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Francis Dominic Murnaghan (mathematician)

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Title: Francis Dominic Murnaghan (mathematician)  
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Francis Dominic Murnaghan (mathematician)

Francis Dominic Murnaghan (August 4, 1893 – March 24, 1976) was an Irish mathematician, former head of the mathematics department at Johns Hopkins University. His name is attached to developments in group theory and mathematics applied to continuum mechanics (Murnaghan and Birch–Murnaghan equations of state).[1]


Murnaghan was born in Nationalist MP representing Mid Tyronne constituency. He graduated from Irish Christian Brothers secondary school in 1910, and University College Dublin with first-class honors B.A. in Mathematical Sciences in 1913. He then moved to Johns Hopkins University where in 1916 he obtained a Ph.D. under supervision of Harry Bateman and later Frank Morley. He then lectured at Rice University, and returned to Johns Hopkins in the rank of Associate Professor at the young age of 25. In 1928 he was promoted to Professor and became only the fourth head of the Department of Mathematics (after J.J. Sylvester, Simon Newcomb and Frank Morley). After his retirement in 1949, he worked at the Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica near São Paulo, Brasil, but returned to Baltimore in 1959. He continued working as a consultant for the Marine Engineering Laboratory; his last publication appeared in 1972.

Murnaghan was a member of US National Academy of Sciences, American Philosophical Society, Royal Irish Academy, and Brazilian Academy of Sciences. He wrote 15 books, some in English and some in Portuguese, and over 90 papers.

He is the father of Francis Dominic Murnaghan, Jr., former U.S. federal judge. Irish politician Sheelagh Murnaghan is his niece.


  1. ^ Lewis, D. W. (2003). "'To the Glory of God, Honour of Ireland and Fame of America': A Biographical Sketch of Francis D. Murnaghan". Mathematical Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 103A (1): 101–112.  
  • R.T. Cox, Francis Dominic Murnaghan (1873-1976), Year Book of the American Philosophical Society (1976), 109-114.

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