September 21, 2020

A Conference and Memorial Service in honour of
Professor Emeritus George F.D. Duff

Friday, September 21, 2001
10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Hosted by
The University of Toronto, Department of Mathematics
The Fields Institute
The Canadian Mathematical Society
The Family of Professor Emeritus George F.D. Duff


10:00-3:30 p.m. Conference, Room 230

10:10-10:15 a.m.

Opening Remarks

10:15-11:15 a.m.

Professor I. Michael Sigal
Norman S. Robertson Chair in Applied Math., University of Toronto

11:30-12:30 p.m.

Professor George A. Elliott
Canada Research Chair in Mathematics,University of Toronto

2:30-3:30 p.m.

Professor Emeritus Louis Nirenberg
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences

4:00-5:00 p.m. Memorial Service, Room 230
5:00-7:00 p.m. Reception in the Atrium

To attend please contact the Event Coordinator at 416 348 9710 ext. 3018 or by email


George F.D. Duff was born in Toronto, July 28, 1926, the son of George Henry Duff and Laura (Denton) Duff. George Henry Duff was a distinguished botanist, becoming Professor of Botany in the University of Toronto and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada; Laura Duff was an attorney. George received his high school education at University of Toronto Schools and entered University of Toronto in 1944. He graduated in 1948 and remained in Toronto for his master's degree, writing a thesis on quantum mechanics under Prof. Leopold Infeld. He undertook his doctoral work at Princeton University, writing a thesis on ordinary differential equations under Prof. S. Lefschetz, receiving his Ph.D. in 1951.

After a year at MIT as a Moore instructor, he returned to the University of Toronto in 1952 as Assistant Professor and remained there, except for sabbaticals, for the rest of this career. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1957 and to Professor in 1961. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1959 and served as Chair of the Mathematics Department from 1968 to 1975.

His research interests ranged from elliptic partial differential equations to wave phenomena and hyperbolic partial differential equations. In the early 1970's, George became interested in the phenomenon of the tides in the Bay of Fundy and in the possibility of harnessing them for power production. In all, George published over sixty research papers in top mathematical journals and several books. He was a thesis director for a total of 12 graduate students.

In his long and active career he served the University, the Province of Ontario, the Department of External Affairs, as well as the worldwide mathematical community in many roles. He was editor of the Canadian Journal of Mathematics and of the Mathematical Reports of the Academy of Sciences, Royal Society of Canada. He was the tenth president of the CMS and Honorary President of the Ontario Association of Mathematics Teachers. In 1994, he was awarded an honorary LLD from Dalhousie University. He retired in 1992, but remained an active member of the department for the remainder of his life.

The family wishes to endow a graduate scholarship in Mathematics in George's name. Donations may be made to the University of Toronto, Department of Mathematics.