William Henry Metzler, A.B., Ph.D., Hon.D.Sc.

RSE Obituary

by A C Aitken

Obituaries Index

William Henry Metzler was born at Odessa, Ontario, Canada, on September 18, 1863. He studied at Toronto, where he was a pupil of Henry S Taber, the algebraist, from 1886 to 1892, and graduated A.B. in 1888. In 1892 he became a Ph.D. of Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts. From 1895 to 1923 he was Professor of Mathematics in Syracuse University, N.Y., and was Dean of the Graduate School there from 1911 to 1917. From 1923 to 1933 he was Dean of the New York State College of Teachers at Albany, N.Y. He received the Honorary D.Sc. of Syracuse University in 1931.

His interests, closely allied to those of another of our Fellows, Sir Thomas Muir, lay principally in the theory of determinants, to which he contributed many original papers; and some of the more recondite theorems in compound determinants are due to him. He was also interested, though to a lesser degree, in the algebra of matrices. His publications in these fields covered a period of nearly forty years. In 1930 he was associated with Muir in a greatly enlarged edition of Muir's textbook of 1882, The Theory of Determinants. He had voluntarily undertaken the work of revision some years before.

He was elected a Fellow in 1902, and a succession of his papers on determinants appeared in the Proceedings of the Society at various times from 1902 to 1919.

He died on April 18, 1943, in his eightieth year.

William Henry Metzler was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 3 March 1902, his proposers being D H Marshall, R M Wenley, John George Adami, James Douglas Hamilton Dickson. This obituary, written by A C Aitken, appears in the Royal Society of Edinburgh Year Book 1946, page 34.