Horace Lamb, 1849-1934


Biographical note

Applied mathematician and author of several influential texts on classical physics. In 1875 Lamb was appointed the first (Sir Thomas) Elder Professor of Mathematics at the newly founded University of Adelaide. For the next 10 years the average number of students doing the arts course at Adelaide was fewer than 12; though Lamb also did some popular lecturing, his workload was relatively light. In 1878 appeared his able and original A Treatise on the Mathematical Theory of the Motions of Fluids.

In 1883 Lamb published a paper in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society applying Maxwell's equations to the problem of oscillatory current flow in spherical conductors, an early examination of what was later to be known as the skin effect.

Lamb was appointed to the Chair of Mathematics at the Victoria University of Manchester in 1885 and which became the Beyer Chair in 1888, a position Lamb held until retirement in 1920. His Hydrodynamics appeared in 1895 (6th ed. 1933), and other works included An Elementary Course of Infinitesimal Calculus (1897, 3rd ed. 1919), Propagation of Tremors over the Surface of an Elastic Solid (1904), The Dynamical Theory of Sound (1910, 2nd ed. 1925), Statics (1912, 3rd ed. 1928), Dynamics (1914), Higher Mechanics (1920) and The Evolution of Mathematical Physics (1924).

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