British mathematician Richard K. Guy dies at 103

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Richard Kenneth Guy, a British mathematician who has published over 300 papers in various mathematical fields, died on Monday at 103 years of age.

Guy in 2005 (Image: Thane Plambeck)

Guy was a mathematics professor at the University of Calgary prior to his death. He retired in 1982 but continued to regularly work at the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. In October 2016, the university celebrated Guy's 100th birthday. He was also an original director of the Number Theory Foundation.

Guy has been associated with the discovery of a pattern called a "glider" in Conway's Game of Life, a cellular automaton — a discrete model consisting of a grid of cells — devised by mathematician John Horton Conway around 1970.

From roughly 1948 to 1951, Guy was the endings editor for British Chess Magazine and involved in almost 200 endgame studies. He was a co-inventor of the GBR code system for representation chess piece positions.

Guy and his wife Nancy Louise Thirian had three children, including computer scientist and mathematician Michael J. T. Guy. In his personal time, Richard Guy practiced mountaineering.