Sir Michael James Lighthill, FRS (23 January 1924 – 17 July
1998) was a British applied mathematician, known for his pioneering
work in the field of aeroacoustics.
3 See also
Lighthill was educated at Winchester College, and graduated with a BA
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge in 1943. He specialised in fluid
dynamics, and worked at the National Physical Laboratory at Trinity.
Between 1946 and 1959 he was Beyer Professor of Applied
the University of Manchester. Lighthill then moved from Manchester to
become director of the
Royal Aircraft Establishment
Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough.
There he worked on the development of television and communications
satellites, and on the development of manned spacecraft. This latter
work was used in the development of the
Concorde supersonic airliner.
In 1955, together with G. B. Whitham, Lighthill set out the first
comprehensive theory of kinematic waves (an application of the
method of characteristics), with a multitude of applications, prime
among them fluid flow and traffic flow.
Lighthill's early work included two dimensional aerofoil theory, and
supersonic flow around solids of revolution. In addition to the
dynamics of gas at high speeds he studied shock and blast waves and
introduced the squirmer model. He is credited with founding the
subject of aeroacoustics, a subject vital to the reduction of noise in
Lighthill's eighth power law states that the acoustic
power radiated by a jet engine is proportional to the eighth power of
the jet speed. He also founded non-linear acoustics, and showed
that the same non-linear differential equations could model both flood
waves in rivers and traffic flow in highways.
In 1964 he became the Royal Society's resident professor at Imperial
College London, before returning to Trinity College, Cambridge, five
years later as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, a chair he held
until 1979, when he was succeeded by Stephen Hawking. Lighthill then
became Provost of
University College London
University College London (UCL) – a post he
held until 1989.
Lighthill founded the Institute of
Mathematics and its Applications in
1964, alongside Professor Sir Bryan Thwaites. In 1968, he was awarded
an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Science) by the University of Bath.
In 1972 he was invited to deliver the MacMillan Memorial Lecture to
the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland. He chose
the subject 'Aquatic Animal Locomotion'.
In the early 1970s, partly in reaction to significant internal discord
within that field, the Science Research Council (SRC), as it was then
known, asked Lighthill to compile a review of academic research in
Artificial Intelligence. Lighthill's report, which was published in
1973 and became known as the "Lighthill report," was highly critical
of basic research in foundational areas such as robotics and language
processing, and "formed the basis for the decision by the British
government to end support for AI research in all but two
universities", starting what is sometimes referred to as the "AI
Lighthill was awarded the
Ludwig-Prandtl-Ring from the Deutsche
Gesellschaft für Luft- und Raumfahrt (German Society for Aeronautics
and Astronautics) for "outstanding contribution in the field of
aerospace engineering" in 1983.
His hobby was open-water swimming. He died in the water in 1998 when
the mitral valve in his heart ruptured while he was swimming round the
island of Sark, a feat which he had accomplished many times
Lighthill, M. J. (1952). "On sound generated aerodynamically. I.
General theory". Proceedings of the
Royal Society A. 211 (1107):
Lighthill, M. J. (1954). "On sound generated aerodynamically. II.
Turbulence as a source of sound". Proceedings of the
Royal Society A.
222 (1148): 1–32. Bibcode:1954RSPSA.222....1L.
Lighthill, M. J. (1958). Introduction to Fourier Analysis. Cambridge
Monographs on Mechanics. Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press.
Lighthill, M. J. (1958). Introduction to Fourier analysis and
generalised functions. New York:
Cambridge University Press.
ISBN 0-521-05556-3. 
Lighthill, M. J. (1960). Higher approximations in aerodynamics theory.
Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-07976-5.
Lighthill, M. J. (1986). An informal introduction to theoretical fluid
mechanics. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-853630-5.
Lighthill, M. J. (1987). Mathematical Biofluiddynamics. CBMS-NSF
Regional Conference Series in Applied Mathematics. Society for
Industrial Mathematics. ISBN 0-89871-014-6.
Lighthill, M. J. (2001). Waves in fluids. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press. ISBN 0-521-01045-4.
Lighthill, M. J. (1997). Hussaini, M. Yousuff, ed. Collected papers of
Sir James Lighthill. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lighthill method in differential equations
James Lighthill House
^ Pedley, Tim J. (2001). "Sir (Michael) James Lighthill. 23 January
1924 – 17 July 1998: Elected F.R.S. 1953". Biographical Memoirs of
Fellows of the Royal Society. 47: 333–356.
^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "James Lighthill", MacTutor
Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews .
James Lighthill at the
Mathematics Genealogy Project
^ "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". 2004.
^ "Engines of Ingenuity No. 2250: Sir Michael
James Lighthill by John
H. Lienhard". Retrieved 28 July 2011.
^ Pedley, T. J. (2001). "
James Lighthill and his contributions to
fluid mechanics". Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics. 33: 1–41.
^ "Michael James Lighthill". University of St Andrews. Retrieved 25
^ Lighthill, M. J.; Whitham, G. B. (1955). "On Kinematic Waves. I.
Flood Movement in Long Rivers". Proceedings of the
Royal Society A:
Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 229 (1178): 281.
^ Lighthill, M. J.; Whitham, G. B. (1955). "On Kinematic Waves. II. A
Theory of Traffic Flow on Long Crowded Roads". Proceedings of the
Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 229
(1178): 317. Bibcode:1955RSPSA.229..317L.
^ Crighton, David (March 1999). "Obituary: James Lighthill". Physics
Today. 52 (3): 104–106. Bibcode:1999PhT....52c.104C.
doi:10.1063/1.882537. Archived from the original on 2013-10-10.
^ Russell, Stuart J.; Norvig, Peter (2003), Artificial Intelligence: A
Modern Approach (2nd ed.), Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice
Hall, ISBN 0-13-790395-2
^ Crighton, D., 1999, J. Fluid Mech., vol. 386, pp. 1–3
^ Lees, Milton (1959). "Review: Introduction to Fourier analysis and
generalised functions, by M. J. Lighthill". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 65
(4): 248–249. doi:10.1090/S0002-9904-1959-10325-6.
^ Smith, Peter K.; Jordan, Dominic William (2007). Nonlinear ordinary
differential equations: an introduction for scientists and engineers.
Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press.
Beyer Chair of Applied
Mathematics at University of Manchester
Lucasian Professor of
Mathematics at Cambridge University
Provost of University College London
Lucasian Professors of Mathematics
Isaac Barrow (1664)
Isaac Newton (1669)
William Whiston (1702)
Nicholas Saunderson (1711)
John Colson (1739)
Edward Waring (1760)
Isaac Milner (1798)
Robert Woodhouse (1820)
Thomas Turton (1822)
George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy (1826)
Charles Babbage (1828)
Joshua King (1839)
George Stokes (1849)
Joseph Larmor (1903)
Paul Dirac (1932)
James Lighthill (1969)
Stephen Hawking (1979)
Michael Green (2009)
Michael Cates (2015)
Copley Medallists (1951–2000)
David Keilin (1951)
Paul Dirac (1952)
Albert Kluyver (1953)
E. T. Whittaker
E. T. Whittaker (1954)
Ronald Fisher (1955)
Patrick Blackett (1956)
Howard Florey (1957)
John Edensor Littlewood (1958)
Frank Macfarlane Burnet
Frank Macfarlane Burnet (1959)
Harold Jeffreys (1960)
Hans Adolf Krebs
Hans Adolf Krebs (1961)
Cyril Norman Hinshelwood
Cyril Norman Hinshelwood (1962)
Paul Fildes (1963)
Sydney Chapman (1964)
Alan Lloyd Hodgkin
Alan Lloyd Hodgkin (1965)
Lawrence Bragg (1966)
Bernard Katz (1967)
Tadeusz Reichstein (1968)
Peter Medawar (1969)
Alexander R. Todd
Alexander R. Todd (1970)
Norman Pirie (1971)
Nevill Francis Mott (1972)
Andrew Huxley (1973)
W. V. D. Hodge
W. V. D. Hodge (1974)
Francis Crick (1975)
Dorothy Hodgkin (1976)
Frederick Sanger (1977)
Robert Burns Woodward
Robert Burns Woodward (1978)
Max Perutz (1979)
Derek Barton (1980)
Peter D. Mitchell
Peter D. Mitchell (1981)
John Cornforth (1982)
Rodney Robert Porter
Rodney Robert Porter (1983)
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1984)
Aaron Klug (1985)
Rudolf Peierls (1986)
Robin Hill (1987)
Michael Atiyah (1988)
César Milstein (1989)
Abdus Salam (1990)
Sydney Brenner (1991)
George Porter (1992)
James D. Watson (1993)
Frederick Charles Frank
Frederick Charles Frank (1994)
Frank Fenner (1995)
Alan Cottrell (1996)
Hugh Huxley (1997)
James Lighthill (1998)
John Maynard Smith
John Maynard Smith (1999)
Alan Battersby (2000)
John von Neumann Lecturers
Lars Ahlfors (1960)
Mark Kac (1961)
Jean Leray (1962)
Stanislaw Ulam (1963)
Solomon Lefschetz (1964)
Freeman Dyson (1965)
Eugene Wigner (1966)
Chia-Chiao Lin (1967)
Peter Lax (1968)
George F. Carrier
George F. Carrier (1969)
James H. Wilkinson (1970)
Paul Samuelson (1971)
Jule Charney (1974)
James Lighthill (1975)
René Thom (1976)
Kenneth Arrow (1977)
Peter Henrici (1978)
Kurt O. Friedrichs (1979)
Keith Stewartson (1980)
Garrett Birkhoff (1981)
David Slepian (1982)
Joseph B. Keller (1983)
Jürgen Moser (1984)
John W. Tukey (1985)
Jacques-Louis Lions (1986)
Richard M. Karp
Richard M. Karp (1987)
Germund Dahlquist (1988)
Stephen Smale (1989)
Andrew Majda (1990)
R. Tyrrell Rockafellar
R. Tyrrell Rockafellar (1992)
Martin D. Kruskal (1994)
Carl de Boor (1996)
William Kahan (1997)
Olga Ladyzhenskaya (1998)
Charles S. Peskin (1999)
Persi Diaconis (2000)
David Donoho (2001)
Eric Lander (2002)
Heinz-Otto Kreiss (2003)
Alan C. Newell (2004)
Jerrold E. Marsden
Jerrold E. Marsden (2005)
George C. Papanicolaou
George C. Papanicolaou (2006)
Nancy Kopell (2007)
David Gottlieb (2008)
Franco Brezzi (2009)
Bernd Sturmfels (2010)
Ingrid Daubechies (2011)
John M. Ball
John M. Ball (2012)
Stanley J. Osher
Stanley J. Osher (2013)
Leslie Greengard (2014)
Jennifer Tour Chayes
Jennifer Tour Chayes (2015)
Donald Knuth (2016)
Bernard J. Matkowsky (2017)
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