Tribute lecture to Strathclyde University professor Frank Leslie

Professor Frank Leslie Image copyright AFP
Image caption Prof Leslie's work allowed engineers to make flat-screen displays thinner, faster and higher resolution

A professor who paved the way for flat-screen technology in TVs, computers and mobiles will have his legacy celebrated in a university lecture next month.

Mathematician Frank Leslie, who died in 2000 aged 65, developed a theory of liquid crystals while working at the University of Strathclyde.

Engineers went on to use it to make flat-screen displays thinner, faster and with a higher resolution.

His widow Ellen will unveil a plaque commemorating his life and work.

Professor Leslie developed his Ericksen-Leslie theory while working with colleague Jerry Ericksen, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The lecture will be given by former colleague Professor Nigel Mottram, of Strathclyde's Department of Mathematics & Statistics.

Prof Mottram said: "The impact of the research undertaken by Frank Leslie cannot be understated, both in an academic and real-world sense.

"The theory of liquid crystals that he developed with Jerry Ericksen has been of great interest to mathematicians, material scientists, physicists and engineers.

"However, it is since the invention of the Liquid Crystal Display flat-screen technology that the Ericksen-Leslie theory has been put to practical use.

'So influential'

"Engineers use the Ericksen-Leslie equations to optimise their flat-screen displays, making them thinner, faster and higher resolution.

"Chemists use the Leslie viscosities to help make new improved liquid crystal materials, which can be used for both displays and for other applications, such as in biology.

"Professor Leslie's research is so influential that if you look around, you will probably spot at least one screen - maybe the computer screen you have on your desk or the mobile phone in your pocket - that has been developed with the aid of his equations.

"More recently his theories have been used to understand how biological cells are created.

"Liquid crystals really are not just all around us, they are inside us as well, and where liquid crystals are, then so is the understanding that Professor Leslie's research has given us."

Professor Leslie gained a first class honours degree in Mathematics in 1957 from Queen's College in his native Dundee and undertook a PhD while working as an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Manchester.

He first met Professor Ericksen in 1966, during a sabbatical year at Johns Hopkins, while he was working at the University of Newcastle. He was appointed Senior Lecturer at Strathclyde two years later and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1995.

The Life and Legacy of Professor Frank Leslie lecture will be held in the Collins Building, Richmond Street, Glasgow, on 4 June.

It forms part of a series of events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Royal Charter which gave university status to Strathclyde in 1964.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites