In Memoriam: Attia Abdel-Salam Ashour

We give below a version of the obituary of Attia Ashour given in the paper A A Hady, In Memoriam: Attia Abdel-Salam Ashour (1924-2017), International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeromnomie 54 (December 2015), 14-15.

Attia Abdel-Salam Ashour (1924-2017)

Professor Attia Abdel-Salam Ashour of the Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Science, Cairo University, peacefully passed away on 17 April 2017 at his Dokki residence in Cairo, aged 93.

Born on 13 September 1924 in Damietta, Egypt, Ashour graduated from the Faculty of Science, Fouad 1st University (later to become Cairo University) in 1944. He obtained his Ph.D. Degree in Mathematics from the Imperial College in London, UK, in 1948. His tutors were no less than the famous scientists Sydney Chapman and Albert Price. In 1967, Ashour was granted the D.Sc. Degree in Mathematics from London University, thus becoming one of the very few Egyptians to hold such a degree.

Ashour's career at the Department of Mathematics started in 1944 as a teaching assistant, then as a lecturer in 1948, culminating as Professor of Applied Mathematics in 1966. He was a Professor Emeritus at the department since 1984. He headed the Department of Mathematics for a long period. Ashour acquired an international status through his innovative work in applications of Mathematics in Geophysics. His name is closely linked to fields of Mathematics like Special Functions, Boundary-Value Problems, and to Theoretical Geomagnetism. He has lead an active school of research in these fields and several scientists obtained their M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees under his supervision. He was one of the leading experts on the Mathematical Theory of Electromagnetic Induction. Several applications carry his name. Ashour was a Visiting Professor in many scientific Institutions worldwide.

Ashour was elected a member of the Egyptian Academy of the Arab Language in 1990. Ashour was holder of many national and international prizes for his scientific work and for his national and regional efforts in diffusing and strengthening mathematical knowledge: The Order of Merit of Arts and Sciences First Grade, three times in 1966-1986 and in 1988, The Order of Merit of the Republic of Egypt of the Fifth Grade in 1954 and of the second Grade in 1984, The Medal of the African Mathematical Union in 1990.

Ashour was granted Chevalier dans l'Ordre de La Palme Académique from the French Government in 1985, and Chevalier dans l'Ordre National de Mérite from the French President in 1995 for his efforts in developing Egyptian-French cooperation in Mathematics.

Ashour was Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (R.A.S) since 1954, and was also elected Foreign Associate of RAS, the highest recognition offered by this society for foreign scientists, in 1978. He was a Member of the Advisory Board to the Director General of UNESCO on Science and the 21st Century. He was President of the Arab Union of Mathematicians and Physicists, 1975-1977, and Vice-President of the African Mathematical Union, 1976-1986. Ashour was Vice-President of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) during the period 1971-1975, and President of IUGG during the period 1975-1979, He was Chairman of the Inter-divisional Working Group on International and External Fields, of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, during 1973-1979. He was made an Honorary Member of IAGA in 1991.

Ashour was the Head of the International Center for Pure and Applied Mathematics (CIMPA) at Nice, France, from 1992 till 1996, and member of its Administrative Council during1997-2000. He was a founding member of the Arab Academy of Sciences. Ashour was a member of the Institut d'Egypte, and a multitude of other national and international scientific organizations.

He is sadly missed by his numerous students and colleagues, and all who knew him. He is survived by his wife Karima and his daughter Zeinab, currently Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University.

Ahmed Abdel Hady
Astronomy, Space and Meteorology Dept.
Faculty of Sciences, Cairo University, Egypt

Last Updated April 2019