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John Shepherdson, 1926-2015

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Submitted by Richard Zach on Fri, 01/16/2015 - 10:36am

Sad news from Philip Welch at Bristol:  John Shepherdson has died.

I deeply regret having to impart the very sad news that John Shepherdson died in Bristol on Thursday of an inoperable sarcoma.

John was a founder of the BLC (together with Robin Gandy if I remember rightly). His own work was in many areas, starting with set theory, then recursion theory (inventing the register machine in a paper with Sturgis), models of arithmetic, incompleteness phenomena, and towards the end of his career working on PROLOG and fuzzy logic. Besides all this, he made Bristol a centre for mathematical logic in the UK, with many prestigious visitors in the early years. In particular it became a training ground in the 50s, 60s for many who went on to academic careers, as well as in the 70's through its MSc in Mathematical Logic and Theory of Computation. He spent his whole working career at the Bristol department arriving there in 1946.

He always struck me as an exceptionally kind person, an amusing and intelligent companion to be with, and most modest, as well as self-effacing in the best sense. He will be much missed.

A fuller appreciation will be composed at some point. There will be no funeral, but his family have indicated there will be a Memorial Service or Occasion at a date in the future, when a full tribute can be paid to him.

Philip Welch