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Eugene Leimanis (1905–1992)

Published onSep 01, 1993
Eugene Leimanis (1905–1992)

Eugene Leimanis, applied mathematician and celestial mechanician, was a longtime member of the Department of Mathematics of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. He was born in Koceni, Latvia, the son of a teacher, and obtained a Masters Degree and First Prize in Mathematics in 1929 at the University of Latvia. During the 1930s he held a number of positions on the Unviersity’s faculty, the last being Docent of Analytical Mechanics and Theoretical Astronomy. After World War II he held several temporary positions and in 1947 obtained a Ph.D. at the Baltic University in Hamburg. In 1949 he emigrated to Canada and joined the above-mentioned Department, where he remained until his retirement in 1974. In 1991 he was elected as a foreign member of the Latvian Academy of Science.

Leimanis’s research led to almost one hundred articles and several books. The first book (in Latvian) was Theoretical Mechanics (1940), and in 1965 he published The General Problem of the Motion of Coupled Rigid Bodies About a Fixed Point (New York: Springer). At the time of his death he had just completed a book-length manuscript entitled Qualitative Methods in the Three-body Problem. The three-body problem was perhaps his main area of expertise, along with differential equations and analytical mechanics.

In 1942 Leimanis married his former student, Zigrida Gipslis, who survives him along with their four daughters and two sons. He was a member of the Executive of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. His nonmathematical interests included the arts (especially music), philosophy, and theology, but his greatest loves were Beethoven and the opera singer Renata Tebaldi.

This obituary is based solely on a detailed “Who’s Who” entry and a list of publications.

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