Person: Kac, Mark
Mark Kac pioneered the modern development of mathematical probability, in particular its applications to statistical physics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Kac studied Latin and Greek at school as well as mathematics, physics and chemistry.
- Kac entered the Jan Kasimir University of Lwów where he was taught by Steinhaus.
- Kac then tried to go to the United States, helped by Steinhaus who was not only his teacher but also by this time his friend.
- While attempting to go to the United States, Kac worked for an insurance company in Lwów.
- Kac did not give up, however, and the following year he applied again, and this time he was successful.
- Certainly Kac was fortunate to have been able to leave Poland at that time.
- Kac served at Cornell as an instructor from 1939 to 1943 (the year he became a US citizen), assistant professor from 1943 to 1947 when he was promoted to full professor.
- When Kac left Cornell in 1961 he went to Rockefeller University, in New York City.
- Kac has pioneered the modern development of mathematical probability, in particular its applications to statistical physics.
- The method of quantization now in use involves the Feynman-Kac path integral, named after Richard Feynman and Mark Kac.
- To many Kac will be remembered best for a paper he wrote for the American Mathematical Monthly in 1966.
- In addition to the Chauvenet Prize (which in fact he won on two separate occasions), Kac was awarded the George David Birkhoff Prize in Applied Mathematics in 1978.
Born 3 August 1914, Krzemieniec, Poland, Russian Empire, (now Ukraine). Died 26 October 1984, 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