Paddy Kennedy 1929-1966

The Times


This article part of the series: Paddy Kennedy - 1, 2


Professor Patrick Brendan Kennedy, professor and head of the Department of Mathematics at the University of York, died suddenly at Nottingham during the night of June 8-9. He was 36.

He was born in Clarecastle, Co.Clare on July 20, 1929, and moved to Cork in 1937. He was educated there at North Monastery and later at University College, where he spent the years 1947 to 1951, finishing up with a Master's degree. He then went to the University College of the South West (now the University of Exeter) to study with W.K.Hayman and was awarded his Ph.D. in 1954 by the National University of Ireland for his thesis on Asymptotic Values on Integral Functions. He moved to Aberystwyth for the session 1953-54. When Henry St. John Atkins, Professor of Mathematics at University College, Cork, became president of the college Kennedy returned there as a lecturer, narrowly escaping being called up into the British Army. He was appointed Professor of Mathematics in 1956. He was awarded the D.Sc. by the National University of Ireland in 1960 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Irish Academy in 1962. He came to York in 1963.

Kennedy was distinguished for his work on the theory of functions of complex variables and Fourier series. At his death he was engaged on a book on sub-harmonic functions. His appointment to his first chair at the early age of 27 reflects the importance of his work in both fields. He did much to build up the departments at Cork and York to a high level of distinction. In spite of this he was never satisfied with his work and was at the time of his death rather worried about his examining both at York, where the first degree examinations are now taking place, and the National University of Ireland, where he was acting as external examiner. His students and staff particularly remember his infectious and gentle Irish humour. He was an excellent chess player and won the Irish championship in 1949 at his first attempt, winning every game.

By his tragic, early death Britain has lost one of its most able function theorists and many of us have lost a warm-hearted and sympathetic friend.


Created 1966-06-15 ◦ Last updated 2015-04-30 ◦ Editor MO


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