The James Lighthill Building – the history behind the name
Welcome to Maths 13th May 2019
Maths at Manchester has a proud history, and many distinguished mathematicians have helped build its reputation. Among them is Sir James Lighthill, a man with a fascinating life story – and a building on North Campus named after him.
Lighthill was an applied mathematician who would become known for his pioneering work in aeroacoustics. He was appointed a Senior Lecturer at The University of Manchester in 1946 and set up a fluid dynamics group. He would go on to become Beyer Professor of Applied Mathematics here in 1950.
His achievements weren’t restricted to his time at the University, however. Lighthill would make a name for himself as the founder of aeroacoustics (helping to keep the noise of jet engines down to a safe level), and would also make advances in the fields of hydrodynamics, aerodynamics, biomechanics and wave mechanics.
His work would also lead to the development of the much-loved Concorde supersonic airliner. Rather fitting, then, that the University’s Aerospace Research Institute now calls the James Lighthill Building home.
You can read all about the history of the James Lighthill Building and another North Campus facility, the Morton Laboratory, on The Hub.