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Emeritus Professor Garth Dales

Colleagues will be sorry to learn of the death, on 8 October 2022, of Emeritus Professor Garth Dales, former Professor of Pure Mathematics.

Garth Dales was born in Cleethorpes in 1944 and educated at Wintringham Boys Grammar School, Grimsby. He obtained an open scholarship to Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he obtained first class honours in the Mathematical Tripos. After taking Part III of the Tripos, he moved to Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1967, where he obtained his Ph.D. under the direction of Graham Allan (who would himself later become a professor at the University of Leeds): his thesis was in mathematical analysis, and entitled Boundaries and peak points for Banach function algebras.

 In 1970 he was appointed to a lectureship at the University of Glasgow, and, following a one year’s visiting professorship at the University of California in Los Angeles, he was recruited to Leeds University in 1974. In a distinguished career he was promoted to Reader in Analysis in 1980, and Professor of Mathematics in 1986. His efficiency in administration was soon recognised, and he served as Head of the Pure Mathematics department on two occasions: from 1988 to 1991, and from 2000 to 2003.

Garth’s research career has seen him recognised as a world authority on the subject of Banach algebras; he has authored and edited several books, as well as many influential research papers. The most significant of his books is Banach algebras and automatic continuity, a massive Oxford University Press monograph of more than 900 pages in length, which was published in 2001; however, one should also mention two books written with Hugh Woodin of Berkeley, of which the subject matter is on the boundaries of analysis and logic: these are An introduction to independence for analysts and Super-real fields. In Leeds he has supported the subject in many other ways; for example, by the supervision of 13 Ph.D. students, and the hosting of five postdoctoral fellows.

His national and international profile has been very high through a variety of other activities: for example, he served for 21 years as chairman of the International Steering Committee on Conferences on Banach algebras, organizing the major international meeting in the subject, which continues to be held every two years. Garth served on the council of the London Mathematical Society for six years, and was chairman of the scientific committee of the British Mathematical Colloquium. More recently, he has been appointed Vice-Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the European Mathematical Society.

After retiring from the University in 2011, Garth remained very active being immediately  appointed as a part-time research professor at Lancaster University until October 2021.  He was highly visible nationally (LMS Whitehead prize-winner 1980, served on LMS Council, many other roles). Most recently he had been BLMS obituaries editor, a role he ceased in July. He remained an active and important researcher to very nearly the end, submitting his last book for publication in summer 2022, despite the diagnosis of motor neuron disease in February.