EMS obituary

by R A Houstoun

Obituaries Index

Horatio Scott Carslaw entered Glasgow University from Glasgow Academy in 1887. He was sixth in the General Bursary Competition. At the University he won the Cunninghame Gold Medal in mathematics and in 1891 he graduated M.A. with first class honours in mathematics and natural philosophy. Thereafter he studied mathematics in Cambridge, Italy (where he learned his non-Euclidean geometry), and Germany, and in 1896, when George A Gibson became professor at the Technical College, he was appointed assistant in the Mathematics Department at the University. He held this position - he was never dignified with the title of lecturer - until he went to Sydney in 1903. Owing to the age of the professor he was virtually in charge of the honours course all this time.

He was an inspiring teacher. He gave optional weekly lectures to the honours class on modern developments in mathematics which, for insight and judgment, were years ahead of their time and which were very much appreciated. He did the hack work of the department in a conscientious and efficient manner. He took a personal interest in all his students. When I went to Göttingen in 1903 he gave me letters of introduction to two German mathematicians. He was specially helpful to students preparing for the Indian Civil Service examination, of whom there were many at that time, and he was secretary of an incipient staff association. His departure was a great loss to Glasgow, but, of course, it was Australia's gain.

It is not necessary to mention his books here, as they are very well known.

R A Houstoun

This obituary appeared in the Edinburgh Mathematical Notes.