James Lighthill
Sir James Lighthill  

Michael James Lighthill
 
Born 
Paris, France

23 January 1924
Died  17 July 1998 
(aged 74)
Nationality  United Kingdom 
Alma mater  Cambridge University 
Known for 
Lighthill report Lighthill's equation Lighthill's eighth power law Lighthill mechanism Aeroacoustics Fluid dynamics 
Awards 
Timoshenko Medal (1963) Royal Medal (1964) Elliott Cresson Medal (1975) Naylor Prize and Lectureship (1977) IMA Gold Medal (1982) Otto Laporte Award (1984) Copley Medal (1998) 
Scientific career  
Fields 
Mathematics, Acoustics 
Institutions 
Victoria University of Manchester University College London Cambridge University Imperial College London 
Doctoral students  Gerald B. Whitham 
Sir Michael James Lighthill, FRS^{[1]} (23 January 1924 – 17 July 1998) was a British applied mathematician, known for his pioneering work in the field of aeroacoustics.^{[2]}^{[3]}^{[4]}^{[5]}^{[6]}
Contents
Biography
Lighthill was educated at Winchester College, and graduated with a BA from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1943.^{[7]} He specialised in fluid dynamics, and worked at the National Physical Laboratory at Trinity. Between 1946 and 1959 he was Beyer Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Manchester. Lighthill then moved from Manchester to become director of the 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^{[8]}^{[9]} (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 jet engines. 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.^{[10]} He also founded nonlinear acoustics, and showed that the same nonlinear 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 (UCL) – a post he held until 1989.
Lighthill founded the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) in 1964, alongside Professor Sir Bryan Thwaites. In 1968, he was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Science) by the University of Bath.^{[11]} 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",^{[12]} starting what is sometimes referred to as the "AI winter".
In 1982, Lighthill and Dr Alan Tayler were jointly awarded the first ever Gold Medal of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications in recognition of their "outstanding contributions to mathematics and its applications over a period of years".^{[13]} In 1983 Lighthill was awarded the LudwigPrandtlRing from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Luft und Raumfahrt (German Society for Aeronautics and Astronautics) for "outstanding contribution in the field of aerospace engineering".
His hobby was openwater 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 before.^{[14]}
Publications
 Lighthill, M. J. (1952). "On sound generated aerodynamically. I. General theory". Proceedings of the Royal Society A. 211 (1107): 564–587. Bibcode:1952RSPSA.211..564L. doi:10.1098/rspa.1952.0060.
 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. doi:10.1098/rspa.1954.0049.
 Lighthill, M. J. (1958). Introduction to Fourier Analysis. Cambridge Monographs on Mechanics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521091284.
 Lighthill, M. J. (1958). Introduction to Fourier analysis and generalised functions. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521055563. ^{[15]}
 Lighthill, M. J. (1960). Higher approximations in aerodynamics theory. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691079765.
 Lighthill, M. J. (1986). An informal introduction to theoretical fluid mechanics. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0198536305.
 Lighthill, M. J. (1987). Mathematical Biofluiddynamics. CBMSNSF Regional Conference Series in Applied Mathematics. Society for Industrial Mathematics. ISBN 0898710146.
 Lighthill, M. J. (2001). Waves in fluids. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521010454.
 Lighthill, M. J. (1997). Hussaini, M. Yousuff, ed. Collected papers of Sir James Lighthill. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195092228.
See also
 Lighthill method in differential equations^{[16]}
 James Lighthill House
References
 ^ 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. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2001.0019.
 ^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "James Lighthill", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
 ^ James Lighthill at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
 ^ "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/68885.
 ^ "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. Bibcode:2001AnRFM..33....1P. doi:10.1146/annurev.fluid.33.1.1.
 ^ "Michael James Lighthill". University of St Andrews. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
 ^ 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. Bibcode:1955RSPSA.229..281L. doi:10.1098/rspa.1955.0088.
 ^ 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. doi:10.1098/rspa.1955.0089.
 ^ 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 20131010.
 ^ http://www.bath.ac.uk/ceremonies/hongrads/older.html
 ^ Russell, Stuart J.; Norvig, Peter (2003), Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (2nd ed.), Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, ISBN 0137903952
 ^ "IMA Gold Medal". Retrieved 16 May 2018. Institute of Mathematics and its Applications
 ^ 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/S000299041959103256.
 ^ Smith, Peter K.; Jordan, Dominic William (2007). Nonlinear ordinary differential equations: an introduction for scientists and engineers. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199208255.
Academic offices  

Preceded by Sydney Goldstein 
Beyer Chair of Applied Mathematics at University of Manchester 1950–1959 
Succeeded by Fritz Ursell 
Preceded by Paul Dirac 
Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University 1969–1978 
Succeeded by Stephen Hawking 
Preceded by Noel Annan 
Provost of University College London 1979–1989 
Succeeded by Derek Roberts 
 1924 births
 1998 deaths
 Academics of Imperial College London
 Academics of the Victoria University of Manchester
 Alumni of Trinity College, Cambridge
 20thcentury British mathematicians
 Fellows of the Royal Society
 Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge
 Knights Bachelor
 Lucasian Professors of Mathematics
 Royal Medal winners
 Recipients of the Copley Medal
 Fluid dynamicists
 Members of the French Academy of Sciences
 Members of the United States National Academy of Sciences
 Foreign Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences
 Provosts of University College London
 LudwigPrandtlRing recipients
 People educated at Winchester College
 Scientists of the National Physical Laboratory