My secondary school & physics research

Yesterday, I was sent, as I periodically am, the “Old Newportonian” newsletter, for old members of my school – Newport Free Grammar School, a comprehensive in Essex. I looked through it, to see what news there was of the school, and of old pupils. It’s a pretty short newsletter, and I didn’t see mention of anyone I knew, though in looking through the obituaries, I noticed someone who I’ve come across in my physics research that I didn’t know went to my school.

He was Charles Broyden, a mathematician who developed a clever technique for solving equations on computer. The method is now known as Broyden’s method, and is applied to solving many equations, including the Hartree-Fock equations, that are the basis of the kind of research into nuclear physics that I’m interested in. When I blogged earlier this year about running a final year project looking at solving non-linear equations, Broyden’s method was one of the ones I had in mind. I never knew he had a link to my school. Small world!