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The University of Southampton
Mathematical Sciences

Remembering Dr Hubert Davies: 1919 – 2018

Published: 16 January 2019
Dr Hubert Davies

Hubert Davies, Lecturer in Mathematics from 1948 until 1991, died on 15 August 2018 at the age of 99.

Born in Llanelli, Hubert gained a First in Mathematics at Aberystwyth University in 1941 and during the war worked on ballistics and then meteorology at Shoeburyness.  It was there he met Jeanne whom he married in 1947.  He gained a PhD at Imperial College in 1948 and then came to Southampton where he remained for the rest of his career with two significant breaks: the first as a Fulbright Scholar at Princeton University in the USA, and the second at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. He was offered a personal Chair at Witwatersrand but returned to the UK for personal reasons.

Hubert loved sport and was an accomplished rugby and tennis player. He was convinced of the value of physical recreational activities in the lives and wellbeing of students. Over the years he campaigned long, hard and successfully for the construction of major sports facilities at the University and it was he who persuaded the University to create a Department of Physical Education.  He made sustained efforts to raise funds for a university swimming pool, the projected cost of which alas rose faster than the funds accumulated.  He also guided the development of student sport through his long chairmanship of the Athletic Union, and it is no surprise that the students recognized his determined efforts on their behalf by making him a Life Member of the Students' Union.

Hubert's conversation was always interesting, whether in anecdotes from early days of the University or in analysis of points of philosophy or art.  Apart from his academic life in fluid dynamics he was a man of many skills, including wood-carving and cake-decoration. A father, grandfather and great-grandfather, his company was a pleasure, and one invariably came away from  meeting Hubert feeling it was time well spent.

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