About Sam

Samuel Beatty was born in 1881. In 1915, he graduated from the University of Toronto with a PhD and a dissertation entitled Extensions of Results Concerning the Derivatives of an Algebraic Function of a Complex Variable, with the help of his adviser, John Charles Fields. He was the first person to receive a PhD in mathematics from a Canadian university.  In 1926, he published a problem in the American Mathematical Monthly, which formed the genesis for the Beatty sequence.

Beatty was dean of the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Toronto Mississauga, taking the position in 1934.  He invited Harold Scott MacDonald Coxeter to the University of Toronto with a position as an assistant professor, which Coxeter took; he remained in Toronto for the rest of his life.  In June 1939, he was one of the founding members of the Committee of Teaching Staff. Beatty was appointed the 21st Chancellor of the University of Toronto in 1953, holding the position until 1959. He was associated with the university from 1911 to 1952, and a scholarship was established in his honor. He died in 1970.

Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner Walter Kohn, a student at the university while Beatty was a dean, expressed his appreciation in 1998 to the dean when accepting the prize for his development of the density functional theory. In 1942, when Kohn could not access the university’s chemistry buildings during World War II because of his German nationality, Beatty had helped him to enroll in the Mathematics Department at the University.