CITATION OF PROFESSOR CRISPIN NASH-WILLIAMS
From BICA (14) 1995:
CITATION OF PROFESSOR CRISPIN NASH-WILLIAMS FOR THE HONORARY DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF MATHEMATICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO
Crispin St.John Alvah Nash-Williams has been a leading contributor to combinatorial mathematics for thirty-five years. Beginning at a time when the subject was relatively undeveloped, he led the way in identifying important research problems, developing new techniques, and establishing the highest standards of rigour and integrity. His elegant and deep results have paved the way for many of the key developments in recent years.
Professor Nash-Williams is especially recognized for his work on infinite graph theory. He has provided answers to many fundamental questions in this area. including existence of Hamiltonian and Euler paths, existence of transversals, and the problem of reconstruction. Perhaps most notable are his contributions to the theory of well-quasi-ordering, which not only established deep results in graph theory, but also laid the foundations for major advances in set theory.
In addition to the creation of new mathematics, an important, and largely unrecognized, part of the life of a research mathematician is the critical reading . of the work of others - verifying the correctness of results, judging the importance of research directions, and insisting on high standards of exposition. The contributions of Crispin Nash-Williams in this regard have been truly outstanding. Many researchers have benefitted from his meticulous refereeing of journal papers and doctoral theses. A leading combinatorial mathematician recalls that a turning point in his career was the fifty-page commentary Nash-Williams wrote on his hundred-page doctoral thesis. There are many similar stories, which form part of what might well be called "the Nash-Williams legend".
Crispin Nash-Williams was born in Britain and educated at Cambridge. He spent more than a dozen years at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and since 1975 has held a chair of Pure Mathematics at the University of Reading, England, where he is currently head of the Mathematics Department He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Professor Nash-Williams has had close connections with Waterloo since 1965, when he spent a term here as Visiting Professor. In 1967, the year in which the Faculty of Mathematics was founded, he joined the University as Professor in the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization. As its first Graduate Officer, he was instrumental in establishing a graduate program that has added much to the reputation of Waterloo. After returning to Britain, he was for many years an Adjunct Professor, and he remains a valued member of the editorial board of the Journal of Combinatorial Theory,.which is edited at Waterloo. We are grateful for his contributions to the University, and look forward to many more years of fruitful association.
Madame Chancellor, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to combinatorial mathematics, I request you to confer the degree of Doctor of Mathematics honoris causa upon Crispin StJohn Alvah Nash-Williams.
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