Person: Carlitz, Leonard
Leonard Carlitz was an American mathematician who published more than 700 papers mainly in finite field theory, number theory and combinatorics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Michael Carlitz sold coffee in Philadelphia and, later, ran a tobacco store in the same city.
- Leonard attended school in Philadelphia and his remarkable academic talents were clear at this time.
- On completing his Master's degree, Carlitz remained at the University of Pennsylvania to study for his doctorate which was supervised by Howard H Mitchell (a student of Oswald Veblen).
- Carlitz replied: "During his lifetime Gauss gave seven different proofs of this result.
- Immediately after the award of his doctorate, Carlitz received a National Research Council Fellowship which let him spend a year at the California Institute of Technology working with E T Bell.
- They had two sons Michael Carlitz, born in 1939, and Robert D Carlitz born in 1945.
- Michael Carlitz became a IBM computer programmer while Robert became a University of Pittsburgh physics professor.
- In a way he was lucky for two members of the Mathematics Department at Duke University, Joseph M Thomas and John H Roberts, both had connections to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and learnt first hand about Carlitz's talents.
- This changed when Thomas and Roberts were appointed, in 1930 and 1932 respectively, who were then able to add Carlitz in 1932.
- His supervising professor there reported that Carlitz "so far excelled the other students here as to be literally in a class by himself." Only the "serious financial situation" at Pennsylvania, the professor explained, kept them from offering Carlitz a position there, and he was being considered at several major universities.
- Thomas, Roberts, Gergen and Carlitz taught almost all the mathematics graduate courses at Duke University until the 1950s.
- Carlitz remained on the Faculty at Duke from his appointment in 1932 until he retired in 1977.
- Carlitz was involved in the plans that were drawn up for the journal and he served on its editorial board from 1938 to 1973.
- Carlitz was Managing Editor of the Duke Mathematical Journal from 1945.
- Carlitz strongly opposed this and argued strongly that the board should keep its role in appointing new board members.
- Indeed, Carlitz was a mentor not only to his students but to a number of younger mathematicians.
- 34 (1967), 293-305 and also J V Brawley, 'Dedicated to Leonard Carlitz: The Man and his Work', Finite Fields Appl.
- MathSciNet lists 237 papers with Carlitz's name in the title.
- Looking at the first few of these which occur in papers written in the last ten years we see: Carlitz's identity for the Bernoulli numbers; Al-Salam-Carlitz polynomials; Carlitz-type qqq-Euler polynomials; Carlitz's qqq-Bernoulli numbers; Carlitz inversions and identities; Carlitz module analogues of Mersenne primes; Carlitz cyclotomic polynomials; Rademacher-Carlitz polynomials; Carlitz-Wan conjecture for permutation polynomials; Carlitz rank of permutations; Tricomi-Carlitz polynomials; Stieltjes-Carlitz polynomials; Carlitz's type q-tangent numbers; q-generating functions of the Carlitz; Carlitz-Srivastava polynomials; Carlitz's trilinear generating functions; Bernoulli-Carlitz numbers; Carlitz's q-operators; Dedekind-Carlitz polynomials; Carlitz algebras; Carlitz logarithms; Carlitz-Goss gamma function; and Carlitz compositions.
- 1 (2) (1995), a volume specially dedicated to Carlitz.
- Shortly after his return to Duke University, Professor Carlitz sent me a large package of reprints along with a number of very helpful comments and references.
- Even in the several months prior to his death, Carlitz could readily identify the composers of the classical music pieces to which he was listening.
- Clara Carlitz died in 1990 after their marriage which had lasted 57 years.
- Carlitz continued to live in his home on the edge of the campus until June 1999 when he was 92 years of age and his health was failing.
Born 26 December 1907, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Died 17 September 1999, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
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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