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Sir Edmund Taylor Whittaker

Died 24 Mar 1956 at age 82 (born 24 Oct 1873).English mathematician who made pioneering contributions to the area of the special functions, which is of particular interest in mathematical physics. Whittaker is best known work is in analysis, in particular numerical analysis, but he also worked on celestial mechanics and the history of applied mathematics and physics. He wrote papers on algebraic functions and automorphic functions. His results in partial differential equations (described as most sensational by Watson) included a general solution of the Laplace equation in three dimensions in a particular form and the solution of the wave equation. On the applied side of mathematics he was interested in relativity theory and he also worked on electromagnetic theory.

Future value

A tourist, driving by a Texas ranch, hit and killed a calf that was crossing the road. The driver went to the owner of the calf and explained what had happened. He then asked what the animal was worth.

"Oh, about $200 today," said the rancher. "But in six years, it would have been worth $900. So $900 is what I'm out."

The tourist sat down and wrote out a check and handed it to the farmer.

"Here, is the check for $900," he said. "It's postdated six years from now."

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