The death occured in July of James Lighthill who was President of ICMI from 1971 to 1975. Lighthill was one of the leading applied mathematicians of the century and a phenomenally gifted person. After taking a two-year B.A. at Cambridge during World War II, Lighthill went to work at a government scientific laboratory. Shortly after the war ended he moved to Manchester University where, in his early twenties and without a research degree, he was immediately appointed as a Senior Lecturer. In 1950, at the age of 26, he became Professor! In his 30s he left university work to be Director of the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough and after a succesful period there returned to academic life in the 1960s. He later held Newton's old chair at Cambridge before becoming Provost (Rector) of University College, London.
Lighthill's contributions to mathematics education were mainly made in the 1960s and 1970s. He was on several important committees in England and in addition to being President of ICMI at the time of the second International Congress on Mathematics Education (Exeter, England, 1972) he was also Chairman of its Organising Commit-tee. Several seminars were supported by ICMI during his term of office, the most important probably being that, held jointly with UNESCO, at Nairobi, Kenya (1974) on "Mathematics and Language". Lighthill also gave the opening plenary talk at ICME 3 (Karlsruhe, Germany).
Lighthill was, amongst his other attainments, a great linguist - one interest of his was Portuguese literature. Two of his favorite hobbies, however, were music, he was a keen pianist, and swimming. During his life he made many long distance swims and it was on one of these, round the Island of Sark (in the Channel Islands) that he suffered a fatal heart attack.