H. F. Baker

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Professor Henry Baker
Henry Frederick Baker.jpg
Henry Frederick Baker (1866-1956)
Henry Frederick Baker

(1866-07-03)3 July 1866
Died17 March 1956(1956-03-17) (aged 89)
Alma materSt John's College, Cambridge
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge
Doctoral advisorArthur Cayley[1]
Doctoral students

Henry Frederick Baker FRS[2] FRSE (3 July 1866 – 17 March 1956) was a British mathematician, working mainly in algebraic geometry, but also remembered for contributions to partial differential equations (related to what would become known as solitons), and Lie groups.[3]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Cambridge the son of Henry Baker, a butler, and Sarah Ann Britham.[4]


He was educated at The Perse School before winning a scholarship to St John's College, Cambridge in October 1884. Baker graduated as Senior Wrangler in 1887, bracketed with 3 others.[5]


Baker was elected Fellow of St John's in 1888 where he remained for 68 years.

In June, 1898 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.[2][6] In 1911, he gave the presidential address to the London Mathematical Society.

Baker was one of the mathematicians (along with E. W. Hobson) to whom Srinivasa Ramanujan wrote before G. H. Hardy but his papers were returned without comment.

In January 1914 he was appointed Lowndean Professor of Astronomy.

Gordon Welchman recalled that in the 1930s before the war Dennis Babbage and he were members of a group of geometers known as Professor Baker's "Tea Party", who met once a week to discuss the areas of research in which we were all interested.[7]

He married twice. Firstly in 1893 to Lilly Isabella Hamfield Klopp, who died in 1903, then he remarried in 1913, to Muriel Irene Woodyard.

He died in Cambridge and is buried at the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground, with his second wife Muriel (1885 - 1956).

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b H. F. Baker at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ a b Hodge, W. V. D. (1956). "Henry Frederick Baker 1866-1956". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 2: 49–68. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1956.0004. JSTOR 769475.
  3. ^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "H. F. Baker", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews
  4. ^ C D Waterston; A Macmillan Shearer (July 2006). "Former Fellows of The Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1783–2002: Part 1 (A–J)" (PDF). Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 090219884X. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Baker, Henry Frederick (BKR883HF)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  6. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 7 December 2010.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ The Hut Six Story: Breaking the Enigma Codes by Gordon Welchman (1982, Allen Lane, London) pp 35, 85, 126 ISBN 0 7139 1294 4
  8. ^ a b c d e f Hollcroft, T. R. (1935). "Review of Principles of geometry, volumes 1–6, by H. F. Baker" (PDF). Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 41 (11): 768–772. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1935-06177-4.
  9. ^ Woods, F. S. (1925). "Review of Principles of geometry, Vol. 2: Plane geometry. Conics, circles, non-Euclidean geometry by H. F. Baker" (PDF). Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 31 (7): 370–371. doi:10.1090/S0002-9904-1925-04065-3.
  10. ^ Brown, B. H. (1926). "Review of Principles of geometry, Vol. 3: Solid geometry. Quadrics, cubic curves in space, cubic surfaces by H. F. Baker" (PDF). Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 32 (2): 173–174. doi:10.1090/S0002-9904-1926-04189-6.