Tributes and Condolences

I first met Ailsa in 1950 when we are both in our late 20s. Our experience of life before then was very different. I well remember meeting with Ailsa when the two of us, Ralph and I, joined the research division of LSE. We joined after graduating. When we came into the common room Ailsa welcomed us, saying ‘the twins have joined us at the research division!’. As twins we had been known to walk about; always together, as Ailsa said, ‘almost as if we were as if we were Siamese twins’. We met again frequently as researchers, working in the statistical machine room, pounding our machines and gradually kind of friendship developed but nothing very deep. If there was going to be one it wasn’t clear whether it was going to be Ralph who is interested or me. But it turns out it was me. I invited her to the LSE Valentine’s Ball at the Royal Festival Hall and after the ball I took her home. I lived in North West London. She was in East London. I remember having to walk through part of Epping Forest to get to her house. And I never left it! Our initial physical attraction evolved gradually as we shared our lives. It became increasingly about companionship and above all we shared values, political and social.  And that sharing of values continued throughout our life and it actually meant, at one point, that it would’ve been possible for us to take on a political life rather than an academic research life. We shared values in most things to some extent but not entirely. One thing I missed was the fact that she had a tin ear and I love music. But by and large we saw things with the same eyes. And then we started to have a family. We became deeply engaged with our family and we tried to make sure that the children were part of our lives and not that there was ‘Us and the Children’. We went on many trips and holidays. Some of you may remember them. We had the invaluable help of Ann who bonded with the children in a marvellous way and that is still the case today. We spent years going on so many trips. More recently we went to Antarctica, Botswana and so on. We always had this sharing of the way we felt about the world. We felt that an important part of life is to be tolerant. I think we have to be more tolerant of people’s mistakes. Our children have remained close to us as we age.  And I have to say this: we didn’t ‘age’ until comparatively recently. I remember very vividly on my 90th birthday party at the LSE, there is no doubt that Ailsa was the most handsome woman there!

Frank Land (transcript of impromptu speech at family memorial event)

‘The Guardian’ 14th June 2021


The “branch and bound” method that Land devised with her colleague Alison Doig (later Alison Harcourt) in 1960 “reshaped the landscape of mathematical programming”, in the words of the Operational Research Society. It is now a fixture of courses in maths, computing and statistics that have applications to real-world problems, and continues to be deployed in engineering, logistics and military operations. Land pursued her interest in such problems in the course of an academic career that took her to a professorship at the London School of Economics in 1980, the first woman in the UK to hold such a post in operational research. Her early upbringing had made her fiercely self-reliant, and being one of very few female academic leaders at the LSE fazed her not at all.

Excerpt from obituary in ‘The Guardian’ by Georgina Ferry

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I was fortunate to be able to spend time with Ailsa in the last week of her life. As the covid restrictions set a limit of just one visitor per patient, I was allowed to see her for regular visits when she was admitted to hospital, and I’m really glad I could be with her during that time. Although the infection had made Ailsa confused, we were still able to share some moments together. We chatted about what people in the family were up to, and she was most happy smiling looking at photographs of her great grandchildren Otter and Lumi. I’m comforted to know that during her time in hospital she was relatively content, not in pain, was treated well by staff, and we were able to be together. Ailsa had a fulfilling career; in that way she was well ahead of many women of her time. We as children were lucky that despite her working full time, she had wonderful people to help look after us and the house, Ann, and Grace. Friends coming to visit would be amazed by Ailsa, seeming so totally different from their mothers, who on the whole were not working and tended to be a bit more strict. Ailsa’s modern, laid back approach to motherhood was enviable. Ailsa had a strong work ethic and was passionate about her job and research at the LSE. One of the pluses of her academic career path was that it allowed her to have long summer holidays and we had some glorious camping holidays with the motor caravan, being away for weeks at a time in Europe. Holidays that I’ll never forget. We also went on some wonderful walking holidays in the UK. I particularly remember walking on the Pennine Way and when little 5 year old Margi was struggling to cope with the steep hills, Ailsa motivated her by saying “You’ll be the highest girl in England!” Given Ailsa’s reluctance to go for walks in later years, and Margi and mine’s struggles in encouraging her to go out, it’s easy to forget that she was actually the one that motivated us in the past! Sometimes during the school holidays when she was busy working at the LSE I remember that it was a real treat to get up early with Ailsa and Frank, drive with them to work and have a big breakfast of bacon and eggs in the café near LSE. Later I would sit with her in her office and there would be a constant stream of students and academics popping in to ask for her help and looking back on it now I can see how much she was respected there. During term times, despite being so busy with work, she always made time to spend time with us and help with homework, particularly maths which I found so difficult, and she was endlessly patient with me. I remember one holiday, her helping me take photographs of monasteries for my school history project. Another memory is getting caught up in the excitement for preparing for the large student parties she would put on at our house. The alcohol would flow freely, and it gave us all an insight into another world. After she retired and moved to Devon there were lots of happy family occasions which she seemed to always really look forward to and enjoy. Even in her late 80s she was still travelling about and being adventurous. Only several years ago, I went with her and Frank and Margi on a boat trip around the Scottish islands. Ailsa was not walking much by that time, but she and Frank always won the evening quiz, her mind as sharp as ever. I was pleased to be able to move to Totnes to spend some time with her in the last couple of years. Covid slightly restricted what we could do but we were able sometimes to take her out to restaurants and go for walks to Dartington which she was always enjoyed. This was the time when I heard most about her life as a child and young adulthood. I remember her saying, maybe after a couple of glasses of wine, that the day I was born was the happiest day of her life!

Frances Place (daughter)

Land obtained her PhD from the London School of Economics in 1956, her dissertation was entitled An Application of the Techniques of Linear Programming to the Transportation of Coal, supervised by George Morton. After securing a position as Research Assistantship in the Economics Research Division at LSE in 1950, Land progressed through the ranks of research assistant, lecturer, senior lecturer, reader, and then chaired professor. Ailsa is most known for her development, along with Alison Doig, of what later came to be called the branch-and-bound method for optimisation problems with integer variables. Their work was published in Econometrica in 1960. The method is now the most prevalent solution method for NP-hard optimisation problems. Land was awarded the Harold Larnder prize by the Canadian Operational Research Society in 1994 for achieving international distinction in operational research. A student award at the London School of Economics, the Ailsa Land Prize, is given annually in her honour.

Excerpt from Ailsa’s wikipedia page

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Over the past couple of weeks, as the many lovely tributes to Ailsa have come in, filling in details of the Ailsa’s remarkable achievements and her impact on academia, society and people’s lives, my pride and respect for her has only grown. Much of what I’ve read focusses on Ailsa’s academic and technical prowess in her chosen field of Operation Research and Mathematical Programming. I can’t add much to this and I tend to remember her for some some of her lesser known talents: her creative vision and artistic skill. In fact, I was lucky enough to get a small taste of working professionally with Ailsa when, as I was at a loose end, having recently graduated with a degree in Architecture, she suggested I help her to automate, on her newly acquired Apple II computer, a fiendishly complex timetabling problem that she had agreed to take on as an annual task (involving multiple schools and hundreds of students wishing to attend ‘English Association’ events). I had no experience of computers or programming so it was all completely new to me. I suspect Ailsa, in her usual pragmatic way, was hoping this might help guide me on to a new and more fruitful career path in the growing field of IT (which it did). I thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with Ailsa over several months, learning to program and, more importantly, seeing Ailsa’s approach to solving complex problems. It seemed to me that this involved a combination of a clear-sighted identification of sub-problems, applying some ingenious (and somewhat mystifying) techniques she’d honed from her years in OR and a fair amount good old-fashioned trial and error! But this was probably the only time I ever got close to overlapping with Ailsa’s professional preoccupations and, apart from her futile attempts to help me with improve at maths at school (a dismal failure) I didn’t really ‘know’ that side of her. Where we did seem entirely on the same page was when we were inventing, designing and making things. For as long as I can remember, Ailsa was in charge of all things DIY. Frank would be on hand (with me as his little assistant) to follow instructions; sawing, drilling, nailing and going to the scary hardware store to buy materials. I remember helping to build ingenious DIY additions, designed by Ailsa, for our tiny, under-powered motor home that faithfully transported the family the length and breadth of Europe on many a happy holiday. As I got older, we designed things together (including a very clever, convertible sofa bed for Frances and lightweight camping gear – all worthy of further development). That inventive ingenuity clearly preceded me by a long way. Ailsa told me stories about how, as a young couple in the 1950s, she and Frank converted their ancient 1933 London taxi into a sort of camping vehicle and Frank has just described a wonderful (if somewhat hazardous) home-made teasmade that Ailsa invented and constructed around the same time. She rigged an alarm clock to an electric kettle(!) and when the clock hands reached a certain point it switched on the kettle as well as ringing the alarm. I could never manage to emulate Ailsa’s elegant handwriting and she drew beautiful sketches of her ideas and designs. She was also a keen home movie maker and she approached this with the same thoroughness and creativity as her other projects; setting up a little editing suite where she would spool through yards of super 8 footage, picking out the good bits and splicing them into mini epics about our holiday adventures. Had Ailsa not chosen the path she did, I’m sure she would have made a success of being an engineer, product designer, or architect. In fact, as teenager, she fully intended to study Architecture at university. Along with her obviously demanding career at LSE, her endless DIY projects and bringing up three children, Ailsa also managed to fit in hosting fairly frequent social events at home (including the memorable – and occasionally quite wild – LSE student parties) and opening up the house as the local Labour party HQ whenever there was an election (a brave but futile exercise in South Woodford – right next door to Winston Churchill’s constituency). I don’t know how she fitted it all in but, clearly, she was highly driven and energetic. That restless energy took us to America in 1976 where she and Frank purchased an old American style motorhome (also underpowered but much more luxurious) and drove us from the Philadelphia to Los Angeles and back (via Canada). In her retirement, always hungry for another challenge, I remember she amused herself not by whiling away hours solving Sudoku puzzles by hand but by writing a program to solve them! Ailsa was a remarkable and inspiring person but she was also very loving, kind and thoughtful with a wry (and often self-deprecating) sense of humour. I think she had a happy and fulfilling life.

Richard Land (son)

2021 EURO Gold Medalist
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Emeritus Professor Ailsa Land. Professor Ailsa Land, a pioneer of Operational Research, had been nominated for the Euro Gold Medal and, in fact, has been confirmed as the laureate for 2021. We will arrange for the award to be presented posthumously at the Opening Session of the hybrid EURO Conference in July 2021. Our thoughts are with the family at this sad time.

EURO – The Association of European Operational Research Societies

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Ailsa, my mama has been with me for almost 60 years and I always knew that there was so much about her that I simply didn’t know. I have memories, rather like Frances and Richard of staying with her in her office, playing with reams of computer cards and paper and being amazed at the constant flow of colleagues and students. There was a while when Ailsa seemed be the ruler of one floor of the LSE and Frank had the floor above (I’m not at all sure if this is accurate) and I was incredibly proud of her as I would rush between the floors. I have to confess that I was never too clear about her work but I was aware of the fact that she was extremely dedicated to it. Of course, as Frances has written about, we were also blessed with the LSE Christmas parties when we were very young and then later the wonderful student parties put on at our home by my parents. Ailsa was a genius at creating wonderful food in bulk for these affairs. Her coleslaw was unsurpassed and her deserts were the best! I remember a time when Ailsa (and Susan Powell?) had written their book and we had pages laid out around the living room. They had to be collated in order. This is a vague memory but I remember that it was extremely important. Ailsa had other things that she was dedicated to; The Labour Party (consequently more parties) and CASE which was the campaign to stop the 11 plus. She endlessly took us around the local area, leafleting and canvassing for these worthy causes. Needless to say, the CASE campaign didn’t win in time for my 11 plus which I succeeded in only passing by the skin of my teeth. More important in ways are my memories of Ailsa, my mother at weekends and holidays. Weekends were often filled with gardening and socialising. Holidays were much more important we had long, sometimes exciting trips around Europe in the little Comer van. Ailsa and Frank sharing in the sometimes hair raising drives up and around the mountains to view beautiful churches and amazing museums. Ailsa used to do anything to encourage us, sometimes on long, long walks, she would always find ways to keep us going. I think she did so much planning to make our holidays work as well as they did. She was a master inventor, always finding amazing practical solutions to problems. My memories are filled with my mother and many of the wonderful things she did for us but perhaps the most important for me was when I was about to give birth to her first grandchild and Ailsa requested that she could come along and witness the birth “from the other end”. I was in labour for 3 days and I seem to remember that Ailsa managed to stick it out for the whole time. She wasn’t going to miss the main event. Ailsa has been a wonderful and loving grandmother (always known to all as AILSA) to my children and those of Frances and Richard. She has been particularly delighted with the advent of her two great grandchildren, Otter and Lumi who will both miss her sorely as they really love their AILSA. During the last few years of Ailsa’s life I have become closer to her as she has moved to live closer to me and I’ve been able to help out with many of the obstacles that growing older presented. I was terribly sad and frustrated that I couldn’t visit Ailsa in hospital but I was constantly outside the room while Frances was visiting her. We were able to call messages to each other on occasion. I know that she knew of our love and that she died peacefully.

Margi Knight (daughter)

Together with Alison Doig, she published pioneering work on branch-and-bound in Econometrica, work whose influence continues to this day. Indeed, according to Google Scholar, there have been close to 3900 citations to this Econometrica paper.

Excerpt from ‘In memory of Ailsa Land (1927 -2021)’ by Douglas Shier – Professor of Math Sciences, Emeritus Clemson University in ‘informs Connect’

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Memories of (Auntie) Ailsa Growing up back in 1960s, we spent many weekends and school holidays over at our cousin’s house, and we always relished those opportunities and retain fond memories of endless hours and days of fun and adventure. Ailsa was our cousins’ mum of course and like everybody else, we just called her Ailsa and never dared address her as Auntie, that just wasn’t the way at Ailsa and Franks home!! We remember Ailsa as a very easy going and welcoming person – nothing seemed to be a bother or to be an inconvenience, and so there was always a sense of almost boundless freedom. There are those little things we also remember – such as the slice of apple and chocolate droplets that Ailsa would always bring to Richard and ourselves just before bed. And the odd gadgets and new technologies that we would receive as Christmas presents, which for sure Ailsa was involved in selecting. Indeed, even in those early days, we were aware of Ailsa’s intellectual curiosity, fascination with puzzles and problem solving and her efforts to have that rub off on her children and even us. Fast forward until we reached teenage years in the mid-1970s, we spent some months living with Ailsa and her family as a transition back to the UK from living abroad. Once again, we were welcomed with open arms and felt again very much home. Indeed, Frank and Ailsa’s did feel like a second home. In adult life those childhood impressions were re-confirmed. Though our interactions were less frequent, we would always find Ailsa exactly as we remembered her from earlier times, welcoming, unfussed and seemingly just content to see everybody get on with what they wanted to do.

Bryan and Anthony Land (nephews)

Ailsa is especially well known for her development, along with Alison Doig, of what later came to be called the branch-and-bound method for optimization problems with integer variables. Their groundbreaking 1960 work, published in Econometrica, has since been extensively cited and applied by the mathematical programming community. Indeed, most serious implementations of OR optimization software include branch-and bound routines. It is significant that Ailsa was not content with methodological contributions alone. She devoted much effort to the parallel development of computational tools for efficient solution of such problems. Indeed, she was on the forefront of computational OR, in which well-tested computer code is implemented, taking into account both theoretical considerations and efficient data structures. A significant work of this nature is the 1973 book Fortran Codes for Mathematical Programming: Linear, Quadratic and Discrete, written jointly with Susan Powell. Her computer codes for data envelopment analysis and for the traveling salesman problem were all made freely available to the optimization community. She has the distinction of being the first woman professor of operational research in Britain, and at the LSE she mentored both master’s level and PhD students, several of whom have achieved international distinction.

Excerpt from ‘informs – Biographical Profile’

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I am so sad that we have lost Ailsa. I have really enjoyed delving into Ailsa’s writing. I can tell that she really enjoyed her life. She had a lovely childhood and loving parents, an exceptionally successful career and a husband and family she adored. Ailsa wrote that her mother often told her that she was very lucky. A couple of Christmases ago, after a typically generous and large family meal out, we ended up back at your flat, making merry. She sat in her usual chair and looked around the room at her family. Then she turned to me and said, ‘What a lovely bunch of people. I’m so lucky.’ I feel we were the lucky ones to have her in our life. I will truly miss her.

Lesley Gordon (daughter-in-law)

Gill Foot (neighbour and friend)

Professor Ailsa Land (1927-2021) was an Emeritus Professor of Operational Research at the London School of Economics. She received her PhD in 1956 under the supervision of George Morton. In a pioneering work with Alison Doig, in 1960 she introduced the branch-and-bound method, which is to this day at the heart of all commercial solvers, and one of the most widely known methods in optimisation. The prize is awarded annually for the best overall performance by a student on the MSc Operations Research & Analytics. The prize consists of £250 and a book chosen by the Department. The winner(s) of the prize are selected by the Sub-Board of Examiners.

Excerpt from LSE Mathematics – Prizes – ‘The Ailsa Land Prize’

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I am deeply sorry for the loss of our dear Ailsa. When I was living in London I was feeling her as my second mother. Always honest, fair, kind, cooperative and giving chances and freedom to develop to new colleagues. I followed all her advices concerning my professional and personal life. She was the person that inspired me to do a PhD and follow the academic career. She has chosen me after the MSc in OR to start my PhD under her supervision and work as teaching assistant.   I remember her in the last meeting we had in Athens (few years ago near Acropolis for lunch) how much cared about my career and trying to give advice, with always a critical mind, to family and academic issues.   In my difficult but wonderful time at LSE you and dear Ailsa was my second family. Both cared so much about all of us in the department and of course you and Ailsa were the ideals to follow as academics and father/mother.   Ailsa was a great colleague and a true mother figure for all of us at LSE.   Lina and I send you our warm greetings to you and to your large wonderful family. As we say in Greek ‘you should always remember her’.

George Doukidis (PhD student)

Graduating in 1950, Ailsa became a Research Assistant in the Economics Research Division at LSE. In the same year she met her husband-to-be, Frank Land, who was also an LSE graduate and Research Assistant in the Economics Research Division, and they married in 1953. Alisa’s academic interests were and remained ‘activity analysis’ and its application, in today’s terms mathematical programming, scheduling and optimization. Her PhD was awarded in 1956 on the application of Operational Research techniques to the transportation of coking coal. Her LSE career developed over the next 25 years as she progressed from lecturer to professor, in 1980, and head of the LSE Operational Research group. She and Frank, who was LSE professor of Information Systems, raised a son and two daughters, and their family grew with 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grand-children. She retired from LSE in 1987 but continued to work on optimization problems. In her words at the time, ‘Now I’m retired I can do some research!” Among Ailsa’s major academic contributions is the Land-Doig algorithm for branch and bound optimization with integer variables, work undertaken with Alison Doig, now Alison Harcourt. Professor Richard Steinberg, Chair in Operations Research in the Department of Management writes about the Land-Doig algorithm: “It is used to solve mathematical optimization problems where the solutions need to be whole numbers, which includes an enormous number of important practical problems. The naïve approach to such problems is to enumerate every possible solution and then choose the best one, a Herculean, often impossible, task. Branch-and-bound is a devilishly clever enumeration procedure that eliminates large swathes of inferior solutions in one go, often saving huge amounts of computation time and, in many cases, making an otherwise-unsolvable problem solvable. Ailsa’s paper with Alison on branch-and-bound, published in Econometrica in 1960, has been cited and applied literally many thousands of times.” Ailsa was the first woman in the UK to hold a full professorship in Operational Research. In the 1980s, she was a rare woman professor role model at LSE. She led the Operational Research group confidently, avoiding institutional entanglements and creating a research environment that allowed her, her colleagues, and her students to pursue their intellectual interests. Her impact on the development of her discipline is underlined by the stream of PhD students, who rose to eminence world-wide. LSE now offers an Ailsa Land Prize for the best overall performance by a student on the MSc Operations Research & Analytics. The combination of impactful academic work, raising a happy family and being active in your community is a tall order. Ailsa showed us it can be done in a gracious manner, and her reassuring beautiful smile was precious source of encouragement and optimism for all of us lucky to have known her.

Excerpt from ‘In memory Professor Ailsa Land (1927-2021)’ by Chrisanthi Avgerou and Tony Cornford – Department of Management

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Please accept our condolences on Alisa’s passing. She lived such a fulfilling life and touched so many people. She will be deeply missed by many. 

Rich and Terry Schafer (family friend)

So sorry for your loss. We are fortunate to have such fond memories of Ailsa as a warm, effervescent person. May her memory be a blessing to you and your family. 

David and Stephanie Schafer (family friend)

We in the Mathematics and Operational Research communities at LSE are saddened by the loss of Emeritus Professor Ailsa Land who passed away on 16 May 2021. Professor Land played a pivotal role in the development of Operational Research and Mathematical Programming, and was one of the founders of the Operational Research group at LSE. Ailsa spent her student years and entire career at LSE. She enrolled as a BSc Econ student in 1946 and obtained her PhD in 1956. Progressing through the academic ranks, in 1980 she was the first woman to become a chaired professor in Operational Research in the UK. She continued her association with LSE as an Emeritus Professor and pursued active research work after her retirement in 1987. Together with her collaborators and students, Ailsa has made fundamental contributions to a wide range of optimization problems: quadratic programming, bicriteria decision analysis, statistical data fitting, data envelopment analysis and combinatorial auctions, to name a few. Ailsa’s relaxed and supportive style made the growing OR group a remarkably harmonious and collaborative venture. She established an active research group in Operational Research, supervising many masters and PhD students, many of whom rose to positions of academic leadership across the world. The Ailsa Land Prize is awarded for the best overall performance by a student on the MSc Operations Research & Analytics in the Department of Mathematics at LSE. Her work was recognised by the Harold Lardner Prize of the Canadian Operational Research Society in 1994, and by the Beale Medal of the British OR Society in 2019. Her achievements were celebrated at the Society’s Beale Lecture in February 2021. She will be the posthumous recipient of the EURO 2021 Gold Medal, the highest distinction within Operational Research in Europe, awarded by the Association of European Operational Research Societies.

Excerpt from ‘In memory of Ailsa Land (1927-2021)’ by Jonathan Rosenhead (Emeritus Professor of Operational Research) and László Végh (Professor of Mathematics)

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I see Ailsa is to be awarded the EURO medal. But she made so many contributions- family, friends, of whom we were fortunate to be included, her students, many colleagues and OR and math prog. The children don’t remember too much about our stay in England but they do remember a thoughtfully chosen Christmas present each and, of course, the canal trip.  Tim and I remember so much hospitality – from when you visited Australia, to London, Ivybridge and more recently in Totnes. Ailsa will be much missed by the many others you both befriended. We are all thinking of you and the family.

Professor Jenny Edwards and Family (Jenny & Tim, Cathy & David) (Colleague and family friend)

Illustrative of her breadth of interests, Land advanced other O.R. methodologies through publication of significant work on shortest path algorithms, quadratic programming, bicriteria decision problems, machine scheduling and statistical data fitting. After retirement from LSE in 1987, she continued with research projects, resulting in contributions to data envelopment analysis, combinatorial auctions and the quadratic assignment problem. In these and other research areas, her economics background and unique perspective often provided new and valuable insights.

Excerpt from ‘In Memoriam: Ailsa H. Land (1927-2021)’ by Douglas Shier – Professor of Math Sciences, Emeritus Clemson University in orms-today

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Hilary Caminer, (Hon Secretary LEO Computers Society, daughter of David Caminer)

It was only yesterday that we heard the sad news of Ailsa’s death and read the many positive obituaries  Please accept our condolences. Diva and I feel privileged to have known her and to have been made very welcome by her when we visited.   Our very best wishes to you  

Diva and Maurice Bonney (Frank’s LEO colleague)

It was with sadness we learned this week of the death in May of Ailsa Land, wife of Professor Frank Land – interviewee and LEO pioneer. Ailsa was notable in her own right and you can read more about her work at LSE and contributions to postwar Operational Research on our Reminiscences page.

Helen Carter for ‘Archives of IT’

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I’m so sorry to hear about Ailsa. She was an amazing person and the best grandma that I could have asked for. She will be missed.

Josh Burr (Grandson)

We have been incredibly saddened to hear of Ailsa’s passing, you and the family will be devastated by the loss of this remarkable woman you’ve had in your midst. It sounds like her passing was very kind on her with her wish fully granted. What a wonderful long life she had with her ever expanding family. We are now feeling particularly glad we managed a visit to you both in Totnes in 2019. Didn’t we have a lovely time, delicious meal and Ailsa spoke about her early days in Canada during the war, an only child of parents whose daughter must have filled them with enormous pride. I recall Christine and my parents too raving about her academic prowess at LSE (and yours too Frank!) and even though she was very high powered with a major position, she was a wonderful down to earth warm generous mother, wife and family member. I also remember when we were slightly lost young Kiwis in London, it must have been Christmas 1976, lonely with nowhere to go for Christmas dinner and Ailsa and you Frank asked us for dinner at your house with the entire family, the Puttys, Sosha and us. That was a very special Christmas with Ailsa calmy feeding many mouths. You are all very much in our thoughts and we send you our love with some very big hugs, keep in touch, Jilly and Derek xxx

Jill Rothwell (New Zealand relative)

Illustrative of her breadth of interests, Ailsa advanced other OR methodologies through publication of significant work on shortest path algorithms, quadratic programming, bicriteria decision problems, machine scheduling, and statistical data fitting. After retirement from LSE in 1987, she continued her association with the School as Emeritus Professor, carrying out a variety of research projects. Such studies resulted in contributions to data envelopment analysis, combinatorial auctions, and the quadratic assignment problem. In these and other research areas, her economics background and unique perspective often provided new and valuable insights.

Excerpt from ‘Ailsa H. Land, EURO Gold Medallist (1927–2021))’ by Douglas Shier – Professor of Math Sciences, Emeritus Clemson University in ‘ScienceDirect’

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Paula Thompson (Daughter of Bill and Jean)

I am so sorry about the death of your wife Ailsa. I cannot begin to imagine how you must be feeling after such a long time together. I’ve just been reading online about her impressive achievements in Operational Research, she was clearly a trail blazer. Best wishes Anna

Anna Page (Open University)

I was very sorry to hear from Frances that Ailsa had died. Frances told me that Ailsa had been not well for a while but these things are still a shock when they actually happen. I know how much the friendship with Ailsa and you meant to Marjorie and Len and how helpful you both were when they first set up home together with me in your house at Whipps Cross Road. That friendship was deep and long-lasting and Marjorie in particular would always keep me updated with your family news. I’m glad that Frances and I have kept in touch and now, perhaps as we both slow down a bit in work terms at least, we will be able to see more of each other and I shall try to make a trip to Devon to see her and you before too long. I hope that you are able to have a proper family commemoration in June. Frances has told me that there may be an LSE-based event later on to which friends will be welcome and I will certainly try to be there.

Bob Tivey (Back to Whipps Cross Road)

My heart is with you in this very sad time. I am so terribly sad for you. This farewell of your loved one, with whom you built up and shared for so many years your life, is the most painful of all. Ailsa’s wish was granted and that is for everybody involved a blessing. But for you dear Frank and all your children, Ailsa should have lived with you forever. May her soul rest in peace. Sending much love and a warm hug and wishing you all the strength you need now,
Also from Jonathan,

Claudia Landsberger (Frank’s relative)

Marie Smith (Ailsa’s cousin)

I am so sorry to hear about Ailsa. I met her in 1967 when she was teaching MP as a part of my MSc in OR. She was always interested in my academic work, helping when I asked for help. Even after retiring she would come up with a different way of solving any MP problem I was trying to solve in my research work if I discussed it with her. All her PhD students that I know have a very high opinion of her ability and her contribution to their later academic work. It was so good to read what you said to Doug after the Beale Memorial prize webinar. You said: ‘I knew Ailsa’s contribution had been significant but had not realised the tree that had grown out of that acorn and that it puts Ailsa’s feelings of doubt about the significance of her contribution to the deeper issues of society to rest. ’ I hope she came to the same conclusion herself. Even more importantly for me, her interest and encouragement of my political work, especially with fighting against anti-Muslim bigotry in India was of great value to me personally. As I got to know you it became clear that you were also of the same opinion and took a keen interest in what Ann and I were trying to do here and for Ireland and India respectively following our socialist principles. Ann and I also remember how kind you both were to us after the demise of our daughter. Like family members rather than academic colleagues. Please pass on my condolences to your children and grandchildren.

Gautam Appa (LSE colleague)

When we got to know about Ailsa being hospitalized, We hope she will make it and continue with her life. It was devastating today to hear that we’ve lost her.I will always remember her as a warm person, smiling and attending. I always admired your loving relationships. Well, being happily married for 70 years is an achievement, which may make your loss even harder. You can get a lot of comfort from your children, grand children and from the knowledge that she lived full and happy life. It is a big thing she departed from this world in her sleep after enjoying some time with her daughters watching her grand children photos.

Dalia Barnea (Frank’s Relative)

I remember being interviewed by Ailsa and taken on to look after six month old Frances as she was returning to work. Along came Richard followed by Margi with ten years passing by quickly. During this time we had an amicable time together. At a difficult period in my life Ailsa was most supportive, telling me there would always be a home in her family. Her legacy continues today.

Ann Collins (family friend)

John and Deidre Pope (Harford community)

I was so sorry to hear that Ailsa died this morning, though I know that we are all of a similar age and it is inevitable for us all. You’ve had a really long time together, by my reckoning at least 65 years and I’ve known you both for nearly as long. Memories are great for keeping us all going. I hope you keep well and I am sure you are well supported by children and grandchildren, maybe some great great grandchildren as well.

Mary Coombs (LEO colleague)

I’m so sorry to hear about Ailsa’s passing and know how much you will feel it after so many lovely long years together. I’m sure your family will rally round you at this sad time and I realise that no matter how much support you have, nothing can take her place. It sounds as her passing was peaceful, as she wanted it. I know you will see her again – death is not the end. I’ve had my share of loss and do understand, so please accept my sympathy and best wishes for the future. You are young at heart, you are strong, you can and will get through this sad time and you have lots of wonderful, good memories to go back to and family to keep you company. Keep your chin up.

Gloria Guy (LEO colleague)

Thank you so much for writing.  We are saddened rather than shocked or surprised by the news of Ailsa’s death.  So many of our friends and family members are disappearing.  We find we want to focus on the long and productive lives they have led, on the often wonderful children and grandchildren they have had – all of this and much more besides so relevant to our memories of Ailsa.   The sadness is for you and your loss of a lifetime companion, and you have all our sympathy.  

Eva Jacobs (Family friend)

John Daines (Frank’s LEO colleague)

I’m so so sorry to hear this devastating news. Ailsa sounds like such an amazing woman and our hearts go out to you and your family for your incredible loss. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help. Thinking of you all.

Naama Barnea-Goraly (Frank’s relative)

I am so very sad to see your message. Despite knowing it was going to happen soon it must still have been a shock and great sadness to you having been together for such a long time. It must be of some comfort that she is no longer suffering and was prepared to die and had such a long and successful life and that you had made the most of you long life together.
Thank you for saying that you will still participate in LEO activities, clearly we will all understand that for the moment this will be sporadic.

Peter Byford (LEO Computers Society)

I got the sad news from Peter. I am really sorry and I will call you in the next few days. A big hug from Italy.

Elisabetta Mori (LEO PhD student)

I have just received, via Peter, the very sad news about your wife, Ailsa.. Obviously you were both aware of the imminent future; but that cannot possibly diminish the raw emotion, and shock, of this morning’s phone call, that you received from the hospital. My very deep condolences, to you and your family.

Mike Storey (Frank’s LEO colleague)

Members of LSE IS Department (Frank’s LSE colleagues)

I am so sorry to hear. My most sincere condolences to you and your family.

Carsten Sorensen (LSE colleague)

Margi called me and told me the very sad news about Ailsa. I’m pleased that you have all three children with you and they will be a great support for you.  I have spoken to Tony and he has just sent me an emai to tell me he had spoken to youl.  We would like to come to the memorial for Ailsa in June and  I have already arranged to stay with my friend Sally so let me know the arrangements once you know what they are.  love to you Frank and take care. 

Sue Coles (Frank’s ex-secretary and family friend)

I am so sorry to learn this news, and I send you my heartfelt condolences. It was extremely kind of you to write at this time, as I can only imagine what a shock it must be, however much expected or predicted. Although I only met Ailsa several times over all these years, she featured large in conversations with Chrisanthi and others who have known you both so well. I remember her speaking of her joy at returning to pure research which she had not done since being a post doc, and really relishing the opportunity, without all the overheads attached to university life. I know her work has been significant and influential, but also her humanity and approachablity which I also experienced when you kindly invited me to stay. These are such cruel times, and I am glad you have family around you and nearby. If I can do anything at all, I hope you will let me know. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Catherine Griffiths (Frank’s AIT colleague)

So sorry to hear of the passing of Ailsa. She was a very amazing woman and I send you my deepest condolences. Warm regards.

Michele Knight (Margi’s ex-partner)

Sally Norton (Apple Wharf neighbour)

I’m so sorry to hear about Ailsa. To die in one’s sleep is a blessing of course but while you must be grieving and it must be such a hard time for you, she leaves behind 7 decades of memory and the wonderful family you have built together. I’m sure they are all there for you. It goes without saying that the OR academy has lost a doyen and she will be sorely missed by her community, I’m sure. It was so nice to see you both in Devon all those months ago after our return from the US. Hopefully, we’ll be able to travel again more freely as lock down is eased. Please let me know if you would like to chat at some stage. Take care – my thoughts are with you.

Bob Galliers (ex LSE colleague)

On behalf of everyone at CCH and everyone involved in our LEO project I to wanted to offer my heartfelt sympathies to you and your family on your sad loss of Ailsa. She was a remarkable woman and I’m sure she will be missed by many. She was incredibly kind to Jason and I when we visited you in your home back in 2019 and we feel honoured to have met her. You are in our thoughts.

Lisa McGerty and CCH (Frank’s LEO project colleague)

Our condolences to you and your family on the passing of your lovely and remarkable lady wife and mother .  We have many happy memories of time spent together.

Tommy and Polly Thomas (Senior Computer veteran and good friend)

We were sorry to hear of the passing of Ailsa. We send our sincere condolences, along with gratitude for your advice, wisdom and support offered to, and shared with, the Totnes CLP over the years.

David Matthews (chair of the Totnes Labour Party)

Jo Tims (Friend of Izzy)

This is a heartbreaking story. I am so sorry to hear of Ailsa’s death.  There are thousands of things to say, but no words in which to say them. You’re right about the esteem in which Ailsa was held.  I grieve alongside you and your children, who are really stepping up to help with everything.  If you can, could you please let me know about the web-based album, and anything else, including the tribute at the LSE later in the year.   Email is hardly up to the task here, and I will try to get something in writing to you. I am just so so sorry.  Thank goodness she had you as her life’s partner, and at her side as she died. Lots of love.

Sandra Cook (ex LSE student)

Catherine has just passed on the news that your wife has died. I would just like to say how sorry I am to hear this. Although I did not know Ailsa I have always had the impression that you were a very close couple so I guess that the loss will be a horrible blow. Please accept my sympathy and best wishes. This message is simply a gesture of moral support so please do not feel any need to respond.

Chris Sauer  (AIT colleague)

I hope this message reaches you. I have just read of Ailsa’s passing in the Guardian and I wanted to send you my deepest condolences at this time. I’m sure that nothing I can say can have the least impact on your feelings but I just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you at this time. I have such fond memories of the two of you in the garden in North London at the BBQ’s for the research students and staff. Stay safe and well. With much love,

Bob Wood (Frank’s Computing colleague)

Thank you for your email bearing the sad tidings about Ailsa. She was an incredible lady and must be a great loss to you. As I get older (91 in a few days) I the rate of such news is increasing and I see myself slowing down rather quickly. But I’m still standing and able to get out albeit with a walking frame. We send you our very best wishes at this difficult time.

Jack and June Gentle (Frank’s foster brother and Jack’s wife)

Kate Green (Totnes community)

I cannot tell you how saddened I was to get your news about Alisa. I wish I could say something that alleviates how you must be feeling, but such words do not exist. What would be good is if we could meet sometime and talk about this strange thing we call life. I wish you strength and assure you of sincere friendship.

Igor Aleksander (Frank’s AIT colleague)

What a sad news and what a wonderful woman. Please accept our heartfelt condolences.

Gilbert Laport and Ann (Ailsa’s PhD student)

I am writing to send my love and sympathy on receipt of your sad news.  You and Ailsa were an integral part of Harford for so many years, and I remember several visits to your lovely home at Stowford since arriving in the village in 2008.  I was full of admiration for your daring exploits!  I’m sure the support of your family will be a great comfort, and I hope that happy memories will help as time goes by. Rosemary Howell and Gill Foot are coming here for tea on Friday, so I’m sure we will be thinking of you then. With all good wishes,

Meg Foster (Harford community friend)

I am sorry for your loss. Ailsa was a truly wonderful lady, whom both Helen and I remember affectionately, although we met only few times. I think I understand that it must be very difficult to recover from the loss of a dear spouse, but still, work may help, I am sure.

George Rzevski (Frank’s colleague)

Fiona Almeleh (Apple Wharf neighbour)

So sorry to hear of Ailsa’s passing. I have so many fond memories of times with Ailsa – typically at conferences and involving good food, great company and fantastic conversations. My thoughts are with you at this difficult time

Edgar Whiteley (LSE colleague)

My condolences. Thank you for letting me know. Ailsa was an amazing role model for me. I have vivid memories of her handling confidently and calmly the SAMS departmental meetings when I joined the department back in 1985 – I was thinking at that time, I wish I become half as good as Ailsa in my academic career. And I also admired her for her family and for being such a lovely host, together with you, at the many times I visited your home. I’m afraid that losing her will be difficult for you, and you have my sympathy. I do hope that you will keep the nice memories and move on to a different pattern of the day and new experiences with the love of family and friends.

Chrisanthi Avgerou (LSE colleague)

I’m so sorry to hear this – you must be bereft after 70+ years, but I am sure you have many happy memories. I have vivid and good memories of our various – and all too few – meetings, particularly the days I spent with you when we had our ‘conversation’, and then in 2019. Griselda also sends her condolences.

Tony Bryant (Frank’s co-author)

I’m so, so, very sorry to hear this news. You will be missing Ailsa terribly. So many years of ups and downs and adventures together. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. I remember Ailsa for her kindness, her love for her family and her cheeky sense of humour. You were wonderful neighbours and we still miss Ailsa calling from the window. I hope Ailsa wasn’t in hospital for too long. We were hoping to visit you both in Totnes once lockdown eased, we will still arrange something once a busy time for you has passed. Elizabeth is out at the moment but I’m sure will want to be in touch separately. My sympathy to you Frank and your supportive family.

Nick McMahon (Stowford community neighbour)

My deepest condolences for the passing of your wife Ailsa (I just learned how it is actually spelled I always thought she was just Elsa). I learned to know of her little in my short visits in your house and some meetings in conferences but I can see that you jointly have been blessed with a long and rewarding life and one of the great reasons is naturally Ailsa and her support, wit and compassion. Hope you can cope with this significant loss.

Professor Kalle Lyytenen (Frank’s co-author)

Very sad news. Gil and I are thinking of you and the family. We keep many happy memories of Ailsa and you.

John Howard (LSE OR colleague)

Tony Cornford just informed me that Ailsa died the other day. Sally and I are so, so sorry to hear that. She was a great teacher, great mother, great colleague, and great friend. We will miss her dearly. Please stay strong, you know you always have our friendship and support. With deepest sympathies,

Rudy and Sally Hirschheim (Frank’s PhD student and family friend)

I was deeply moved by the sad news. Ailsa will continue to accompany us in her own unique, Influential and friendly way throughout our life-long journey. I am confident that you will find the strength to overcome This hardship. With all my love and affection,

Takis Miliotis (Phd student)

I was so sorry to hear that Ailsa had died. It must create a void in your life. I first met Ailsa in about 1972 when I asked her to give a talk to the Mathematical Programming Study Group of the OR Society. I then met her regularly at meetings and conferences. She was, of course, one of the major figures in OR and Mathematical Programming in particular, Her background in Economics with the emphasis on interpreting the practical implications of MP models was a valuable contrast to mathematicians emphasis on algorithms. However her interests seemed later to shift to the computational side. When I joined LSE (after she had retired ‘to spend more time on research’) I got to know many people who had been intellectually nurtured by her as students. She had a lasting influence on LSE and the wider community. Again my deepest condolences.

Professor Paul Williams (LSE OR colleague)

I am very saddened to hear this. Please accept my sincere condolences to you and the whole family. Ailsa was a great scholar and her contributions to mathematical optimisation will be remembered by generations to come. Operational research at LSE also remains as her legacy and she will be always remembered as the founder of the group. It was truly a honour for me to have the opportunity to meet her in person, and to help her share her remarkable experiences and thoughts with the OR community in the interview. You and Ailsa were very kind to me and I wish I had more chances to meet her again. Gautam also wrote to me and we will prepare eulogies for LSE and other venues; I’ll share these with you. After more than 70 happy years together, it must be a very difficult time for you. Please accept my best wishes,

Professor Laszlo Vegh (LSE OR colleague)

Thanks for letting me know. Sadly I never got to know Ailsa well, my most frequent contacts was her answering the phone and calling out ‘Frank’ when I rang. That said, I know how important to you she has been throughout your long marriage and the support you have been to each other throughout those years. That’s of course wthout mentioning her many public achievements. I am glad to hear that her last days were peaceful and relieved to hear you are getting the much needed love, comfort and support from your family. With my deepest sympathy Live long

Mike Cushman (LSE colleague)

I was saddened to hear the news of Ailsa’s passing earlier this week, and I’d like to pass on the condolences of the Society and of the Operational Research community as a whole to you and your family. Ailsa was a key figure in the academic world of OR and beyond, and as such, leaves behind a huge legacy for this and future generations of analysts in the subject area. Her award of the Beale Medal in 2019 is testament to this. The Beale lecture in February this year demonstrated just how far and wide Ailsa’s influence has been, and will continue to be. I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Ailsa, but reading the supporting material at the time of her Beale medal nomination, gave hints of a wonderful personality. She is, indeed, a sad loss to us all. An obituary will appear in our news magazine in due course, and I’ll be happy to send you a copy.

Gavin Blackett FORS (OR Society)

I am so sorry. Gautam told me yesterday. Only when I heard the news did I realise what a large place she occupies in my life – despite not having actually been with you both now for several years. I told Rosa yesterday, and she also was really upset. You and Ailsa occupy a big place in her childhood, which was after all some 40 years ago. I have been wanting to contact you since I heard from Gautam but was not sure how to find the words.

Jonathan Rosenhead (LSE OR colleague)

I am heart-broken to learn of the death of our loved and wonderful Ailsa. I trust that you were able to have all your family present, and that each was able to give comfort to others. With deepest sympathy to all members and friends of your family.

Alison Harcourt (Doig) (Co-author)

Like everyone else I was shocked and deeply upset by Ailsa’s death. But although in some ways it seemed most untimely as I guess it always does, at her age and given her generally failing health, retaining one’s dignity to the end may matter more than the precise timing of the event. Whilst I would very much like to be able to do justice to Ailsa in this tribute, I am mindful that I may fall short in this. I shall however have every opportunity to meet with you and share memories as we are really near neighbours, though Covid has somehow somewhat disguised this….. I should also say that it is difficult for me to pen any tribute to Ailsa without it also being a tribute to you Frank. Partly because nearly all the time I spent with Ailsa was time also with you; partly because of the nature and strength of you and Ailsa’s relationship and partly because of depth of the support you gave to her, particularly in the last, difficult days, but also throughout the 30+ years I knew you both – and doubtless the other 20 odd beyond that…. I cannot, I fear, remember my first meeting with Ailsa. It must have been in about 1979, when my relationship with Frances became ‘serious,’ as they say. I do remember, about that time, garden parties at Manor House, always with a banquet of food, including Ailsa’s legendary trifles; the swimming pool, which was, of course one of Ailsa’s enthusiasms, and certainly a great facility for us, and, later our children. The beginning of a long series of family events in which I experienced the hospitable side of Ailsa’s nature…including holiday times with the children at Northlew, family Christmases and memorable family holidays in the Highlands Center Parcs, France and only a couple of years ago (?) our stay at Abbotsford in the Scottish lowlands. I suppose what Ailsa brought to these events (apart from the obvious fact that they were largely financed by her and you) was not so much a matter of practical hospitality, but more, if I may put it this way, a kind of intellectual hospitality. Her conversation and ideas, based as they were on a powerful intellect but also a broadminded willingness to explore and discuss, were always a source of, well, inspiration for me in kind of way; helping one to cope with this world we now inhabit in all its contradictions, which she saw so clearly. A kindred spirit, I always felt, in terms of her attitude to the world, and her politics. As you know I have come out as a fully paid up ‘doomster, gloomster’ in the Johnsonian contemporary context. This is, I think, essentially equivalent to the ‘mature depressive position,’ described by psychoanalyst Melanie Klein as the only really valid way for adults to be in our world. That was the kind of maturity which I feel underpinned Ailsa’s personality, her advice and opinions, and indeed her way of conducting personal relationships. Something upon which I often relied. Ailsa was of course my mother in law, but nothing could be more different in my experience from the stereotypical cartoon/cliché characterisation of that relationship. For me marrying Frances joined me to a very different family to my own. This was also true of my sisters, in different ways, but in their cases it was highly problematic. My parents’ conservative attitudes towards sexual relationships and marriage were already becoming problematic in the 60’s and when Andrea first married. Her marriage – in Camberwell Registry Office to Mike who was ‘unemployed, divorced, ten years older than her and a member of the communist party’ – as my mother once put it caused huge ructions in the family. To the extent that Melanie was so concerned by our parents’ response to her marriage that she married secretly – my parents first heard of the marriage via Gilles’ mother! I think it really helped my parents to come to terms with the attitudinal changes associated with the 60’s that you and Ailsa were able to provide a model of acceptance of those changes, well more than that you were in the vanguard – of things like living together before marriage, that they – and many of their generation really struggled with for years. Ailsa expressed her regret, recently, that she had not had the chance to get to know my father better. I have no doubt they could have got on, and the fact that Frances was able to get on with my father (not everyone could!) owed much to her experience of the kind of relaxed family relations that characterised the Land family. So in a way that aspect of Land family life spilled over into relationships within the Place family. My wedding to Frances (at Leeds Castle you may remember), paid for by you and Ailsa, Frances pregnant with Adam at the time, was not only the one successful such event for my generation of my immediate family but it also heralded an easing of relationships between the Place family generations generally. I am not, of course, in any way qualified to comment on Ailsa’s academic distinctions; I am aware that plenty of others are and have. Whilst that aspect of her life was much of a closed book to me I was always intrigued by her sometimes wry, reflections upon academic life and relationships and grateful for the unique insight that gave me into that world of yours. I could not but be impressed by the range of her reading. I was surprised watching the recent ‘Informs’ video to hear her say that as an undergraduate at the LSE she received ‘disastrous marks’ in history and geography, given the wide range of her reading in the humanities, which has so often informed my own choices; she was always a reliable source of reading recommendations. As I approach the autumn of my own days I shall always value the time I was able to spend with Ailsa; I only regret that over the last year + – having come to Totnes to be able to spend more time with you and her we were so restricted by the pandemic. I like to think I was to her something more than a competent mixer of a Campari soda! It is good that there are so many different records relevant to her life and work available and in preparation: she certainly will not be forgotten. For our children, and their cousins I know her memory will continue to be an inspiration as they make their way in this difficult world. Otter and Lumi will one day learn to be as proud as they have become fond of their great grandmother. Death is so sad, but life must go on.

Charles Place (Son-in-law)

I am so sorry to hear that Ailsa has died after such a very short hospital stay. I can’t begin to imagine how it must feel to lose a life long partner of such unique qualities. I first met Ailsa around another hospital bed. Frances was pregnant with Adam and so poorly she had had to be admitted to the local maternity hospital, Canada House. Charles had asked me to visit and he himself was away for the week on a course for his work that was apparently unmissable. I knew no more that that but found myself under interrogation from Ailsa on exactly where Charles was. She was very direct during that first meeting, and obviously concerned for her daughter’s wellbeing. Both of those qualities, that directness and her total commitment to her family remained evident in all my subsequent, (rather easier meetings), with her. My next meeting was at Charles and Frances’ wedding when I discovered that Ailsa was really rather amazing compared with most other women of her generation that I knew. She came across as clever, independent and quite inspirational to me at that time as I was a young woman just embarking on a career and a family. No one in my family had done that in the generations above us so Ailsa was a shining light. Gilles also remembers her from that particular occasion as he was being called upon to give a speech which terrified him but Ailsa was on hand to provide the answer. He still remembers his feelings of gratitude and relief towards her. My later meetings with her just strengthened those early impressions of being in the presence of someone forthright, intelligent and kindly. It is very sad to think she is no longer bringing those attributes into the world. Heart felt condolences.

Melinda Place (Sister of Charles)

We were very sad to hear about Ailsa’s death from Charles. Our meetings with Ailsa were infrequent but always enjoyable going back to 1986 when we had just got back from Mozambique and we were invited for supper to your house in Manor House. We joined a full table of several generations of your family. Since then we attended many more of these family reunions in different parts of Britain and even here at Brandeau in France. Ailsa was always a benign and smiling presence at these events and we always enjoyed talking to her. We realised she was very brainy but it’s only recently we discovered what an important and admired scientist she was. We were fascinated to watch an interview she gave in 2019. Looking very handsome and nothing like 90, she talked about her early life and the beginning of her career at LSE. It can’t have been easy to achieve what she did as a woman with a patchy education at that time We felt very priviliged to have known her and wished we had been more aware of what she achieved. Your feelings of losing Ailsa after 70 years together are hard to imagine. You have our profound sympathy.

Andrea and Fearn Gray (Sister of Charles and partner)

As you know me, I can only say I am sorry that your wife is no longer with us. And that I did not have the chance to see her and you together in recent times. A dear family member is always a great loss and I hope your children, grandchildren and great-grand childern will help you to live through this sad time. Also, if I may say so, I’d love to be in touch with your children Frances, Richard and Margi and we can continue to keep the connection alive. my thoughts are with you.

Lucy Ryder (Frank’s relative)

Sue and I send our sincere condolences to you and your families and if there is anything we can do to be of help or assistance to you or them then do please let us know. Between us Sue and I have both lost our partners so we really do understand how you and your families must be feeling at present. On one of the Fridays when we are in Totnes we will pop in to see you. Meanwhile love and best wishes from us both.

Sue Siddal and Max Winterbottom (Stowford community neighbours)

Margi let me know about Ailsa. I am so sad to hear this news. Ailsa was a kind, warm, vibrant, cheerful person; I liked her very much. She had a fulfilling and happy life, with you, her soul mate, with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and with her work. She and my mother were great friends and I got to know a lot about Ailsa’s younger life and the time she and Elizabeth spent together in bedsits as students, and then at Whipps Cross Road through research for my book and reading Elizabeth’s diaries. Ailsa was also so helpful and generous in writing down her memories of her childhood and student days and sharing them with me – valuable and interesting material that went into the writing of my book. She also gave me photos of herself, her mother & father and other family members, which I was able to scan and include in the book. I well remember the weekend I spent with you some 15 or more years ago in Ivybridge when we talked about the family and you were both so welcoming – and Frank, you cooked a fabulous meal, delicious steak. The last time I saw Ailsa was at your 60th wedding celebration in Devon, as I unfortunately couldn’t make your and Ralph’s 90th birthday. It’s a weekend that I will always remember – great to see everyone and again, both of you so generous in your hospitality. It was quite emotional to see the films of us all as young children, including a few snippets of dear little Chris. I hope you are OK, Frank. I can’t imagine how it feels to lose your life-long partner. I hope we can all meet up later in the year – Margi mentioned a possible gathering in the summer. I send you my love,

Cathy Giles (Daughter of cousin Elisabeth)

So sorry to hear the news about Ailsa, our thoughts are with you and the family. Lots of Love,

Adam & Aala (Grandchild and partner)

Very sorry to hear about Ailsa today. Thinking of you and hoping to come very soon for a visit. Love XX

Emma Place and Edis (Grandchild and partner)

I’m so sad and sorry to hear about Ailsa. I heard that Richard is coming down too today and I imagine things are a bit hectic right now but I’ll call later this afternoon to see how you all are… Once things are more clear for plans for funeral/memorial service etc I will organise to come back to the UK as I’d really like to be there for any events that happen. Sorry I’m not able to be there right now but I’m reassured to know that Margi Frances and Richard are all there. Antonio’s also very sorry and sends warm wishes. Love

Chloe Place (Grandchild)

Adding my condolences and wishes. Richard, through Tony, had told me what a difficult time Ailsa had been going through of late. One feels the loss deeply but I know the family is pulling together around you. Lots of love

Bryan Land (Nephew)

I am so sorry for your loss. Please accept my sincerest condolences. Please may I have your permission to share this sad news with my colleague Viet-Anh, as I am sure she will also wish to pass on her condolences? Kindest regards,

Sophia D’Angelico (LSE office colleague)

Belatedly, I’m so sorry to learn of Ailsa’s death. I watched an interview of Ailsa on YouTube today. She was so humble about her achievements, despite becoming the first professor of OR in Britain and having mentored and taught hundreds of students throughout her lifetime. I am sure the School will want to commemorate Ailsa’s memory once things are open more fully and travel can resume back to ‘normal’ levels. Sending you my sincerest condolences in the meanwhile. Take care and warmest wishes,

Viet-Anh Hua (LSE office colleague)

Thank you so much for reaching out and letting us know, and please accept my heartfelt condolences to you and your Family. I have passed your message to the Director, who I know will want to personally write to you in the coming days. If you’d allow, colleagues here at the School would like, in due course, to find a good way to celebrate Ailsa’s life and contribution to the LSE community. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time,

Marta Gajewska Executive Assistant to Baroness Shafik, LSE Director (LSE office colleague)

We’re so very sorry to learn of this news and send our deepest condolences to you and your family.

Clare – LSE Department of Management (LSE office colleague)

I am sorry to learn that Ailsa has passed away. May she rest in peace. My condolence to you and your family.

Professor T.H. Tse (Frank’s Hong-Kong student)

I am very sad to hear about Ailsa. Thinking about her I hear her voice and see her. I am very grateful for the ideas, help and support she gave me.

Susan Powell (Ailsa’s co-author)

Ailsa Land was one of the most significant innovators in the techniques of Operational Research, and a major figure in the development of Operational Research education in the United Kingdom. Her work on the branch-and-bound method in integer programming introduced an approach that is still a cornerstone in mathematical optimisation. She was also the lynchpin for 30 years of the MSc programme at the London School of Economics, one of the first such courses in the country. When she received her Chair in 1980 she was the first woman to become a full professor in Operational Research in the United Kingdom, and we are unaware of any earlier such appointment worldwide.
It was her pioneering paper with Alison Harcourt (ne  Doig), published in Econometrica in 1960, that introduced what later came to be called the branch-and-bound method in integer programming. This paper led to the first successful computer implementations for integer programming and played a pivotal role in the rapid development of mixed-integer programming. Sixty years on, it is still a key principle in contemporary integer programming solvers and methodologies and is a staple topic in any mathematical programming course. Land and Doig has been cited, and applied, many thousands of times.
Together with her collaborators and students, Ailsa made fundamental contributions to a wide range of optimisation problems, among them quadratic programming, bicriteria decision analysis, statistical data fitting, data envelopment analysis and combinatorial auctions. Her 1955 paper with George Morton was one of the early works to study the travelling salesman problem, and she continued to make significant contributions towards this problem over decades.
From the beginning of her career, she was engaged in applying the newly emerging mathematical programming techniques to practical problems. Her PhD thesis applied linear programming (also known as activity analysis at the time) to a coal transportation problem, and the branchand- bound method was motivated by a model of refinery operations for British Petroleum.
Ailsa was also a pioneer in computational Operational Research. Once computers became available at the University of London and then at LSE, she started developing well-tested and robust computer implementations of important optimization methods. Her 1973 book Fortran Codes for Mathematical Programming: Linear, Quadratic and Discrete, jointly with Susan Powell, made their computer codes freely available to the OR community, an early example of open shared code and its creative documentation.
In the late 1950s, together with her LSE colleague George Morton, she initiated a two-year diploma, soon transformed into a masters degree, in Operational Research in collaboration with the British Iron and Steel Research Association. Their graduate trainees formed the initial core of students on the degree. This was one of the first two postgraduate degrees in OR in the country and in its 60 years of existence several thousand students graduated from it.
The OR group staff grew steadily in size, and Ailsa established an active research group, supervising numerous masters and PhD students, many of whom rose to positions of academic leadership around the world.
Ailsa’s relaxed and supportive style made the growing OR group a particularly harmonious and collaborative venture. Personally, she was remarkably successful in avoiding involvement in academic politics and committee work whether within LSE or in the wider OR world. Had she not taken early retirement in 1987 it would have been her turn to head the larger department, Statistical and Mathematical Sciences, within which OR was then embedded. As it was she could say “Now I’m retired I can do some research!” – which she continued actively to do.
Ailsa Land (nee Dicken) was born and grew up in the West Midlands. She also spent some of the war years in Canada with her mother and they both enrolled in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps. After the war, she spent her student years and her entire career at LSE. She enrolled as a BSc Econ student in 1946, obtained her PhD in 1956, and occupied, in turn, every academic rank from Research Assistant to Professor, after which she continued her association with LSE as an Emeritus Professor pursuing active research work.
It was at LSE in 1950 that she met her fellow research assistant Frank Land. They married in 1953, and their family grew to a son and two daughters, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, who survive her. Frank was a pioneer in information systems research and is Professor Emeritus at LSE.
Ailsa’s academic achievements have been recognised by the Harold Larnder Prize of the Canadian Operational Research Society in 1994, and by the Beale Medal of the British OR Society in 2019. LSE now offers the Ailsa Land Prize for the best overall performance by a student on the MSc Operations Research & Analytics. She will be the posthumous recipient of the EURO 2021 Gold Medal, the highest distinction within Operational Research in Europe, awarded by the Association of European Operational Research Societies.

Ailsa Land (1927 – 2021) – OBITUARY by Jonathan Rosenhead and László Végh in July Issue of ‘Inside OR’