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British Industrial History

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John Ronald Womersley

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John Ronald Womersley (1907–1958), mathematician

1907 born on 20 June in Morely, Yorkshire, son of George William Womersley, grocer, and his wife, Ruth (formerly Gledhill).

Educated at Morely grammar school and Imperial College, London

1930 Joined the British Cotton Industry Research Association at the Shirley Institute in Manchester to work on the application of mathematical methods to a range of textile problems.

1936 Collaborated with D. R. Hartree to devise a method for solving partial differential equations suitable for application to the differential analyser which Hartree had built at Manchester University. This was Womersley's first introduction to large-scale computing machines.

1937 Womersley joined the armaments research department, Woolwich.

WWII Because of his interest in applying statistics to industrial problems, Womersley was asked to set up an advisory service on statistical quality control, which did much to introduce sampling inspection methods to British industry.

1944 Appointed superintendent of the National Physical Laboratory's new mathematics division, which in addition to providing statistical advice was also tasked with building an electronic computer, which eventually led to the Pilot ACE.

1950 Moved to BTM Ltd which led to the development of the HEC range of digital computers.

1954 Went back to mathematics, working with a team from St Bartholomew's Hospital on a mathematical investigation into blood flow in arteries

1955 Took up a mathematical post with the US Air Force at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio.

1958 Died in Ohio

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • Biography of John Womersley, ODNB