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Godfrey Harold Hardy

(1877—1947) mathematician


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(1877–1947; b. Cranleigh, England; d. Cambridge, England)

English mathematician. Hardy graduated from Cambridge U in 1898. Elected a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge in 1900, the first edition of his A Course of Pure Mathematics appeared in 1908 (the tenth edition appeared in 1993). In 1914 he hosted the Indian prodigy, Ramanujan. In 1919, he was appointed Professor of Geometry at Oxford U. He returned to Cambridge in 1931 and it was there that he wrote the inspirational A Mathematician's Apology.

Hardy was an eccentric—on entering hotel rooms, he covered all mirrors with a towel. He was a keen fan of cricket, which he watched on most days in the season; in order to ensure that the weather stayed fine he would arrive at the cricket ground with thick sweaters and an umbrella, which he referred to as his ‘anti-God battery’.

Hardy made significant advances in the theory of numbers, particularly the prime number theorem. Amongst his sayings is the statistical observation that ‘It is not worth an intelligent man's time to be in the majority. By definition, there are already enough people to do that’.

Hardy was elected FRS in 1910 and was awarded the Society's Copley Medal in 1947. He was elected to membership of the NAS in 1927. He was President of the LMS in 1926 and again in 1939 and was awarded that Society's de Morgan Medal in 1929.

Subjects: Probability and Statistics.


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