Elected: 1975
Discipline: Unspecified at this time
Professor George Eason FRSE
George Eason was born in Chesterfield on 15 March 1930, the son of Henry Swindell Eason and his wife Annie Shepherd (née Warchurst). His early childhood was spent in the mining village of North Wingfield (near Chesterfield), where he attended the local primary school. In 1941 he was awarded a scholarship to Clay Cross Tupton Hall Grammar School, and a County Major Scholarship in 1948 enabled him to go to Birmingham University to study Mathematics (with subsidiary Physics) with G N Watson and R E (later Sir Rudolf) Peierls as Professors of Mathematics. He later said that, with such a choice of subjects and under such leadership, he enjoyed an ideal training for a subsequent career in applied mathematics.

In his final year as an undergraduate, inspired by a lecture course in the mathematical theory of elasticity, he expressed to Peierls a wish to work for a PhD in that subject. At that time there was no one on Peierls staff able to supervise graduate work in elasticity, but Peierls had been a member of the academic council of the recently-founded University College of North Staffordshire (later Keele University), and he knew that a Birmingham graduate working at Keele could submit a thesis to the University of Birmingham in support of an application for a higher degree. Thus it came about that George, who had graduated BSc with 2.1 Honours in 1951, became (supported by a DSIR Grant) the first graduate student at Keele, an institution beginning its second year of existence, and at which the Professor of Mathematics (E N Sneddon) was the only applied mathematician on the academic staff! However, they were soon joined by A J M Spencer, B Noble and D Berry. The resulting group, though small, was close-knit and lively. Not only did they interact with each other but also with the young lecturers in pure mathematics, which may be partly explained by the fact that each of them lived on the campus and only Sneddon was married.

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