Person: Apostol, Tom
Tom Apostol was an American mathematician who specialised in analytic number theory and wrote one of the best-known books on analysis.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- By this time he had decided that his Greek name was not right in America, so he called himself Mike Apostol.
- Apostol and his three siblings all had to help out picking up and delivering the laundry.
- Helper was growing larger and, just as Apostol finished sixth grade, they opened a new Junior High School.
- Grade 7 mathematics was arithmetic with business applications which Apostol did not enjoy, learning nothing new.
- At this stage Apostol's favourite subject was chemistry, but he had broad interests.
- At this stage Apostol had an excellent chemistry teacher who had just graduated from the University of Washington, Seattle, so he decided that he would like to transfer there.
- Apostol also took Zuckerman's number theory course, Clyde Myron Cramlet's differential equations course, Thomas McFarlane's complex variable course, and Roy Martin Winger's projective geometry course.
- For his Master's Degree in mathematics, Apostol was advised by Zuckerman.
- Apostol wrote a Master's thesis on magic squares extending work by Derrick Norman Lehmer.
- Although Apostol would have liked to remain at the University of Washington and study for a Ph.D. with Zuckerman, he was advised to go to the University of California, Berkeley, and study with Derrick Henry Lehmer, Derrick Norman Lehmer's son.
- In 1946 Apostol met Jane when the two were both working for the Adlai Stevenson presidential campaign.
- For his first year at Berkeley, 1946-47, Apostol was supported by a special scholarship for students from Utah while in his second year of research he was employed as a teaching assistant.
- Although MIT was a good place, Apostol was quite keen to get back to California.
- Apostol began publishing papers in 1950.
- To many mathematicians, Apostol is best known as a writer of high quality textbooks.
- Only after the year did the question of who would write the book arise and, since Apostol had the experience and was keen to do it, he became the obvious choice.
- The book began as a series of notes that Apostol produced, following the ideas they had already discussed, for delivering the first year course, and then the second year course.
- Apostol's other famous two-volume work is on analytic number theory.
- In 1974 Jane Apostol began publishing research articles, mostly on South Pasadena local history.
- All her research articles were republished in the 2012 book Jane Apostol: Collected Works, edited by Tom Apostol.
- There is one other project that Apostol undertook which we must mention.
- Apostol received many awards for his outstanding contributions, especially for his mathematical exposition.
- Also in 2010 the Mathematical Association of America inducted both Tom and Jane Apostol into their Icosahedron Society, which recognises those who have shown extraordinary generosity to the Association.
- When the American Mathematical Society instituted the class of "Fellows of the American Mathematical Society" in 2012, Apostol was one of the inaugural class.
- Apostol retired in 1992 but continued to live in Pasadena with his wife.
- Tom Apostol was a great human being and mathematician, and an inspiration to many.
Born 20 August 1923, Helper, Carbon County, Utah, USA. Died 8 May 2016, Pasadena, California, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive