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Sheila Scott Macintyre (née Sheila Scott, April 23, 1910 - March 21, 1960) was a Scottish mathematician best known for her work on the Whittaker constant. Macintyre is also known for co-authoring a multilingual mathematics dictionary.


Sheila Scott was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on April 23, 1910, the daughter of James Alexander Scott and Helen Myers Meldrum. She attended Trinity Academy, Edinburgh, during which time her father was appointed rector. Between 1926 and 1928 she attended Edinburgh Ladies' College (now The Mary Erskine School) where she graduated as Dux in Mathematics and joint Dux of the College. She studied at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 1932 with an MA in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. Afterwards, she continued her undergraduate studies at Girton College, Cambridge, undertaking the Mathematical Tripos. In her final year at Cambridge she undertook a research project under the supervision of Mary Cartwright. This resulted in her first published work On the Asymptotic Periods of Integral Functions[1].

Scott taught mathematics at a number of schools between 1934 and 1940. During this period Edmund Whittaker introduced Scott to fellow mathematician Archibald James Macintyre. The two married in 1940, and shortly thereafter, she was appointed as an assistant lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, where her husband was a lecturer. During this time, she began working on her doctoral thesis. While pregnant with her second child, she stopped teaching but continued work towards her thesis. She received her PhD from Aberdeen in 1947 with the thesis title Some Problems in Interpolatory Function Theory and under the supervision of Edward Maitland Wright.

Between 1947 and 1958 she published another ten papers during a period where the couple had three children: Alister William Macintyre (born 1944), Douglas (born 1946 - died 1948 of enteritis) and Susan Elizabeth Macintyre Cantey (born 1950). Of her research during this time, Wright wrote "... good as her research was there would have been more of it had she not had a family to look after."[2]

Cossar gives a summary of her research contributions in [2]:- "Mrs Macintyre's chief mathematical interest was the theory of functions of a complex variable, and from 1947 onwards she made regular contributions to the subject. Some of her earlier work of this period was concerned with integral functions of exponential type, and in particular included a determination of bounds for the value of the "Whittaker constant". Much of her work was on interpolation series associated with analytic functions. In a joint paper with her husband, convergence properties of the Abel series of a function, which had been discussed by several writers in the case of an integral function, were investigated for a class of functions regular in an angle. The Laplace transformation was applied here, as it had been by various previous writers on the theory of functions, notably by A J Macintyre. Mrs Macintyre later devised an integral transform in which the kernel was obtained from that of the Laplace transform by a process involving fractional differentiation, and applied it to extend the theory of the Gregory-Newton and Abel interpolation series. A long-standing conjecture on the convergence properties of the former was settled in one of her papers. In another, using results of the joint paper already mentioned, she solved a problem posed by Ramanujan in 1914."

In 1958, the Macintyres emigrated to the Cincinnati, USA, and both taught at the University of Cincinnati. Also in 1958, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Sheila Macintyre died in 1960 after a long battle with breast cancer.


  1. ^ Scott, Sheila (1935). "On the Asympotic Periods of Integral Functions". Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. 31 (4): 543–554. 
  2. ^ O'Connor, JJ. "Sheila Scott Macintyre". Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  • F. D. Fasanelli, Sheila Scott Macintyre in Louise S. Grinstein (Editor), Paul J. Campbell (Editor) (1987). Women of Mathematics: A Bio-Bibliographic Sourcebook. Greenwood Press, New York. ISBN 978-0-313-24849-8.  pp. 140-143

External links[edit]

This article incorporates material from Sheila Scott Macintyre on PlanetMath, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

Category:1910 births Category:1960 deaths Category:20th-century mathematicians Category:Alumni of Girton College, Cambridge Category:Scottish mathematicians Category:Scottish emigrants to the United States Category:University of Cincinnati faculty Category:Women mathematicians Category:Alumni of the University of Edinburgh Category:Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh