Eric Temple Bell  

Born 
February 7, 1883 Peterhead, Scotland 
Died 
December 21, 1960 (aged 77) Watsonville, California 
Residence  United States of America 
Nationality  Scottish 
Fields  Mathematics 
Institutions  University of Washington California Institute of Technology 
Alma mater  Stanford
University Columbia University (Ph.D.) 
Doctoral advisor  Frank Nelson
Cole Cassius Keyser 
Doctoral students  Howard Percy Robertson Morgan Ward 
Known for  Number theory Bell series Bell polynomials Bell numbers 
Notable awards  Bôcher Memorial Prize (1924) 
Eric Temple Bell (February 7, 1883 – December 21, 1960), was a mathematician and science fiction author born in Scotland who lived in the U.S. for most of his life. He published his nonfiction under his given name and his fiction as John Taine.
Contents 
He was born in Peterhead, Scotland, but his father, a fishfactor, moved to San Jose, California in 1884, when he was fifteen months old. The family returned to Bedford, England after his father's death, on January 4, 1896. Bell returned to the United States, by way of Montreal in 1902.
Bell attended Stanford University and Columbia University (where he was a student of Cassius Jackson Keyser) and was on the faculty first at the University of Washington and later at the California Institute of Technology.
He did research in number theory; see in particular Bell series. He attempted—not altogether successfully—to make the traditional umbral calculus (understood at that time to be the same thing as the "symbolic method" of Blissard) logically rigorous. He also did much work using generating functions, treated as formal power series, without concern for convergence. He is the eponym of the Bell polynomials and the Bell numbers of combinatorics.^{[1]} In 1924 he was awarded the Bôcher Memorial Prize for his work in mathematical analysis. He died in Watsonville, California.
In the early 1920s, Bell wrote several long poems. He also wrote several science fiction novels, which independently invented some of the earliest devices and ideas of science fiction.^{[2]} Only The Purple Sapphire was published at the time, under the pseudonym John Taine; this was before Hugo Gernsback and the genre publication of science fiction. His novels were published later, both in book form and serialized in the magazines.
Bell wrote a book of biographical sketches titled Men of Mathematics, (one chapter of which was the first popular account of the 19th century woman mathematician Sofia Kovalevskaya) and which is still in print. The book inspired many people to take up mathematics, though later historians of mathematics have disputed the accuracy of much of Bell's history. Bell romanticized Évariste Galois. His treatment of Georg Cantor, which reduced his relationships with his father and with Leopold Kronecker to stereotypes, has been even more severely criticized.^{[3]}
Bell's later book, Development of Mathematics has been less famous, but Constance Reid finds it has many fewer weaknesses. The Last Problem is a hybrid, between a social history and a history of mathematics.
