Person: Halmos, Paul Richard
Paul Halmos was a Hungarian-American mathematician who made fundamental advances in the areas of logic, probability, statistics, operator theory and functional analysis. He is best known for some of his text-books and for his collection of mathematicians' photographs.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- In the United States, Sándor Halmos worked for a year as an intern in a hospital in Omaha before moving to Chicago where he set up his own practice.
- Paul Halmos attended school in Budapest up to the age of thirteen.
- Halmos says that there was some confusion since in Hungary four years of primary schooling were followed by eight years of secondary schooling.
- It was not until the end of the academic year 1935-36 that Halmos made the move from philosophy to mathematics.
- In February 1939 Halmos was successful in obtaining a post at Reed College in Oregon.
- After six months Halmos was offered a fellowship, and in his second year at Princeton he became von Neumann's assistant.
- They wrote one joint paper while Halmos was his assistant.
- A debt that Halmos owes to von Neumann is that one of his lecture courses inspired Halmos's first book.
- In 1942 Halmos published Finite Dimensional Vector Spaces which was to bring him instant fame as an outstanding writer of mathematics.
- After leaving the Institute for Advanced Study, Halmos was appointed to Syracuse University, New York.
- In the summer of 1955 the University of Chicago held a functional analysis meeting with George Mackey, Irving Segal, Irving Kaplansky and Paul Halmos as lecturers.
- The vestigial Hungarian accent Paul bemoans was so slight as to seem just a mannerism ...
- Any picture of Paul that omits Ginger is grossly incomplete.
- In the first place, she's crucial to keeping the entropy of the Halmos household improbably small and in keeping Paul and the cats hale and hearty.
- She's the ecological Halmos who fishes floundering lizards from the pool and worries about wetlands.
- Paul frequently, and not without cause, frets about her safety.
- In 1965 Halmos was one of three plenary speakers at the British Mathematical Colloquium in Dundee, Scotland (the other two were Claude Chevalley and Arthur Erdélyi).
- Halmos gave the lecture Some recent progress in Hilbert space.
- Halmos is known for both his outstanding contributions to operator theory, ergodic theory, functional analysis, in particular Hilbert spaces, and for his series of exceptionally well written textbooks.
- Halmos has received many other awards for his writing and teaching.
- Paul has a number of papers and theorems that anyone would be proud to call his own.
- Over the years Paul has demonstrated an uncanny ability to extract crucial properties from a given mathematical entity and lay it open before his colleagues in such a manner that there is a universal inclination to look and explore further.
- Halmos was a frequent visitor to Scotland.
- Halmos spent part of his 1973 sabbatical leave in Edinburgh and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
- Together with his wife, Halmos contributed $4,000,000 for the rebuilding of the Carriage House Conference Center in Washington D.C. in 2002.
- He donated funds to support the Mathematical Association of America's Euler Prize and its Halmos-Ford Prize for expository writing.
- Paul and Virginia Halmos also donated funds to the American Mathematical Society to set up a J L Doob Prize for outstanding expository mathematical writing.
- Halmos died in Los Gatos, California at the age of ninety after contracting pneumonia.
Born 3 March 1916, Budapest, Hungary. Died 2 October 2006, Los Gatos, 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