Some Important Contributions:
"Mary Cartwright made many contributions in classical analysis, but i
best remembered by many for her work on forced nonlinear oscillations.
On reading her papers on these latter applications, it is clear that she
had a deep and abiding appreciation for the physical phenomenon as well
as its underlying mathematics. Her prescient work (especially with Littlewood)
anticipated some of the geometrical ideas that are fundamental to chaotic
dynamics and represents an important milestone in the evolution of our
thinking about dynamical complexity."  William Newman
Some Important Publications:
"On nonlinear differential equations of the second
order," Jour. London Math. Soc. 20: 180 (1945) with J. E. Littlewood.
"From nonlinear oscillations to topological dynamics," Jour. London
Math, Soc. 39: 1931 (1964).
"Collected papers of G.H. Hardy", edited by a
committee appointed by the London Mathematical Society. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 19661979. 7 v.
Honors:
Yarrow Research Fellow, Girton College, Cambridge
Fellow, Royal Society London, 1947
President of the Mathematical Association, 1952
President of the London Mathematical Society, 1963
Royal Society Sylvester Medal, 1964
London Maths Society De Morgan Medal, 1968
Dame of the British Empire, 1969
Yarrow Research Fellow, Girton College, Cambridge
Jobs/Positions:
19351959 Lecturer, Cambridge University
19591968 Reader in Theory of Functions, Cambridge University
19351948 Director of Studies in Mathematics, Girton College, Cambridge
University
19491968 Mistress, Girton College 19681998
Assorted Visiting Professorship
Education:
B.A. St. Hugh's College, University of Oxford, 1923
D.Phil. University of Oxford, 1927
Sources:
Professor Freeman Dyson, Professor William Newman
Additional reading
Obituary in The Daily Telegraph
Mactutor History of Mathematics
Agnes
Scott College Biographies of Women Mathematicians Web Site
_{ }Additional Information/Comments:
"When I was a student in Cambridge I heard her lecture about the pathological
behavior of nonlinear amplifiers. The radars in World War 2 were driven
by amplifiers which behaved badly when pushed to high powerlevels. The
Royal Air Force blamed the manufacturers and sent the radars back for repair.
Cartwright showed that the manufacturers were not to blame. The Van de
Pol equation was to blame. The forced Van de Pol equation is the standard
equation describing a nonlinear amplifier. Cartwright studied the solution
of the Van de Pol equation including sinusoidal forcing and discovered
the unexpected phenomenon that is now called chaos. As the power is increased,
the periodic solutions go through a series of higher and higher subharmonic
and finally become aperiodic. The aperiodic solutions have disastrous effect
on the radar, but have a beautifully intricate topological structure. Cartwright
published her discoveries at the end of the war, but nobody paid much attention
to her papers and she went on to other things. She became famous as a pure
mathematician. Twenty years later, chaos was rediscovered by Ed Lorenz
and became one of the most fashionable parts of physics. In recent year
I have been calling attention to Cartwright's work. In 1993 I received
an indignant letter from Cartwright, scolding me because I gave her more
credit than she thought she deserved. I still claim that she is the original
discoverer of chaos. She died, full of years and honors, in 1998."
 Freeman
Dyson
"Even at the age of 96, the TV documentary "Our brilliant careers" captured the sharp sparkle of her wit."
 Caroline Series
Field Editor:
Professor William Newman
win@ucla.edu
Submitted by:
Byers/ Helen Aslanian
secwp@physics.ucla.edu
Original citer's name:
Freeman Dyson
