George Neville Watson (31 January 1886 - 2 February 1965) was an English mathematician, a noted master in the application of complex analysis to the theory of special functions. His collaboration on the 1915 second edition of E. T. Whittaker's A Course of Modern Analysis (1902) produced the classic "Whittaker & Watson" text. In 1918 he proved a significant result known as Watson's lemma, that has many applications in the theory on the asymptotic behavior of exponential integrals.
His Treatise on the theory of Bessel functions (1922) also became a classic, in particular in regard to the asymptotic expansions of Bessel functions.
He subsequently spent many years on Ramanujan's formulae in the area of complex multiplication, mock theta functions and class numbers, and for some time looked after Ramanujan's lost notebook. His interests included solvable cases of the quintic equation. He introduced Watson's quintuple product identity.
He was educated at St Paul's School, as a pupil of F. S. Macaulay, and Trinity College, Cambridge. There he encountered Whittaker, though their overlap was only two years. He became Professor at the University of Birmingham in 1918, where he remained until 1951.
Watson was elected to the Royal Society, and in 1946, he received the Sylvester Medal from the Society.
He is sometimes confused with the mathematician G. L. Watson, who worked on quadratic forms, and G. Watson, a statistician.