Frank Matthews Leslie was born in 1935 in Dundee, Scotland. He entered Queen’s College, Dundee, then part of the University of St Andrews in 1953, and graduated in mathematics in 1957. He was awarded the Ph.D degree in 1961 for a dissertation on non-linear fluid motion at the University of Manchester, where he had already been appointed as assistant lecturer. Following his Ph.D. he spent a year in America at MIT, before returning to England as a lecturer in mathematics at the University of Newcastle.