Bernard de Neumann Obituary

Educated at the Royal Hospital School and the University of Birmingham, Bernard de Neumann was principally a mathematician at the forefront of his field. As a visiting lecturer to many universities, Bernard was not only an innovative mathematician, but also a generous and celebrated teacher. Bernard served as Chief Mathematician in the Ministry of Defence, and much of his work related to high technology and aerospace applications, mainly in the background in a research laboratory. Some of Bernard’s mathematical work helped to make it possible to receive imagery from deep space missions, like from the Viking Landers 1 & 2, which transmitted the first colour pictures back from the surface of Mars. This same work also helped improve FM radio receivers and facilitated their continually decreasing size. Bernard also invented and patented a self-configuring multi-processor computer, that included ideas used for the technology used in contactless smart cards.

The Neumann family are middle European nobility who served in the retinues of Dukes, Grand Dukes, Kings, and Emperors. Bernard’s ancestor Carl Friedrich Bernhard von Neumann came to London from Munich in 1833 and stayed, basing the family thenceforth in England. Bernard took great pleasure in researching his genealogy, and comprehensively investigated his family over the last half a century, while exploring other more notable ancestors: Bernard was the ancestor of noblemen of both the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of Bavaria.

Bernard de Neumann was a respected pioneer and innovator, and became revolutionary within mathematics. His inventive contributions have led to technological developments, and his work within the Ministry of Defence led him to becoming a laudable intellectual. Bernard remained fiercely passionate about the school, undertaking research and archive projects; the school is indebted to Bernard, who will be dearly missed.

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