Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw (1912 - 2014)

Kathleen Ollerenshaw

We are sorry to announce the death of distinguished mathematician and educationalist Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw.

Born in 1912 and deaf since the age of eight, Kathleen was an undergraduate at Somerville College where she completed her doctorate in 1945 on "Critical Lattices" under the supervision of Theo Chaundy. She wrote five original research papers which were sufficient for her to earn her DPhil degree without the need of a formal written thesis. 

After the Second World War. Kathleen worked as a part-time lecturer in the School of Mathematics at Manchester University (it was not until after the war that at the age of 37 she received her first effective hearing aid). Kathleen wrote many important research papers, her best-known work being on most-perfect pandiagonal magic squares. She became President of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications from 1978-1979  and an annual public lecture at the School of Mathematics in Manchester is named in her honour.

Kathleen was also politically active, serving as a Conservative Councillor for Rusholme for twenty-six years (1956–1981), and as Lord Mayor of Manchester (1975–1976). She was also involved 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.

Composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies dedicated his Naxos Quartet No.9 to her. She died in Didsbury, Manchester on August 10th 2014.