Series G - Correspondence

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DAVT/G

Title

Correspondence

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  • 1926-1969 (Creation)

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The correspondence includes several substantial exchanges of letters, however, many of them are incoming only, sometimes with a brief ms. note by Davenport of his reply on which ensuing correspondence may be based. Mrs. Davenport's notes identifying correspondents and their connections with Davenport often accompany the letters and were drawn upon in compiling the entries.

The content is essentially mathematical though some personal news from Davenport's long-term friends, colleagues and pupils may be included. Davenport's long association with German mathematicians, many of whom became refugees in British universities including Cambridge, is well documented; these are wholly or partly in German. Of special interest are the extensive exchanges with E. Bombieri, G. H. Hardy, H. A. Heilbronn, K. Mahler and L. J. Mordell.

Mordell, a distinguished mathematician of American origin, with a special interest in number theory, was Fielden Professor of Mathematics at Manchester when Davenport took his first degree there. The Manchester School of Mathematics was particularly strong in the 1930s, and included several refugee mathematicians; Davenport also joined it as Assistant Lecturer in 1937. Mordell succeeded Hardy in the Sadleirian Chair at Cambridge 1945-1953 and remained in contact with Cambridge mathematics until his death in 1972. Davenport was among his closest friends. Mordell recognized his quality from a very early stage (see G.208), helped him to share his own special interest in the geometry of numbers, and, according to J. W. S. Cassels, looked on Davenport as ‘his spiritual heir’ (Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, 19, 1973, pp. 493-520).

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