Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw
Welcome to Maths 6th March 2020
In this historical feature we explore Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw (1912-2014) and her influential work.
Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw was a mathematician, politician and astronomer. In 1945 Dame Kathleen completed her doctorate at Somerville College, Oxford, on Critical Lattices. She wrote five original research papers that were sufficient for her to earn her DPhil degree without the need for a formal written thesis. Just after the Second World War, she took up a lecturing position in mathematics at Manchester University.
In the 1950s, Dame Kathleen entered politics and served as a Conservative Councillor for Rusholme for twenty-six years (1956-1981), was Lord Mayor of Manchester (1975-1976), and the prime motivator in the creation of the Royal Northern College of Music. She was made a Freeman of the City of Manchester and was an advisor on educational matters to Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980s.
Dame Kathleen published at least 26 mathematical papers, her best-known contribution being the paper, Most-Perfect Pandiagonal Magic Squares.
In honour of Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw, a room in the Alan Turing Building is named after her.