Professor Emlyn Howard Lloyd
Founding Professor of Mathematics, Lancaster University
Emlyn was a mathematician, statistician and a leader in the field of stochastic hydrology research.
Emlyn attended the County School in Aberdare in the period just before World War II. He was the only child of Austin Lloyd who was a miner and active trade unionist living at 7, Richards Terrace, Cwmbach. Emlyn’s mother was, before marriage, Annie Carogwen Griffiths of Ynysllwyd St*, Aberdare. Annie was an enthusiastic member of the chapel choir and sang frequently at home. Emlyn was born on the 27th May, 1918 and received his primary education at Cwmbach Boys Elementary School. In the scholarship examination he obtained the top mark, and then transferred to the Trecynon School at the start of the autumn term 1929. His CWB School Certificate was exceptionally good, reaching matriculation standard and gaining five distinctions, four of which were in Arts subjects. Two years later in 1935, he sat his CWB Higher examination obtaining distinctions in all three of his subjects: mathematics, physics and chemistry. On the strength of his results he was awarded a state scholarship and consequently entered the Imperial College of Science and Technology, South Kensington. In 1938, he graduated with a first class honours degree in mathematics.
While still a student at Imperial College, he became very active in socialist politics, as well as singing in the College Choir. Also at this time, he met Herta (née Kasper) who was a refugee from Vienna. They married in London in 1940, living initially in Bloomsbury but moving to the suburbs following the wartime bombing raids.
During the war, Emlyn was ‘called up’ at the age of 21 years and was drafted by his university recruiting board to do scientific research under the War Office. This resulted in work for the Ordnance Board and for the aircraft industry. Then, at the end of the war, he joined the staff of Imperial College and began his long and distinguished research career. He began a PhD and by 1942 completed his doctorate in probability theory and mathematical statistics. During the period, 1942-1956, his four daughters were born.
Research topics that Emlyn developed in this initial period included stochastic reservoir theory, and the statistics of paper structure. The first involved the study of fluctuating river flows and the effect this has on stability and design of dams. The work in paper technology resulted in a consultancy with Wiggins Teape and involved the study of cellulose fibres and the nature of the paper that results from different types and sizes of fibres. The equations that were developed from this research are still taught to students of paper technology today.
After 29 years in London, Emlyn accepted the post of founding professor of mathematics at the new university of Lancaster. Not only was he to continue his first class research and establish a new research school, but in keeping with his senior position at the university he became inevitably more involved with university administration. He was a member of the Senate and associated committees throughout his entire period of service at Lancaster, and principal at Lonsdale (1967-82), which is one of the original colleges of the university. He retired from his post in September 1982 as professor emeritus and enjoyed an active retirement.
Emlyn was considered by those who knew him to be true scholar and gentleman. He was a charming and cultured man, committed not only to his own academic work but to literature, music and the arts as well. He was a kind tutor and never allowed his mental superiority to intimidate or discourage his students. He would prefer to criticise those with whom he disagreed with words such as: "I’m not entirely happy with ...". His students recognised his qualities as a superb teacher and as one who put the needs of his students as a priority for his consideration.
Emlyn was diagnosed with cancer in early 2007 at the same time as he was caring for Herta who had become seriously ill some time previously. After Herta died towards the end of 2007, Emlyn’s illness progressed and he relied increasingly on his daughters and visiting helpers; but he remained cheerful and uncomplaining. He was familiar with a wide range of composers and their work, and gained much solace from listening to music when confined to hospital towards the end of his life. He succumbed to his illness on June 9th, 2008, shortly after his ninetieth birthday in Lancashire, near the Lake District which he loved so much. At the time of his death he was survived by his four daughters. nine grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
Emlyn returned to the school, then relocated to Cwmdare Hill, in May 1968 when he was the guest speaker at the school’s annual speech day at the Coliseum. The programme for this event can be seen in the Certificate Ceremonies section of this web site.
This appreciation of the career of Emlyn Lloyd is based upon the account written by Granville Tunnicliffe-Wilson (Lancaster University), and an article written by Emlyn’s colleague Vit Klemes. Many thanks also to daughters Vicky, Sal and Rachael for their help.
*Correct Welsh spelling is Ynyslwyd St.