Allan Joseph Champneys Cunningham

Based on the obituary by A.E. Western, J. London Math. Soc. (1928) 317-318

Allan Cunningham was born in 1842 in Delhi. His early career, after military training in London, was with the East India Company's Bengal (later Royal) Engineers. He was Instructor in Mathematics at the Thomason Civil Engineering College, Roorkee, from 1871-1881. After returning to England in 1881, he held various teaching appointments at army establishments in Chatham, Dublin and Shorncliffe. He retired from the Army in 1891.

The remainder of his life was devoted to the Theory of Numbers, his interests being confined to Fermat's theorem, residues of powers, quadratic and higher reciprocity and quadratic forms. He applied his studies in these areas to factorising numbers of the form an ± bn. This included Mersenne numbers 2p-1 and Fermat numbers 22n+1 and he was able to find new factors. He was a skilled computationalist and produced copious tables in this area. Some of these tables include:

Cunningham died in London in 1928 at the age of 86. He left a legacy to improve methods of factorising large integers. This legacy was later taken up by A.E. Western, whose Table of Indices and Primitive Roots was written with J.C.P. Miller.
Cunningham's name lives on in the Cunningham Project.

For a list of Cunningham's publications, see The Jahrbuch Project.

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Last updated at 26th February 2003