David Edgar Cartwright (b.1926). After graduating in Natural Sciences
at Cambridge University and in Mathematics at London University, David
Cartwright worked from 1954 to 1973 as a researcher in Marine Physics at the
then UK National Institute of Oceanography. His subjects were initially sea
waves and the motion of ships, but later developed into tides, surges and
variations in sea level. During a year at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography
at La Jolla, California, he and Walter Munk revolutionised the whole concept of
tidal spectroscopy and prediction, which later extended to the analysis of storm
surges in sea level. Soon after its formation in 1973, he was appointed
Assistant Director of the UK Institute of Oceanographic Sciences, where his team
developed a pioneering programme of tide measurements in the Atlantic Ocean,
from pressure variations on the ocean floor to topography of the ocean surface
measured by satellites. On retirement from the IOS in 1987, he accepted a Senior
Research Associateship at the NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center in the USA, where
he pursued his interest in satellite altimetry and where, with Richard Ray, he
made the first near-complete mapping of the tides in the global ocean from the
US Navy's GEOSAT spacecraft. He was also a leading figure over several years in
the international scientific planning team for the highly successful TOPEX/POSEIDON
satellite, launched by the USA and France in 1992.
While working at the leading edge of modern oceanic tide research, David
Cartwright became increasingly aware of and interested in the long and neglected
history of the science. On his retirement from NASA, he was in a unique position
to write such a history: Tides a scientific history, (Cambridge, 1999).
[reproduced from the fly-leaf].
Doodson, Arthur Thomas (1890-1968) mathematician and oceanographer, was born
at Boothstown near Worsley in Lancashire 31 March 1890, the second son of Thomas
Doodson, the manager of a cotton mill in Boothstown, who later moved to Rochdale
and then to Shaw near Oldham, and his wife, Eleanor Pendlebury, of Radcliffe,
Lancashire. Doodson went to the village school and evening classes and studied
as a pupil teacher before attending Rochdale Secondary School and, in 1908, the
university of Liverpool. He gave up the idea of teaching when he became
seriously deaf and this may have led him to give up chemistry, though he was
also encouraged to specialize in mathematics by Professor F. S. Carey. He gained
a first class B.Sc. in chemistry and mathematics in 1911 and a first class
honours degree in mathematics in 1912, winning a prize for geometry.
His deafness made it difficult for him to get a job and he accepted a post as
meter-tester for Messrs. Ferranti but two years later obtained a more congenial
post at the Testing and Standardizing Department of the Corporation of
Manchester. In 1916 he was appointed to a post at University College, London,
under Karl Pearson to do statistics but this was soon changed to
ballistics for the War Office. In 1914 Doodson had been received into one of the
churches of the community known as ‘The Churches of God in the Fellowship of the
Son of God’, a breakaway sect from the Plymouth Brethren, and from then on his
life was dominated by religion, to the exclusion of much social intercourse. It
was therefore sad and paradoxical that he was obliged to work for some years on
duties to which he had a conscientious objection. Nevertheless he did some
impressive computations, producing tables of Riccati-Bessel functions and of
sines and cosines of radians. He was awarded the M.Sc. degree of Liverpool
University in 1914 and their D.Sc. in 1919.
By then he had acquired an aptitude and a liking for computational problems and
he started what was to be the most important collaboration of his life, with
Professor J. Proudman, who, having been introduced to the problem of ocean tides
by (Sir) Horace Lamb [q.v.], had succeeded in getting shipowners to endow a
Tidal Institute at Liverpool. Proudman was appointed its honorary director and,
recognizing that Doodson had all the qualities necessary to make the Institute a
success, arranged for him to be made its secretary. His work with this Tidal
Institute constitutes Doodson's greatest achievement.
From small beginnings Doodson built up the Tidal Institute until it was
recognized world-wide as an authoritative source of tidal theory, observation,
and analysis. He was associate director of the Institute from 1929 to 1945.
Doodson's own work was mainly on the computational aspects, his skill at which
complemented Proudman's expertise in tidal dynamics. His engineering ability
also allowed him to design and install complicated tide-predicting machines in
many countries. He was active too in studying meteorological effects on tides
and, after the Thames floods of 1928, made intensive studies of coastal
flooding, inventing the word ‘surge’ and many of the techniques which are still
(1978) used in forecasting dangerously high high-waters.
Doodson also had administrative charge of a growing Institute and was skilled at
the financial aspects. He was reported as saying that he was a mathematician by
training, an engineer by preference, and an accountant by force of
circumstances. He was certainly gifted, skilled, kind, and had a quiet sense of
humour. As soon as hearing-aids became available he made full use of them. His
probity and his accounting skills were put to good purpose by the International
Union of Geodesy and Geophysics when in 1954 Doodson was made president of the
finance committee. He also served as the first director of the permanent service
for mean-sea-level of the International Association of Physical Oceanography.
For many years Doodson was an honorary lecturer of the university of Liverpool.
In 1934 he was awarded the Thomas Gray memorial prize by the Royal Society of
Arts for the benefit of navigation of his prediction of tidal currents. In 1933
he was elected fellow of the Royal Society and in 1953 an honorary fellow of the
Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was appointed CBE in 1956.
In 1919 Doodson married, first, Margaret, daughter of J. W. Galloway, a tramways
engineer, of Halifax. They had a daughter, who died in 1936, and a son, whose
mother died shortly after his birth in 1931. In 1933 Doodson married Elsie May,
daughter of W. A. Carey, who survived him. Doodson died at Birkenhead 10 January
John Augustine Edgell, Vice
Admiral, KBE CB FRS (1880-1962), joined his first surveying ship, under
Purey-Cust, as a sub-Lieutenant in 1902. He came ashore for his second spell as
Assistant Hydrographer in 1932. In 1945 he was the Admiralty's representative on
the Port of London Authority, until 1961; and until 1951, Acting Conservator of
the River Mersey. As a member of the Royal Society's committees on geodesy and
geophysics he was a prime mover in the establishment of the National Institute
of Oceanography in 1951.
William Ian Farquharson,
Commander, OBE (fl.1921-1967 served as an acting RN Lieutenant in 1921, coming
ashore as Commander in 1938 as Sperintendent of the Tidal Branch, a post he
filled for 18 years. Whilst he officially retired in 1945 he continued working
in the branch and was awarded OBE in 1954. On finally leaving the Department in
1956 he joined the Canadian Hydrographic Service. In 1963 he transferred to the
newly opened Bedford Institute of Oceanography at Halifax, Nova Scotia. He
retired from this work in 1966, and then took part in a National Institute of
Oceanography expedition to the Indian Ocean early in 1967. Calculated the tidal
drift that would carry the body of 'the man who never was' onto the coast of
Ernst G. Fischer (fl.1910-4) engineered
the United States Tide Predicting Machine no.2.
Horace Lamb (1849-1934),
mathematician, was born at Stockport, near Manchester, 27 November 1849, the
second son of John Lamb (a cotton-mill foreman, of Stockport, and an inventor of
an improvement of the spinning machine), who died while Horace was a child. His
mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Rangeley, married again, and Horace was
brought up by her sister Mrs. Holland, kind but severely puritan; she sent him
to Stockport Grammar School, where he gained a lasting love for the Greek and
Latin poets from his excellent headmaster, the Rev. Charles Hamilton, whose
sister-in-law, Elizabeth, daughter of Simon Foot, merchant, of Blackrock, co.
Dublin, he married in 1875.
After leaving school Lamb's main studies were in mathematics, first, for a year,
under Thomas Barker at the Owens College, Manchester, and then at Cambridge,
where he attended the lectures of J. Clerk Maxwell and (Sir) G. G. Stokes, and
in 1872 was second wrangler and second Smith's prizeman. His college was
Trinity, of which he was successively scholar (1869-1872), fellow and lecturer
(1872-1875), and honorary fellow (1920-1934).
After three years' teaching at Cambridge, Lamb went out with his wife to
Adelaide, Australia, as professor of mathematics at the newly founded university
there. In 1885 he returned to the Owens College (which had become a constituent
member of the Victoria University of Manchester) to succeed his old teacher
Barker. There and at the university he served as professor of pure, and later
also of applied, mathematics until 1920, remaining five years beyond the normal
retiring age, because of the war of 1914-1918.
Lamb was a born teacher, and the excellence and inspiration of his lectures to
successive generations of Manchester students of mathematics, engineering, and
physics were an important factor in the career of many of his able pupils, of
whom the most distinguished was Sir Arthur Eddington. When on his eightieth
birthday his former students paid him a tribute, his reply included the words:
‘I did try “to make things clear”, first to myself (an important point) and then
to my students, and somehow to make these dry bones live.’ He was very lucid
both in his lectures and in his many books, of which the most notable was his
treatise Hydrodynamics (1895), first published in 1879 as A Treatise on the
Motion of Fluids and successively enlarged in several editions and translations.
In lecturing and writing his choice of topics and mode of treatment were very
judicious, equally in pure and in applied mathematics.
Lamb's special subjects were hydrodynamics, sound, elasticity, and mechanics, on
all of which he wrote books, as well as many original memoirs. He wrote also an
excellent elementary textbook Infinitesimal Calculus (1897), which combines
great clarity with mathematical rigour. In his Hydrodynamics he selected the
main researches and results from a great mass of publications, and brilliantly
presented them in a unified elegant treatment, himself filling in many gaps and
making many valuable improvements and extensions by his own researches, as, for
example, in the theory of tides and waves (and still in print).
Among the special problems to the solution of which Lamb made important
contributions the following may be mentioned: the motion of perforated solids in
a perfect liquid; the fortnightly tide; waves on deep water due to a local
disturbance of its surface; tidal phase differences; the motion of a sphere or
cylinder in a viscous liquid; the oscillations of a viscous spheroid; vibrations
of elastic spheres and spherical shells; electromagnetic induction in spheres
and spherical shells; the vibration of thin curved plates and shells; the
deflection of gravity by tidal loading of the earth's surface; waves in air,
allowing for the upward decrease of density; the propagation of earthquake
tremors along the surface of an elastic solid; and the diffraction of light at
the straight edge of a semi-infinite plane.
In the words of his contemporary A. E. H. Love: ‘His writings call up before one
the picture of an extremely acute and wonderfully alert mind, endowed with a
profound knowledge of the facts of physics, especially on its dynamical side,
keenly interested in the work of others, particularly when it had a bearing on
any matter of mechanics or wave-transmission, equipped with an exceptionally
varied and powerful mathematical technique, and ever on the look-out for topics
on which his analysis could be employed for the promotion of natural knowledge.’
In 1884 Lamb was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, which later awarded him
a Royal medal (1902) and its highest honour, the Copley medal (1923). Among his
many other honours were a knighthood (1931) and the presidency of the British
Association (1925) and of the London Mathematical Society (1902-1904), which
latter awarded him its De Morgan medal in 1911, and of the Manchester Literary
and Philosophical Society. He received honorary doctorates from the universities
of Glasgow, Oxford, Cambridge, Dublin, St. Andrews, Manchester, and Sheffield.
On his retirement from Manchester Lamb returned to Cambridge, where the
university made him an honorary (Rayleigh) lecturer; he lectured there for
fourteen years. He retained his high mathematical powers, which in most
mathematicians wane with age, and continued to produce elegant and important
memoirs. During the war of 1914-1918 he had given valuable help to the Admiralty
and to aeronautical research, and he continued to serve the latter for a time
(1921-1927) as a member of the Aeronautical Research Committee. On many other
councils and committees also, as previously at Manchester during his long
membership of the university senate, his wide knowledge and the wisdom of his
outlook were highly esteemed. He died at Cambridge 4 December 1934.
Lamb was a man of great personal dignity, somewhat awe-inspiring to youth, but
on closer acquaintance kindly, humane, humorous, highly cultured, conservative
in temper, with wide interests and many contacts. His wife, who had borne him
three sons and four daughters, died in 1930. One of his sons, Henry, a
distinguished artist, painted a notable portrait of him, which was presented in
1913 to the university of Manchester.
Sources: The Times, 5 December 1934; Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal
Society, No. 4, December 1935 (portrait); personal knowledge. Contributor: S.
In 1915, with Lorna Swain, he produced the first creditable
account of the marked phase differences of the tides evident in varying parts of
the Earth's oceans, and thus resolved an issue which had been a matter of
controversy since Isaac Newton's time.
Frederick Charles Learmonth
(1866-1941), Admiral Sir, entered the Navy as a cadet in 1879, and began
surveying under Field in 1890. In 1919 he succeeded Parry as Hydrographer.
Proudman, Joseph (1888-1975) mathematician and oceanographer, was born 30
December 1888 at Unsworth near Bury in Lancashire, the eldest child
of John Proudman, farm bailiff and later tenant farmer at Bold, near Widnes,
Lancashire, and his wife, Nancy Blease. He attended primary schools at Unsworth
and Bold. From 1902 to 1907 he was a pupil-teacher at Farnworth Primary School.
During the winters of 1902-4 he attended evening classes at the Widnes Technical
School; from 1903 to 1907 he only taught for half of each week, and during the
other half he attended classes at the Widnes Secondary School. In 1907 he was
awarded the Tate technical science entrance scholarship at Liverpool University,
where in 1910 he received a B.Sc. (first class) with honours in mathematics. He
was also awarded the Derby scholarship for mathematics and an entrance
exhibition to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he became a senior scholar in
1911. In 1912 he received a first class in schedule A and a distinction in
schedule B of part ii of the mathematical tripos. Following a suggestion by
Professor (Sir) Horace Lamb [q.v.] of Manchester, he started research on a
problem in the theory of ocean tides which set the course for his entire
In 1913 he became a lecturer in mathematics at Liverpool University. During the
first year he had no time for research except during vacations, but he did find
time to direct the postgraduate work of A. T. Doodson [q.v.] for the M.Sc.
degree and thus began a collaboration which continued until Doodson's death. His
salary was £150 a year for six years but in 1915 he became a fellow of Trinity
College, Cambridge, and thus received an additional £350 for six years without
any prescribed duties. He always said that this was of the greatest help to him.
When World War I broke out Proudman was placed in a low medical category and did
not serve in the armed forces. He spent the war years in Liverpool, except for
the second half of 1918 when he worked in the research department of Woolwich
Arsenal. In 1919 he was instrumental in obtaining funds from two shipowners for
the foundation of a Tidal Institute which was later amalgamated with the
Liverpool Observatory, and he was its director until 1945. Also in 1919 he was
appointed professor of applied mathematics in the University of Liverpool, a
post which was created for him. In 1933 he was transferred at his own request to
the chair of oceanography from which he retired in 1954, when he was made
Proudman's scientific work was concerned mainly with tidal theory, almost every
aspect of which was treated by him during his scientific career, including
large-scale oceanic tides, a great variety of problems relating to smaller seas,
and the tidal elastic yielding of the Earth's crust. In collaboration with
Doodson he made significant improvements in tidal predictions for British ports
and in charts for tidal streams and elevations in British waters. When he became
professor of oceanography he widened his range of marine studies, studied
surface temperatures and salinities in the Irish sea, and deduced from them the
main patterns of circulation. His membership of the Waverley committee, set up
to report on the disastrous floods of 1953, led to his important work on storm
surge equations. He worked on the interaction of storm surges and tides in an
estuary. He was the author of an influential textbook on Dynamical Oceanography
(1953) which for many years had few rivals. Undoubtedly though, tides were his
prime interest throughout his long career. He solved practically all the
remaining tidal problems which are soluble within the framework of classical
hydrodynamics and analytical mathematics. His significant scientific
contributions were not, however, confined to oceanography.
In 1923 he was awarded the Adams prize in mathematics by the University of
Cambridge. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1925. He was
appointed CBE in 1952 and was made an honorary LL D of Liverpool University in
1956. He became chairman of the British National Committee for Geodesy and
Geophysics in 1943, and in this capacity took a leading part in the
negotiations leading to the foundation of the National Institute of
Oceanography. His work also received recognition from the international
scientific community. In 1951-6 he was president of the International
Association of Physical Oceanography, after serving as its vice-president from
1948 to 1951 and its general secretary for the preceding fifteen years. In 1944
he was the George Darwin lecturer of the Royal Astronomical Society, in 1946 he
received the Alexander Agassiz medal for oceanography of the National Academy of
Sciences of the United States, and he was also elected a foreign member of the
Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. He received the Hughes medal of the
Royal Society in 1957.
Proudman married in 1916 at Manchester Rubina (died 1958), daughter of Thomas
Ormrod, insurance company manager. In 1961 he married at Poole Mrs Beryl Gladys
Waugh Gould who survived him. Her maiden name was Barker. He had two sons and
one daughter from his first marriage. One of his sons, Ian, became professor of
applied mathematics at Essex University. Proudman died 26 June 1975 at a nursing
home in Fordingbridge, Hampshire.
Rauschelbach (1888-1978). Between 1914 and 1915 in Potsdam, he successfully made
a copy of Edward Roberts's tide predicter of 1879. Then by 1938 he completed
construction of one to his own design, the world's largest such machine.
However, this also leaned upon the expertise of earlier machines, his own, that
new design finished by Roberts in about 1904, and the machine Fischer and Harris
eventually completed in 1915.
Sadler, Donald Harry (1908–1987),
mathematician and astronomer, was born on 22 August 1908 at 10 St Mary's Place,
Dewsbury, Yorkshire, the second son of James Wright Sadler, a master tailor, and
his wife, Gertrude Jane Needham, formerly a schoolteacher. He attended the
Wheelwright Grammar School in Dewsbury and won an open entrance exhibition to
Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained first-class honours in mathematics
in 1929. He spent a further year in Cambridge before joining the nautical
almanac office, then based in the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, in October
Sadler became the seventh superintendent of the Nautical Almanac in July 1937,
having served for a year in an acting capacity. During the Second World War the
nautical almanac office was based in Bath, and additional staff were appointed
to provide the computing centre of the Admiralty computing service; in addition
to the navigational almanacs, Sadler planned in detail and supervised the
production of many special tables and diagrams for use by the services. Of
particular importance was the computation of co-ordinates for use in plotting
hyperbolic lattices on charts for the newly developed top-secret DECCA
navigation system, which was first used on D-day. Sadler's considerable wartime
services were recognized by appointment as an OBE in 1948; he also received the
Thurlow award of the American Institute of Navigation in the same year.
After the war Sadler's main efforts were first of all directed to the
rationalization of the publication arrangements for the astronomical and
navigational almanacs and tables that were produced by the nautical almanac
office in co-operation with similar offices in other countries. He established a
very good working relationship with Dr G. M. Clemence, the director of the
nautical almanac office of the US Naval Observatory, and they eventually
obtained agreement to the unification of the principal almanacs of the two
countries. At the same time they introduced many improvements in their design.
After the move of the nautical almanac office from Bath to Herstmonceaux,
Sussex, in 1949 to join the Royal Greenwich Observatory, Sadler, who was one of
the chief assistants to the astronomer royal, became strongly involved in the
administration of the observatory.
Sadler made contributions to several astronomical and navigational
organizations. He was a secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society from 1939 to
1947; he was president in 1967–9. He participated in the formation and
activities of the Royal Institute of Navigation, served as its president in
1953–5, and was awarded its gold medal in 1957. He later contributed to the
formation of the International Association of the Institutes of Navigation.
Sadler was strongly involved in the activities of the International Astronomical
Union, firstly in scientific matters in Commission 4 (ephemerides), of which he
was president from 1952 to 1958, and later in its administration; he was general
secretary from 1958 to 1964 and introduced many improvements to its procedures.
He represented the union on the council of the Federation of Astronomical and
Geophysical Services and served as its president (1968–70). He received an
honorary doctorate from the University of Heidelberg (1970) and several other
foreign awards. In 1970 he gave up his day-to-day responsibility for the
nautical almanac office in order to concentrate on the organization of the
general assembly of the International Astronomical Union in Brighton in August.
He was elected an honorary member of the American Institute of Navigation in
On 22 December 1954 Sadler had married Flora Munro McBain (1912–2000), who was a
member of the staff of the nautical almanac office from 1937 to 1974; she served
as a secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society from 1949 to 1954. He was a
keen competitor and played a variety of outdoor and indoor games at a good
standard. He retired from the Royal Greenwich Observatory in February 1972, but
kept up his interests in time systems and in navigation and produced a series of
papers for the Journal of Navigation. He wrote from memory a ‘Personal history
of HM nautical almanac office, 1931–1972’ to supplement the formal record.
Sadler suffered from angina, and he died at his home, 8 Collington Rise,
Bexhill, Sussex, on 24 October 1987 and was cremated at Eastbourne crematorium
on 2 November; he was survived by his wife.
George A. Wilkins
Henry Boyle Townshend
Somerville (1863-1936) Rear Admiral CMG. Author: Ocean Passages of
the World. Chairman of Admiralty committee of 1923 to implement a programme
to convert the entire tidal predictions of the world to the harmonic method.
Harold Dreyer Warburg (1878-1947).
Harold, the son of Edward Martin Warburg, a General Merchant, and
Caroline Marie Louise Warburg formerly Drëyer, was born 1st October
1878 in Kentish Town, the second of four siblings.
His Danish parents were living in Hampstead, when he entered the Navy as a
midshipman in 1894. He became a sub-lieutenant in 1898, when he studied at the
Royal Naval College. On the Research, he began surveying Scottish waters
during the latter part of 1899, and became a lieutenant in 1900. He then served
in the Waterwitch, on the China coast until 1906. On his return, the
deterioration of his eyesight restricted his active duty to survey ships. After
one short spell ashore in the Hydrographic Department, he was again in the
Research, mainly in Scottish waters until 1910, becoming
lieutenant-commander in 1908.
He became committed to the department in 1911 as a naval assistant, and in
1912-13 he was Surveying Officer for Special Business. In that latter
appointment, he took up a special study of tides and new methods of prediction,
much of it in his spare time. By October 1913, on Hydrographer Purey-Cust’s
representation, he was made the officer ‘in charge of Tidal Work’. A commander
in 1915, he was appointed Superintendent of Tidal Work in 1917.
On reaching sixty, Warburg retired from service in the department, but with
war breaking out again, was re-employed in August 1939, and did not finally
revert to the Retired List until November 1945. However, this did not stop him
working at home, revising Tidal Streams of the waters surrounding the British
Islands for the department. The planned end of that contract co-incided with
his death from heart attack on 7th May 1947. While he died in a
Bournemouth hospital, he resided in Hendon. He had a son, Martin, and the woman
he married in 1907 became his widow.
In early 1914, Warburg began revising the Tide Tables. Although he was doing
some of the work at home in his spare time, most of the predictions were
calculated in the department. After war broke out, he gained the help of one
clerk, and the part-time help of the Instruments Officer; this was presumably
Edward Roberts F.R.A.S., I.SO., J.P. By November 1917, Warburg’s staffing rose
to a naval assistant and the addition of a second clerk.
With Roberts, Warburg compiled additional and special tidal information for
the Fleet in Fleet Notices. Then in December 1914 he assembled this into The
North Sea Handbook. When Warburg published Tides and Tidal Streams in
1922 he described himself as retired. This attribution seems so unaccountable,
as he was part of an Admiralty committee intent on reforming the century old
prediction method, and implementing one invented by Lord Kelvin. This brought
Warburg into contact with Arthur T. Doodson, D.Sc., F.R.S., of the Liverpool
Tidal Institute; when they began what turned out to be a fruitful collaboration.
At first they won the Thomas Gray Memorial Prize for a new method of
approximately predicting tides and tidal streams. The committee then extended
tidal work’s status up to that of a full branch in 1933. Together, these then
lead on to the Admiralty Manual of Tides. This came out out during
the middle of the next war. Reprinted in 1980, and a further quarter
century later, this manual remains a highly valuable text.
The solo manual of 1922 with the Cambridge University Press was at a
preliminary level. Then the first joint effort with Doodson in 1934 lead to a
higher level. They undertook further joint work in 1936 with a third volume of
Admiralty Tide Tables. Then the final joint work advanced in 1941. This
appears to have gained Warburg an M.Sc.
Any further biographical information is most
welcome. tides alpha-tango btinternet.com