Sir Leonard Bairstow, CBE, FRS, FRAeS (1880 – 1963) was a son of Uriah Bairstow, a wealthy Halifax, West Yorkshire man and keen mathematician. Born in 1880 in Halifax, Bairstow is best remembered for his work in aviation and for Bairstow's method for arbitrarily finding the roots of polynomials.
As a boy, Leonard went to Queens Road and Moorside Council Schools before going to Heath Grammar School which he attended briefly before going to the Council Secondary School - then known as the Higher Grade School. A scholarship took him to the Royal College of Science where he secured a Whitworth Scholarship which enabled him to carry out research into explosion of gases.
He then went to the National Physical Laboratory at Bushy Park where ultimately he became head of aeroplane research work. He held the Zaharoff Chair of Aviation at Imperial College from 1920-1949 and became Professor Sir Leonard Bairstow. For a time his assistant there was Beatrice Mabel Cave-Browne-Cave, a pioneer in the mathematics of aeronautics.
- Fage, A.; Nayler, J. L.; Relf, E. F.; Temple, G. (1965). "Leonard Bairstow. 1880-1963". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 11: 22. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1965.0002.
- "Leonard Bairstow in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Retrieved 2011-07-20.
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