Person: Foster, Alfred Leon
Alfred Leon Foster was an American mathematician who worked on Boolean rings and algebras.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- After spending a further year at Caltech to study for his master's degree, Foster went to Princeton where he studied for his doctorate under the supervision of Alonzo Church.
- Church was only one year older than Foster, who became his first Ph.D. student, and he had begun to supervise Foster in the same year that he was awarded his own doctorate.
- Foster submitted his Ph.D. thesis Formal Logic in Finite Terms to Princeton University in 1930 and the degree was awarded in the following year.
- They travelled to Germany where Foster undertook a year of postdoctoral study at Göttingen.
- The Great Depression began in 1929 while Foster was working for his doctorate and by 1932, after he finished his studies in Germany, one quarter of the workers in the United States were unemployed.
- On their return to the United States the Fosters travelled by car across the country to Berkeley where Alfred continued his studies and also undertook some teaching.
- In the summer of 1934 Evans began his task at Berkeley as chairman of the mathematics department, and one of his first acts was to appoint Foster to the Faculty.
- Except for several periods of study leave, mainly in Freiburg and Tubingen, Foster continued to work at Berkeley until he retired in 1971.
- Foster, as a student of Church, naturally began his research career working in mathematical logic.
- Foster went on to define the concept of a primal algebra generalising a Boolean algebra within the theory of varieties of universal algebras.
- Along with mathematics, Foster took the current great issues of science and human culture very seriously indeed.
- Foster underwent surgery in the spring of 1994.
Born 13 July 1904, New York City, New York, USA. Died 24 December 1994, Berkeley, California, 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