John (Jack) Todd

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Jack Todd

John (Jack) Todd (May 16, 1911 – June 21, 2007) was a Northern Irish mathematician most of whose career was spent in England and the USA; he was a pioneer in the field of numerical analysis.

He was born in Carnacally, County Down, Ireland, and grew up near Belfast. He attended Methodist College Belfast after winning a scholarship. In his final year at the College he only studied maths as a result of his desire to become an engineer.[1] He received his BSc degree from Queen's University in 1931, and went to St. John's College at Cambridge University, studying for 2 years with J. E. Littlewood, who advised him against getting a doctorate and just to do research.

He worked at King's College in London for the years 1937–1939 and 1945–1947, where he met Olga Taussky, a matrix and number theorist. They were married in 1938. Todd returned to Methodist College Belfast as a teacher in 1940.[1]

He worked for the British Admiralty during World War II. One of Todd's greatest achievements was the preservation of the Mathematical Research Institute of Oberwolfach in Germany at the end of the war.[2]

In 1945 the Todds emigrated to the United States and worked for the National Bureau of Standards. In 1957 they joined the faculty of California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.

Todd retired from the faculty, and in May, 2001 was honored by a symposium at Caltech in honor of his 90th birthday. He was called Jack Todd by all who knew him. He died at his home in Pasadena, California on June 21, 2007.


  1. ^ a b O'Connor, JJ; Robertson, EF. "John Todd". School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews. Retrieved 31 July 2016. 
  2. ^ "Professor John Todd". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 July 2016. 

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