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The Rank and Crank of Partitions: In Memory of Richard P. Lewis F. G. Garvan
London Mathematical Society Newsletter November 2007 DEATHS Atle Selberg David Emery Richard Lewis Colin Tripp
Richard P. Lewis, who was elected a member of the London Mathematical Society on 20 May 1977, died on 26 July 2007, aged 65. Following his first class degree at Queen's College, Oxford, in 1963, he studied algebraic topology under the supervision of Sir Michael Atiyah and joined the staff of the University of Sussex in October 1966.
Queen’s College Oxford
James Hirschfeld writes: He was a talented mathematician and a willing colleague. He enjoyed all aspects of mathematics and communicated this to the students in the many different courses that he taught. He was a popular supervisor for student essays on mathematical games, and played the game Go to a respectable standard.
During the 1980 s, he switched his research interests to number theory, and completed a Sussex DPhil in 1991. His published output was distinguished by its elegance, even amongst the generality of papers in that field, where such a quality is often noted.
His last paper 'The generating functions of the rank and crank modulo 8' will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Ramanujan Journal. He retired from Sussex University in 2003, but was tutoring the Open University MSc right up to the end, as well as continuing with his own research.
Richard Lewis brief biography By Lisette Petrie • Born 16 June 1942 on his grandmother’s farm in Surrey, died 26 July 2007 St Wilfrid’s hospice, Eastbourne, buried in the churchyard at Arlington where he lived for the last 30 years. • Father in RAF, so he spent much of his early childhood on various RAF stations in England. • After the war posting to Hiroshima and later in 1950 s to north Cyprus.
• Richard went to school at Bryanston, then to The Queen’s College, Oxford, where he got a double first in maths in 1963. He stayed in Oxford for 3 years working towards a DPhil, but left without completing it when he was offered a lectureship at the new “plate-glass” University of Sussex. • Apart from a short spell teaching at University of Ife, Nigeria in 1968, Richard stayed lecturing at Sussex until he took early retirement in 2003.
• In 1995 he received a letter from a young man in China who, despite having no university education and being entirely self taught, sent a number of new mathematical results. Richard ws very impressed and struck up a correspondence with Liu Zhi-Guo, managed to get him a Royal Society Fellowship to study at Sussex for a year. He now holds a post at Shanghai University, which sadly Richard was not well enough to visit last year. • After retiring, Richard started to tutor the Number Theory courses in the Open University’s Masters programme and continued to do his own research – his final paper is soon to be published in the Ramanujan Journal and various mathematicians around the world including Liu have offered to try and prove his final conjecture.
• He married Rosie Brindley in 1968 They had a daughter, Emily, in 1969. Emily now has a daughter of her own, Miya was 9 in July and is Richard’s only grandchild. • I met Richard in the maths department at Sussex in the mid 1970 s. He bought The Corner House (Joe Levett’s house as everyone thought of it then) in 1976. It needed lots of renovation and we finally moved here in 1977, at first sleeping in tents in the garden. We have three more daughters born in the 1980 s, Martha, Rachel and Susie, who all grew up here.
• At Oxford and later at Sussex Richard was known for a fairly spectacular way of life involving fast cars, flowery shirts, beautiful women and amazing parties. A few Arlington residents may remember the last amazing party in 1978… • He was a keen player of chess and the Japanese board game Go, at which he reached 1 kyu level. He enjoyed music, particularly Bob Dylan, Mozart and Bach, and in the last few years became an enthusiastic supporter of the Brighton Early Music Festival. He loved reading, particularly Dickens, Jane Austen and George Eliot. After retiring he studied Open University and evening class courses in History of Maths, Ancient Greek, Latin and Archaeology.
• He enjoyed travelling. Although with small children we spent most of our holidays in Devon or France we did manage a spectacular round the world trip in 1986. In the last few years we visited India and made several visits to Egypt as well as closer destinations. Last year he decided to stop flying for environmental reasons, so we started exploring by train instead, starting off with Scotland, York and Avignon. He was looking forward to extending our ground-based travels to Italy and Spain.