Professor J. Thomas Beale Retires
Professor J Thomas Beale will retire from the mathematics Department in August after 33 years at Duke. A native of Georgia, he was an undergraduate at Caltech and earned his Ph.D. in mathematics at Stanford with the supervision of Ralph Phillips. He began his career at Tulane University and became a professor at Duke in 1983. He has supervised 10 graduate students in their work leading to their Ph.D.'s.
His research has centered on mathematical models of basic scientific problems, usually described by partial differential equations, such as fluid flow with moving interfaces. He has been interested in using mathematical analysis to understand the accuracy of numerical methods with the aim to improve their design, especially for those methods where solutions are represented by singular integrals.
Having been in the Mathematics Department for a long time, he is delighted with its current lively atmosphere, high quality, involvement in exciting trends in research, and especially the mixture of pure and applied approaches to math.
Even though he is retiring, Beale is still pondering mathematical questions and continue trying to shed light on some of them. He also hopes to improve his violin playing technique and explore the classics of chamber music.
Beale has two favorite pieces of advice about research. One is the old saying ``Necessity is the mother of invention.'' The other is the answer Linus Pauling, the famous chemist, gave when he was asked how he had so many good ideas: ``The way to have a lot of good ideas is to have a lot of ideas and to throw away the bad ones.''