History

- Born: 15 August 1893, Pukekohe, New Zealand
- 1912 - 1916: Attended Auckland University College (part of the University of New Zealand)
- 1916: Fought in France with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force
- February 1918: Lost his left leg to a British shell
- 1918: Started using a mechanical calculator while recovering.
- 1920-22: First director of the Computing Section of the British Astronomical Association
- 1923: Received a PhD from St John's College of the University of Cambridge
- 1924: Traveled to the USA to teach at Swarthmore College and then Northwestern University. Pioneered the teaching of numerical analysis.
- 1926: Became deputy superintendent of HM Nautical Almanac Office at the Royal Greenwich Observatory
- 1928: The first to use punched card equipment for scientific calculations
- 1930: Promoted to Superintendent of the Nautical Almanac Office
- August 1936: Suspended because of tensions with his superiors, caused by his unconventional use of machines for calculation
- 1937: Founded
**Scientific Computing Service, Limited**, the world's first private company for scientific computing - During World War II: he headed a team of 30 scientists to computerise war work, such as the creation of bombing tables for the Allies
- 1948: Visited USA and New Zealand
- March 1950: Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London
- Died: 11 December 1950 after a series of strokes

## Publications

- 1921:
*Eclipse of Rhea by the shadow of Titan*(with A.E. Levin) - April 1928:
*On the Construction of Tables by Interpolation*(in which he describes the innovation of the use of punched card equipment for interpolating tables of data)

- 1930: Edited
*Barlow's Tables, 3rd ed.*- 1941: Edited
*Barlow's Tables, 4th ed.*

- 1941: Edited

- 1931:
*Standard Four Figure Mathematical Tables*(with L.M. Milne-Thomson)

- 1932:
*The application of the Hollerith tabulating machine to Brown's tables of the moon* - 1933:
*The computation of total solar eclipses* - 1933:
*The total solar eclipse of 1940 October 1* - 1937:
*The application of the Brunsviga twin 13Z calculating machine to the Hartmann formula for the reduction of prismatic spectrograms* - December 1941:
*Line of Planets*(Popular Astronomy 49: pp. 397–398) - December 1942:
*Errors in Mathematical Tables*(Nature 150: p. 738) - December 1949:
*The Green (?) Flash (?)*(Popular Astronomy 57: pp. 42–43)