Samuel Newby Curle

Quick Info

18 June 1930
Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, England
27 June 1989
Lodge Farm Lane, Settle, North Yorkshire, England

Newby Curle was an English applied mathematician who worked in fluid mechanics. He spent most of his career as a professor at St Andrews.


Newby Curle was always known to his friends and colleagues as Newby and he never used his first name of Samuel. His parents were Samuel Curle (1868-1937), a county court cashier, and Edith Newby (1889-1958). Samuel Curle, born on 9 October 1868 at 41 Henry St East, Sunderland, Durham, England, was from a large family. He married Mary Ann (Polly) Gibson (1867-1927) in Sunderland and they had seven daughters, two of whom died as babies: Phoebe Curle (1891-1974), Florence Curle (1892-1981), Lilian Curle (1895-1976), Mary Curle (1898-1898), Mary Curle (1902-1988), Gladys Cass Curle (1905-1905), and Ethel Curle (1907-1998). Polly Curle died in 1927 and Samuel Curle married Edith Newby (1889-1958) on 5 April 1930. Edith had married Harry Holmes (1890-1927) in 1910 and both Samuel and Edith had been widowed in 1927. Their only child was Newby Curle, the subject of this biography. Newby had five half-sisters from his father's first marriage but no half-brothers or half-sisters from his mother's side, her only child being a boy who died as a baby.

When Newby was seven years old, his father died of bronchial pneumonia in Highfield Infirmary, Sunderland. He was brought up at 37 Ormonde St, Sunderland, Durham and first attended Barnes Council School, Sunderland, followed by Bede Grammar School. Barnes Council School, on Mount Road, Sunderland, had been founded in 1902. Bede School had been founded in 1890 but moved to new buildings on Durham Road in 1927. It became a grammar school in 1944, following the Education Act.

We give two obituaries of Newby Curle at THIS LINK.

Since these obituaries give a detailed account of Newby Curle's career, we only give a few extra details here.

Newby Curle married Shirley Kingsford Campion (1934-2016) at Teddington Methodist Church, Middlesex South, Middlesex on 3 November 1956. Shirley was the daughter of Thomas George Campion who was an aircraft inspector.

After being appointed to the University of St Andrews, Newby Curle had a house built at 18 Irvine Crescent. This road was built on university land and originally plots were feued to university staff but, around the time that he had his house built, the university opened it up for anyone. It was, however, a road with most houses owed by university staff. In 1970 five members of the Mathematical Institute were living in Irvine Crescent.

On 7 March 1977, Newby Curle was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were Andrew G Mackie, W Norrie Everitt, Douglas S Jones, and Donald C Pack.

Let me [EFR] add one personal note. Newby Curle was appointed to the Gregory Chair of Applied Mathematics at the University of St Andrews in 1967. I had been an undergraduate at St Andrews, leaving in 1965 to undertake research at the University of Warwick, and was appointed onto the staff at St Andrews in 1968. Coming into the coffee room on my first day as a lecturer was a strange experience since most of those who were now my colleagues had been my lecturers. Newby Curle was the one to realise this and went out of his way to make it easy for me. I was always grateful to Newby for his kindness.

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.
For details of the Newby Curle Memorial lectures, see THIS LINK.

References (show)

  1. Obituary, Samuel Newby Curle, Royal Society of Edinburgh Yearbook 1990 (1990), 41-43.

Additional Resources (show)

Other pages about Newby Curle:

  1. Newby Curle obituaries
  2. Newby Curle Memorial lectures

Other websites about Newby Curle:

  1. MathSciNet Author profile
  2. zbMATH entry

Honours (show)

Honours awarded to Newby Curle

  1. Curle Memorial lectures

Written by J J O'Connor and E F Robertson
Last Update November 2019