Harry Bateman

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Harry Bateman (May 29 1882 Manchester, England - January 21 1946 Pasadena California USA) was a leading English mathematician. He first grew to love mathematics at Manchester Grammar School, and in his final year, won a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge.

In 1910 he initiated the study of a Conformal Group of Spacetime with his article "The transformation of the electrodynamical equations" (Proc. London Math. Soc. 8:223-264). He showed that the Jacobian matrix of a spacetime diffeomorphism which preserves the Maxwell equations is proportional to an orthogonal matrix, hence conformal. The transformation group of such transformations has 15 parameters and extends both the Poincare group and the Lorentz group.

He wrote a number of texts which have been reprinted as classics: The mathematical analysis of electrical and optical wave-motion on the basis of Maxwell's equations; Partial differential equations of mathematical physics; Hydrodynamics; and Numerical integration of differential equations.

Bateman received many honours for his contributions, including election to the Royal Society of London in 1928, election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1930. He was elected as vice-president of the American Mathematical Society in 1935. He was on his way to New York to receive an award form the Institute of Aeronautical Science when he died of coronary thrombosis.

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