|Died||2 May 2004(aged 84)|
|Alma mater||Sedbergh School|
Emmanuel College, Cambridge
|Institutions||University of Oxford|
Trinity College, Oxford
|Doctoral students||Jillian Beardwood|
Early life and education
Hammersley was born in Helensburgh in Dunbartonshire, and educated at Sedbergh School. He started reading mathematics at Emmanuel College, Cambridge but was called up to join the Royal Artillery in 1941. During his time in the army he worked on ballistics. He graduated in mathematics in 1948. He never studied for a PhD but was awarded an ScD by Cambridge University and a DSc by Oxford University in 1959.
With Jillian Beardwood and J.H. Halton, Hammersley is known for the Beardwood-Halton-Hammersley Theorem. Published by the Cambridge Philosophical Society in a 1959 article entitled “The Shortest Path Through Many Points,” the theorem provides a practical solution to the “traveling salesman problem.”
He held a number of positions, both in and outside academia. His book Monte Carlo Methods with David Handscomb was published in 1964. He is known for devising an early solution to the moving sofa problem in 1968.
He was a fellow (later professorial fellow) of Trinity College, Oxford, from 1961, reader in mathematical statistics at Oxford University from 1969, and elected Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1976.
- David R. Wood. "The Academic Family Tree of John M. Hammersley" (PDF).
- Grimmett, G.; Welsh, D. (2007). "John Michael Hammersley. 21 March 1920 -- 2 May 2004: Elected FRS 1976". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 53: 163. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2007.0001. S2CID 58778588.
- Geoffrey Grimmett, Dominic Welsh (2006). "John Michael Hammersley (1920–2004)". arXiv:math.PR/0610862.
- Beardwood, Jillian; Halton, J. H.; Hammersley, J. M. (October 1959). "The shortest path through many points". Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. 55 (4): 299–327. Bibcode:1959PCPS...55..299B. doi:10.1017/S0305004100034095. ISSN 0305-0041.