Ernest Keeping

(1895-1984) Professor in the University of Alberta Mathematics Department; Edmonton Centre member; Service Award 1965.

ERNEST S. KEEPING (1895-1984) came to the University of Alberta from England in 1929. Though his background was in theoretical physics, he joined the Mathematics Department where he taught until 1970, nine years after his retirement as Head of the Department. "Frank" Keeping took an interest in Astronomy, spending the summer of 1945 doing research on Wolf-Rayet stars at the DAO. His wife, Dr Silver Keeping, and their three-year old son, John, accompanied him to Victoria.

He was the first Vice-President of the Edmonton Centre when it formed in 1932 and went on to be elected President the following year, Secretary in 1936 and Librarian in 1940. He was the Centre's Honorary President from 1955 on.

Professor Keeping was often the main speaker at meetings of the Edmonton Centre. His topics covered a very wide range, but his interest in the historical side of science was evident in his speeches on the occasion of Eddington's death in 1933 the tercentenary of Newton's birth (1942), and the centenary of the discovery of Neptune (1947). He wrote short histories of the early years of the Edmonton Centre and of the Mathematics Department at the University of Alberta.

Two trips were especially memorable for him—one to view the Solar Eclipse of 1963 with other RASC members in Fort Providence, NWT, and the other a voyage to the Galapagos Islands in 1971. Much earlier in his life, during World War I, he had served in Iran and Iraq. Over 100 images of his wartime duties are in the U of A Archives.

The Society honoured Keeping with the Service Award in 1965. The University of Alberta conferred an Honorary LL.D. degree on him in 1972.

Peter Broughton (from Looking Up)

Further Reading

Keeping, Ernest E.