Some while ago we had a question about mathematicians patenting their work Examples of mathematicians who applied to patent their work I was about to answer when I realised I needed to find a reputable source for my answer. I failed.


Some time in the 1970s I attended a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Nottingham, UK. I attended a talk on sphere packing given, I am almost sure, by John Conway. It began with a crate of fruit to demonstrate lower dimensions but then proceeded into higher dimensions. In the course of that part I remember him mentioning that someone had applied for a patent for a method of information transmission based on 8-dimnesional sphere packing.

Searching for further information is made slightly more difficult because internet searches tend to be dominated by the work of Maryna Viazovska for which she was awarded the Fields Medal (For the proof that the $E_{8}$ lattice provides the densest packing of identical spheres in 8 dimensions). However I have also found that one method of error correction in information transmission, the binary Golay code is based on the Leech lattice which is the basis for the sphere packing solution in 24-dimensions.

What I have been unable to establish is whether anyone did indeed try to patent the 8-dimensional solution or whether my memory after all those years is failing me.


1 Answer 1


Thanks to a pointer from terry-s to search in https://worldwide.espacenet.com/ I have now found the patent.

Leslie Connock Jesty applied on 21 August 1968 for a patent: Application number 24073/68 at The Patent Office London

"This invention results directly from solutions of the mathematical problem of the efficient packing of n-dimensional hyperspheres in n-dimensional hyperspace. The invention is applicable to methods of coding communication signals to increase their information content. It can be used for example to increase the rate at which information can be transmitted through a given transmission channel without significantly increasing the bandwidth or the signal to noise ratio of the system"

It provides other examples of possible applications.

The internet does not provide a great amount of detail about him sadly. A genealogy site reveals that his middle name Connock was his mother's maiden name. He was born in 1907 and died in 1988.

Further searching reveals some publications (thanks to Google Scholar). One which gives a good picture of his interests is a joint paper with G T Winch published in 1937 in the Transactions of the Illuminating Society (now known as Lighting Research and Technology). Entitled "Television images An analysis of their essential qualities" it considers contrast, range, brightness, definition, size, presentation, colour or tint, and flicker. Of course in 1937 broadcast television was in its infancy so he was a pioneer. He also seems to have applied for many more patents about the development of television.

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    $\begingroup$ Glad you found it. Leslie Connock Jesty appears to have been a fairly prolific inventor in the field of television, a bit of a TV pioneer, it seems. He filed patents related to various aspects of television from the 1930s to the 1960s, assigned to, for example, General Electric Company Ltd., Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company, Ltd., and Sylvania Thorn Colour Television Laboratories. He also has a bunch of publications under the name L. C. Jesty and from this I can see that he had B.Sc. and D.Sc. degrees. He went to the US in 1962 to work for the Westinghouse Corporation, returning in 1967. $\endgroup$
    – njuffa
    Nov 1 at 3:16
  • $\begingroup$ In 1975 L. C. Jesty retired from his Research Fellowship at Chelsea College, University of London to become a freelance consultant. $\endgroup$
    – njuffa
    Nov 1 at 3:21
  • $\begingroup$ L. C. Jesty: summary of his birth record is here, summary of his death record is here. From the latter, his date of birth was August 14, 1907. $\endgroup$
    – njuffa
    Nov 1 at 4:57

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