University of Birmingham Staff Papers: Papers of George Neville Watson

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Articles, notes, lectures and correspondence including: 2 bundles of an expanded and revised unpublished edition of  A Course in Modern Analysis; correspondence with L J Comrie's Scientific Computing Service, 1937-1938; miscellaneous correspondence, 1936-1953; lectures on Quintic Equations given in Cambridge, 1948; the continuation of functions defined by generalised hypergeometric series, 1910; summary of dissertation for the fellowship exams; various draft papers and notes for publications; Watson's table of Ramanujam's function, extended by D H Lehmer.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Neville Watson, 1886-1965. Education: St Paul's School, London; Trinity College, Cambridge. Career: Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge, 1910-1916; 1914, Assistant Lecturer, 1915-18; Assistant Professor, University College, London; 1918-1951; Professor of Mathematics, University of Birmingham (appointed on the retirement of Professor R. S. Heath): in 1937, the Mathematics Department divided into two - for pure and applied mathematics - and Watson became Professor of Pure Mathematics. The new mathematics building, opened in 1961, was named the Watson Building in his honour.

Membership of Societies: Active member of the London Mathematical Society from 1907, holding a number of offices (member of the Council, 1918-46; honorary secretary, 1919-33, honorary editor, 1937-46, President, 1933-35 and Vice-President, 1935-36). Member of Mathematical Association (President, 1932-33).

Awards: De Morgan Medal, London Mathematical Society, 1947; Gold Medal, Royal Danish Academy, 1912; Sylvester Medal, Royal Society, 1946; honorary doctorates from Dublin and Edinburgh; honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Publications: Titles of his three books:  Complex Integration and Cauchy's Theorem Cambridge Tracts in Mathematics and Mathematical Physics, No. 15, Cambridge University Press, 1914;  A Course of Modern Analysis (with E. T. Whittaker) Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed. 1915, 3rd ed. 1920, 4th ed. 1927 (reprinted 1935, 1940, 1946, 1950, 1952, 1958, 1962)  A treatise on the theory of Bessel functions, Cambridge University Press, 1st ed. 1922, 2nd ed. 1944 ( reprinted 1952, 1958, 1962, 1966).

Reference: R. A. Rankin 'George Neville Watson' Journal of the London Mathematical Society ( 41, 1966).

For further reading about the University of Birmingham see: Eric Ives, Diane Drummond, Leonard Schwarz The First Civic University: Birmingham 1880-1980 An Introductory History (The University of University of Birmingham Press. 2000).

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

The collection was deposited in about 1990 by the Mathematics Department at the University of Birmingham.

Other Finding Aids

The collection is uncatalogued.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department also holds the archives of the University of Birmingham and archives of other former staff, officials and students.