7th Sep 1934-24th Mar 2004
CALCULUS: a branch of mathematics that studies chance using equations. Calculus is used in physics and engineering to explore phenomena such as speed (change in distance over time) and pressure (the relationship between force and area).
PARTIAL DIFFERENTIAL EQUATION: an equation that investigates two or more independent variables, i.e. quantities that change. Common examples of these variables include distance, time, and friction. These equations are used among other things to investigate magnetism, radiation, and the flow of liquids.
PROFESSOR EMERITUS: an honorary position given to a distinguished retired professor who continues to teach.
As a teenager, Headley was a bookworm. He once walked to the local standpipe, reading a library book, while carrying a full basket of household items. Forgetting that he was not holding a bucket, he then placed the basket under the tap!
Caribbean Icons in STI Volume 2
Professor Emeritus Velmer Headley had a special gift for mathematics and, in particular, calculus. He was a dedicated mathematics educator for more than 30 years and published in prestigious journals including the Journal of Mathematical Analysis & Applications.
Velmer Bentley Headley was born in Mile and a Quarter Village in Barbados on 7th September, 1934. He was a quiet child who got along well with his siblings, studied hard and was helpful to his friends. He was a bright student with a unique sense of humour. He attended All Saints’ Boys Primary School, Parry Secondary School and the prestigious Harrison College, where he excelled. He taught briefly at Coleridge and Parry secondary schools before pursuing university education. He was awarded the Second Grade Exhibition, the First Grade Exhibition of the Ministry of Education and the Armstrong Scholarship, earning a place at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona in Jamaica. While studying for his bachelor’s degree in mathematics, he taught at the secondary school, Munroe College.
He graduated with honours and proceeded to Canada where he enrolled at the University of British Columbia. He focused on differential equations for his master’s degree, completing it in 1967. He went on to obtain his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Mathematics at the same university one year later. After finishing his doctorate, he joined the then fledgling Brock University in Ontario, Canada.
For the next 32 years, he lectured and conducted mathematical research, serving as Chair of the Department of Mathematics, a member of the University Senate and a two-term president of the Brock University Faculty Association. His research on partial differential equations helped to provide new perspectives on, and improve the understanding of, this important branch of mathematics, and attracted attention from mathematicians around the world. One of his papers was published in the esteemed Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society and another was presented at the Second World Congress of Nonlinear Analysts. After his retirement, Professor Headley was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus.
Besides being a brilliant mathematician, Professor Headley was also known for his exceptional singing ability since his teenage years. He was a regular soloist with the Niagara Symphony and an occasional recording artist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In his later years, he sang at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Buffalo, New York.
After a long battle with illness, Professor Emeritus Velmer Headley died on 24th March 2004 at age 70. At the time of his death, he had begun work on a book on differential equations.