George Duff (mathematician)

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George Francis Denton Duff (born July 28, 1926 in Toronto , Ontario ; † March 2, 2001 ) was a Canadian mathematician who dealt with partial differential equations.

Duff was the son of Toronto botany professor George Henry Duff (Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada) and lawyer Laura Duff. He studied from 1944 at the University of Toronto , with a master's thesis on quantum mechanics with Leopold Infeld (1949), and from 1949 at Princeton University (among others with Donald Spencer ), where he received his doctorate in 1951 with Solomon Lefschetz ( Limit Cycles and rotated vector fields ). He was then a Moore Instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and from 1952 Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, where he stayed for the rest of his career. In 1957 he became an associate professor and in 1961 a professor. From 1968 to 1975 he was head of the mathematics faculty there. In 1992 he retired, but remained active in the mathematics faculty until his death. Duff was, among other things, visiting professor at Stanford University .

Duff worked on elliptic and hyperbolic partial differential equations and, in the 1980s, particularly on Navier-Stokes equations . From the mid-1960s he dealt with questions of the use of the high tidal range in the Bay of Fundy for tidal power plants . He developed a mathematical theory of this tidal phenomenon, which he regarded as a standing wave, and gave a lecture on it at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in Vancouver in 1974 (plenary lecture: Mathematical problems of tidal energy). For this work he received an honorary doctorate from Dalhousie University in 1994. He authored several textbooks on partial differential equations and also with other school textbooks for the Ontario District.

In 1959 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He was editor of the Canadian Journal of Mathematics and President of the Canadian Mathematical Society from 1957 to 1961 and 1978 to 1981. He also edited the Royal Society of Canada's Mathematical Reports for many years, including a history of the Canadian Mathematical Society.

He was married twice. From his first marriage, divorced in 1981, from 1951, he had five children.


  • Partial Differential Equations, University of Toronto Press 1956
  • with D. Naylor: Differential equations of applied mathematics, Wiley 1966

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Published in Volume 1 of the Canadian Journal of Mathematics. He also took part in the Putnam competition with the university team in 1948, finishing fifth, the team finishing 2nd