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Death of Brian Edgar

Brian Edgar

Brian Edgar sadly passed away last Thursday June 10th from a stroke. He is survived by a wife, son, daughter and grandson who all live in Linköping, Sweden. Brian worked at the Mathematics Department of Linköping University (LiU). He was born in Northern Ireland and had that marvellous broad Northern Ireland accent which people loved to hear.

Brian finished his PhD under the supervision of Clive Kilmister (who also sadly died about a month ago). Brian was an ‘Effer’, a name given by and to the PhD students who shared the office at room F of the old building of King’s College, on Surrey Street, just above the Aldwych station and the London Roman Bath, from mid 60’s to mid 70’s. That was a very rich period for gravitation physics when we lived under the strong influence of Felix Pirani, Hermann Bondi, Roger Penrose, Stephen Hawking, William Bonnor, Clive Kilmister among others. This was a rich period when many new ideas on gravitational physics were being created, mostly on its mathematical aspects.

After graduating from Queen’s Belfast, Brian worked in Cameroon and Ghana before his PhD studies and after his PhD exam he went back to work in Ghana. After many years in Ghana he moved to Botswana in 1982. During this time he also in secret supervised a banned ANC activist that later became a South African minister who opened the Durban GR meeting in 2001. He then moved to Linköping in Sweden in 1987, where he and Malcolm Ludvigsen inaugurated and developed the gravitational physics program at LiU. He was the supervisor of several successful PhD students.

One of his characteristics was to help the development of applied mathematics programs in developing countries, a passion that was born during his time in Africa. He was working on a program for collaboration between the Swedish and Brazilian applied mathematical programs, but it was beaten by the slow pace of bureaucracy and shortness of life.

Brian was a classical relativist, in the sense that his works were mainly motivated by geometrical aspects of Riemann geometry in general relativity. Part of his work was devoted to the field of exact solutions and in particular the GHP formalism and generalisations of it. An important outcome of these studies is the Edgar-Ludwig metrics. In the latter period, motivated by the support of Kilmister, he was working with various collaborators on the problem of Lanczos potentials and dimensionally-dependent identities for general relativity. At the time of his passing he was finishing one of such papers. We will miss his scientific enthusiasm, his willingness to help scientists around the world, and above all his always joyful presence.

From all friends of Brian