The Newby Curle Memorial Lectures


Following his own wishes, Samuel Newby Curle was always known as Newby Curle. He was born to Samuel Curle and Edith Newby Holmes on 18 June 1930 in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England. Educated at the University of Manchester, he worked at the National Physical Laboratory (1954-61) and the University of Southampton (1961-67) before being appointed to the Gregory Chair of Mathematics at the University of St Andrews in 1967. He married Shirley Kingsford Campion (1934-2016) in 1956. He died while out walking near Settle, North Yorkshire, on 27 June 1989. The Annual Report for Department of Applied Mathematics of the University of St Andrews for 1988-89 states:
The Department suffered a great loss when Professor S N Curle died suddenly in June. Over more than twenty years in St Andrews Newby Curle had done much to build up teaching and research in Applied Mathematics. His wisdom and good humour will be much missed. Friends in St Andrews and elsewhere have contributed generously to a fund in his memory and it is hoped to use the income to support a Memorial Lecture to undergraduates.
The following Curle Memorial Lectures have been given:


1990

The first Curle lecture was given by Professor Sir James Lighthill, who was Newby Curle's Ph.D. Supervisor. The lecture on 'Aerodynamics' was introduced by the Principal of the University of St Andrews, Professor Struther Arnott.

1992

The second Curle lecture was given by Professor T Brooke Benjamin (Oxford). It was given on 8 December 1992.

1994

The third Curle lecture was given by Professor James D Murray (Princeton) on 'Mathematical Biology'.

1996

The fourth Curle Memorial Lecture to undergraduates in St Andrews was given by Dr Robin Wilson (Open University) who gave an entertaining and informative talk on graph theory.

2000

The Curle Memorial lecture was given by Professor Brian Hoskins FRS, President of the Royal Meteorological Society on 20 April 2000. The title of his talk was 'Forecasting weather and climate: a chancy business'. Here is a report of the lecture:
Brian Hoskins discussed how over fifty forecasts are made at one time to work out the probability of different kinds of weather in a few days time, yet only one of these forecasts (if any!) are given to the public. We are screened from information deemed to be too complicated, or commercially profitable, yet this information could be of great practical use to many of us. The subject of climate change was also discussed, and he showed that the consensus prediction is for continued global warming (and associated sea-level and associated sea-level rises) due principally to carbon dioxide emissions.
2004

The Curle Memorial lecture was given by Professor Chris Budd (Bath). The title of his talk was '101 uses of a quadratic equation'. The following announcement of the lecture was made:
Announcement of Curle Memorial Lecture 2004, The 2004 Curle Memorial Lecture will be held at 5.15 pm on Wednesday 27 October 2004 in Physics Lecture Theatre A, North Haugh, St Andrews. '101 uses of a quadratic equation' by Professor Chris Budd. As well as being Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Bath, Chris Budd is a prolific populariser of mathematics particularly to young people. This has been recognised by his honorary appointment to the chair of Mathematics at the Royal Institution of 'Christmas Lecture' fame.
The following is a report of the lecture:
The Curle Memorial Lecture for 2004 was given on the 27 October by Professor Chris Budd. Chris holds the chair of Applied Mathematics at the University of Bath and also at the Royal Institution - recognising his esteem in the popularising of mathematics. The lecture series was set up in memory of Professor Newby Curle who held the Gregory Chair in Applied Mathematics from 1967 until his death in 1989. This year's talk entitled '101 uses of a quadratic equation' was aimed primarily at a general audience. The speaker was introduced by Bob Grundy who outlined the history of the event. Chris gave one of the most stimulating mathematics lectures in St Andrews for many years. To a large and enthusiastic audience he outlined the history of the quadratic equation from Babylonian mathematics to modern ideas on chaos. The talk finished with a fascinating demonstration of the chaotic motion of the double pendulum. Ken Falconer, a former colleague of Chris's when both were at Bristol, gave a vote of thanks.
2006

The Curle Memorial lecture was given by Dr David Acheson (Oxford) on 10 October 2006. The title of his talk was '1089 and All That'. Here is a review:
The title of the lecture comes from a simple arithmetic magic trick which entertained the lecturer as a child - seemingly different sums that always give the answer "1089". Start with any 3-figure number (say 625). Reverse it (526), subtract the smaller from the larger (099), reverse it (990) and add the two together (1089). The trick is not difficult, but it was the inspiration for a wonderful lecture in which mathematics was presented as a game and an adventure, irrespective of whether it is elementary or advanced. For David Acheson, the "elements of mystery and surprise run through a great deal of mathematics at its best", and accordingly he took the audience on a journey from first steps to the frontiers.
Here is another review:
The lecture was highly entertaining, featuring experimental demonstrations, music (a live performance by the speaker) and movies. Complex mathematical concepts, among other things, were beautifully described in lay terms to a general audience. Some aspects of wave motion were even explained and demonstrated with an electric guitar.
2008

The Curle Memorial lecture was given by Professor Steve Cowley (Imperial College). The title of his talk was 'Fusion Power: The era of burning plasmas'. The following announcement of the lecture was made:
University of St Andrews, Curle Memorial Lecture 'Fusion Power: The era of burning plasmas'. Professor Steve Cowley, Director, UKAEA Culham Laboratory. 5.15 pm Monday 1st December 2008. Physics Lecture Theatre A. In a decade, the international fusion experiment ITER will start operating in the south of France. This historic experiment will generate up to 500 MW of fusion power and provide a proof of principle for fusion energy. Fusion has the potential to provide a large fraction of our energy for millions of years. Prof Cowley will describe the scientific progress in fusion - from Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington's prophetic predictions in 1920 to the remarkable results that have led to ITER. He will outline the challenging problems that must be solved to make fusion power a commercial option, and worldwide efforts to find their solution.
2011

The Curle Memorial lecture was given by Principal Ian Diamond (Aberdeen). The title of his talk was 'The evolving history of the UK Census: 1801 - 2011 (and beyond?)'. It was given on Tuesday 8 February 2011 but should have been given in November 2010 but was postponed because of bad weather. The 2010 announcement was as follows:
The School of Mathematics and Statistics presents The Curle Lecture 2010. Professor Ian Diamond (Principal, University of Aberdeen). The evolving history of the UK Census: 1801-2011 (and beyond?). 5.15pm  Monday 29th November, Physics Lecture Theatre A. The Curle Lecture is a biennial event hosted by the School of Mathematics and Statistics at St Andrews in memory of Professor Samuel Newby Curle, who was appointed Gregory Chair of Applied Mathematics in 1967 and who died in 1989. This year's Curle Lecture will be given by Professor Ian Diamond, Principal of the University of Aberdeen. Professor Diamond was previously Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council. He was also Chair of the Research Councils UK Executive Group (2004-2009). Before joining the ESRC, Professor Diamond was Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Southampton. He is a graduate of St Andrews, having studied here for his PhD in Statistics. This is a public lecture to which all are welcome.


JOC/EFR November 2019 School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of St Andrews, Scotland
university crest