Elected F.R.S. 1993
For the last decade of his life, David Crighton was the undisputed leader of the applied mathematics community in Britain. He made penetrating research contributions to the subject of aeroacoustics, which involves the emission and control of aircraft and engine noise, to our understanding of the propagation and evolution of linear and nonlinear waves and to the excitation of structural vibrations. He was a widely respected scientific administrator, working imaginatively as the chairman or president of many national and international committees. He was the enlightened editor of prestigious international journals and founded a series of texts in applied mathematics. At the time of his death from cancer at the tragically early age of 57, he was in addition filling with distinction the roles of a visionary department head and a much loved Master of Jesus College, Cambridge.Despite these heavy administrative burdens and his research schedule, David exuded warmth, gregariousness and a selfless interest in the careers of others. He seemed to have unlimited amounts of time to help and motivate his colleagues. He also found time to run regularly and to develop his prodigious knowledge of music, particularly the works of Wagner, on whose operas he was an international authority.