Mary Cartwright

Mary Cartwright

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Mary Cartwright

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Dame Mary Lucy Cartwright DBE (17 December 1900 – 3 April 1998) was a leading 20th-century British mathematician. She was born in Aynho, Northamptonshire where her father was the vicar and died in Cambridge, England. Through her Grandmother Jane Holbech she was descended from the poet John Donne and William Mompesson the Vicar of Eyam.

She then taught at Alice Ottley School in Worcester and Wycombe Abbey School in Buckinghamshire before returning to Oxford in 1928 to read for her D.Phil.

She was supervised by G. H. Hardy in her doctoral studies. During the academic year 1928–9 Hardy was at Princeton, so it was E. C. Titchmarsh who took over the duties as a supervisor. Her thesis on zeros of entire functions was examined by J. E. Littlewood whom she met for the first time as an external examiner in her oral examination for the D.Phil. She would later become a major collaborator with Littlewood, over many years.

In 1930 Cartwright was awarded a Yarrow Research Fellowship and she went to Girton College, Cambridge, to continue working on the topic of her doctoral thesis. Attending Littlewood's lectures, she solved one of the open problems which he posed. Her theorem, now known as Cartwright's theorem, gives an estimate for the maximum modulus of an analytic function that takes the same value no more than p times in the unit disc. To prove the theorem she used a new approach, applying a technique introduced by Lars Ahlfors for conformal mappings.

In 1936 she became...
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