Geoffrey Timms

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16 February 1903
Bradford, Yorkshire, England
2 December 1982
Auckland, New Zealand

Geoffrey Timms studied at Leeds and Cambridge and then took up a post at St Andrews. During World War II he served at Bletchley Park and Cheltenham and joined the Foreign Office afterwards.


Geoffrey Timms's father was Frederick Timms (born in Leeds, Yorkshire in 1865; died 1947) who was a Managing Director Ltd Co. of a rope and twine company. His mother was Clare Louisa Barraclough (born in Leeds, Yorkshire, in 1867; died 1946). Geoffrey Timms had a younger brother Alan (born about 1905).

Geoffrey Timms was an undergraduate at the University of Leeds, graduating with First Class honours in mathematics in 1925. Timms then went to Cambridge where his doctoral work was supervised by H F Baker. After being awarded a Ph.D. in 1928 Timms was appointed as Assistant in H W Turnbull's department in St Andrews in October 1929.

Timms remained at St Andrews being appointed as a Lecturer in Mathematics in 1935. During World War II Timms served at Bletchley Park, and was then sent to Cheltenham to use his mathematical skills to assist engineers and physicists. Timms retained his post in St Andrews until September 1945 when he resigned, deciding to remain with the Foreign Office for the rest of his career. He continued to work for the Foreign Office until 1968.

From February 1929, before taking up his position as an assistant in St Andrews, Timms joined the Edinburgh Mathematical Society. He was honoured by the Society by being elected as president for session 1941-42. He was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 6 March 1933, his proposers being Herbert Westren Turnbull, Edward Thomas Copson, Alexander Craig Aitken,Sir Edmund T Whittaker.
An obituary, written by W L Edge, appears in the Royal Society of Edinburgh Year Book 1984, page 213.
We give a version of this obituary at THIS LINK.

As an example of Timms' papers, he published On the highest space in which a non-ruled surface of given order can lie in 1940. T R Hollcroft writes:-
More than a half century ago, del Pezzo showed that a non-ruled algebraic surface of order nn lies in a space of maximum dimension RR such that R=nR = n for n9,n4n ≤ 9, n ≠ 4, and R<nR < n for n10n ≥ 10. In the present paper, the exact value of RR for a given nn is found to be R=I(3n/4)+2,n1,2,3,9R = I(3n/4) + 2, n ≠ 1, 2, 3, 9, where I(x)I(x) denotes the integral part of xx. An example is given of a rational surface of order nn for which the maximum value RR is attained.

References (show)

  1. W L Edge, Geoffrey Timms O.B.E., Ph.D.(Cantab.), Royal Society of Edinburgh Year Book 1984, 213.

Additional Resources (show)

Other pages about Geoffrey Timms:

  1. Obituary: RSE

Honours (show)

Cross-references (show)

Written by J J O'Connor and E F Robertson
Last Update November 2007