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In memoriam

William L. Hoyt

From obituary 

 

William Lind Hoyt, age 89, passed away on Thursday, September 14, 2017, in Madison, WI. He was born Sep. 8, 1928, in Nephi, Utah, the son of the late William Lorraine Hoyt and Vivian (Petersen) Hoyt.

Bill was a graduate of the University of Utah, and earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1958. He taught for six years at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, and spent the rest of his career on the math faculty at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. His research interests included algebraic geometry, elliptic surfaces, and modular forms.

 

Felix E. Browder

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Felix E. Browder, a renowned mathematics professor who completed his doctorate by age 20 and joined Rutgers as its first vice president for research in 1986, passed away on December 10, 2016, at his Princeton home. He was 89.He was currently a university professor in the School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick. Browder received the 1999 National Medal of Science, the nation's highest science and engineering honor. But he had been tainted by the association with his father, Earl Browder, a longtime leader of the U.S. Communist Party, according to The Washington Post.During a 1953 hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities, the Post writes that a professor at MIT, where Felix Browder earned his undergraduate degree at 18, testified that the younger Browder had never joined the party and “was the best student we had ever had in mathematics in MIT in the 90 years of existence of the institution.”Browder was cited by the National Science Foundation, which administers the National Medal of Science, for pioneering mathematical work in the creation of nonlinear functional analysis and its applications to partial differential equations. He was also recognized for serving as a leader in the scientific community and expanding the range of interaction of mathematics with other disciplines. Browder had served as president of the 33,000-member American Mathematical Society.

For more information, please visit:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/felix-browder-mathematician-shadowed-by-his-fathers-life-as-a-communist-dies-at-89/2016/12/15/4bc626da-c215-11e6-8422-eac61c0ef74d_story.html?utm_term=.5cbdd4827d72

 Abbas Bahri

Our colleague Abbas Bahri passed away on January 10, 2016 after four years of heroic fight against two forms of cancer.  

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András Hajnal

We are sad to report that András Hajnal, Andras Hajnalwho served as Director of DIMACS from 1994 to 1995, passed away on July 30 at the age of 85. Hajnal came to DIMACS after a 40-year career at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, and remained at Rutgers as a professor in the Department of Mathematics until his retirement in 2004 when he returned to Hungary.

He was elected in 1982 as member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and directed its Mathematical Institute from 1982 to 1992.  He served as general secretary of the János Bolyai Mathematical Society from 1980 to 1990, and president of the society from 1990 to 1994. His contributions to mathematics were recognized by prizes that include the Academy Prize in 1967, Tibor Szele medal from the János Bolyai Mathematical Society in 1980, and Middle Cross Merit Order Medal from the President of the Republic of Hungary in 2013.

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Martin David Kruskal

September 28, 1925 - December 26, 2006

Martin David Kruskal, one of the world's pre-eminent applied mathematicians and mathematical physicists, died on December 26, 2006, at the age of 81. He was the recipient of many honors during his lifetime, including the National Medal of Science awarded by President Clinton in 1993, the 2006 Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research and the Gibbs Lectureship, both from the American Mathematical Society, the Dannie Heineman Prize from the American Physical Society, and the Maxwell Prize from the International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics. He was awarded memberships in the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and foreign memberships in the Royal Society of London, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

Professor Kruskal worked at Princeton University from 1951-1989, where he initially joined the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and was a member of both the Astrophysics and Mathematics Departments. At Princeton, he was also the founding director of the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics. In 1989, upon becoming emeritus at Princeton, he joined the Mathematics Department at Rutgers University, where he held the David Hilbert Chair of Mathematics.

After receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago, Professor Kruskal received his Ph.D. under Richard Courant at New York University in 1952. He started his career at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory with Project Matterhorn, then a classified project, to produce controlled thermonuclear fusion. In the 1950's, he made a number of seminal contributions including Kruskal-Shafranov Instability, Bernstein-Greene-Kruskal (BGK) Modes, and MHD Energy Principle, which laid the theoretical foundations of controlled nuclear fusion and the then undeveloped field of plasma physics. In 1960, he developed the well-known Kruskal Coordinates (also called Kruskal-Szekeres Coordinates), used in the theory of relativity to explain black holes.

He is most famous for his role in starting the "soliton revolution," considered one of the great mathematical advances of the last half of the twentieth century. In an astonishing discovery, he and Norman Zabusky found nonlinear waves that behave in many ways like linear waves, which they termed "solitons." Solitons are now known to be ubiquitous in nature, from physics to chemistry to biology. Their unique properties make them useful for communications, such as in undersea, fiber optic cables. They have even been seriously suggested as the basis for computing (soliton computers).

Professor Kruskal and his colleagues also devised an ingenious method to solve the equations underlying solitons, later called the Inverse Scattering Transform (IST), which has had a profound influence on both pure and applied mathematics. Until that time, nonlinear partial differential equations were thought to be essentially unsolvable.

Professor Kruskal's passion for research was legendary. Colleagues who worked with him understood that his day often began in the afternoon and ended when most people were having breakfast. Almost invariably, his research did not end with the proof, but continued until the subject was clarified to his complete satisfaction.

In later years, Professor Kruskal devoted himself to the study of surreal numbers, while continuing to work on nonlinear partial differential equations. He is also known among magicians for his invention of a card trick called the "Kruskal Count." Over the years, Professor Kruskal mentored generations of young mathematicians, and he continued teaching and publishing until the end of his life.

Professor Kruskal came from a family of mathematical siblings. His older brother, William Kruskal, was a statistician, best known to the public for the Kruskal-Wallis test, which is part of every major statistical computation system. His younger brother, Joseph Kruskal, is well known for Kruskal's Algorithm in computer science, the Kruskal Tree Theorem on well-quasi-orderings, and the formulation of Multidimensional Scaling.

Martin Kruskal is survived by his wife of 56 years, Laura Kruskal; three children, Karen, Kerry and Clyde; and five grandchildren.

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Department of Mathematics

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