Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Clive Selwyn Davis, 15 April 1916 – 29 October 2009

I am rather out of touch with Australian mathematics and so I have just found out by chance that my MSc supervisor Clive Davis died in October last year. There is an obituary in the Australian Mathematical Society Gazette.
I learnt number theory from him, and remember well "the clarity, vigour and high standard of his lectures. His handwriting on the board was immaculate, and his brief
dictated final summary of each lecture was much appreciated." (quote from the obituary)
I wrote a Master's thesis on continued fractions in 1966 with him, and eventually even wrote a small book on number theory.
At that time, if I remember correctly, the first PhD in mathematics at the University of Queensland had yet to be awarded, so I went to Bernard Neumann's department at the ANU in Canberra, and changed direction, with Hanna Neumann as my supervisor. I had considered continuing number theory with Kurl Mahler, but my impression was that he was not very keen on having students.

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