Person: Kalton, Nigel John
Nigel Kalton was an English-born American mathematician known for his contributions to functional analysis.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Kalton is not the name that appears on Nigel's birth certificate, rather it is the surname Kaltenbach.
- He changed his name by deed poll from the Germanic Kaltenbach to the British Kalton in March 1938.
- Keene was about 18 months younger than Kalton and the two were both on the Dulwich College chess team.
- In the College championships, Kalton once beat Keene but, although Kalton was one of the top players in Britain, he usually lost to Keene.
- Kalton was in the Dulwich College team that came second in the 1964 UK Schools Team Championship.
- After graduating from Dulwich College, Kalton entered Trinity College Cambridge in 1964, having won a prestigious scholarship, where he studied mathematics.
- Kalton played in the annual Oxford v Cambridge chess match which gained him a half-Blue He won the major open section of the British Chess Championships in 1970, this being a qualifying competition for the 1971 British Chess Championship.
- Kalton graduated in 1968 with his first degree, having won a senior scholarship and the G F A Osbourn Prize awarded to the most distinguished Second Year Mathematician at Trinity College.
- Garling spent the year 1969-70 at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA and Kalton went to Lehigh for the year as a visiting lecturer.
- At Cambridge, Kalton had met Jennifer.
- In 1970 Kalton was awarded a doctorate for his thesis Schauder decompositions in locally convex spaces and he was awarded the Rayleigh Prize for the high quality of this work.
- After returning from the United States, Kalton was appointed as a Science Research Council Fellow at the Warwick University in England.
- The story of how Kalton became an expert on differential games is an interesting one that says much about his character and ability.
- As luck would have it, Professor Tulcea was away the term Nigel came.
- Nigel's plans had to be adapted to the situation, so he sat around the lounge talking to various mathematicians and came to the belief that his most enjoyable mathematical conversations were with Professors Elliot and Friedman; hence he worked with them for a term.
- Kalton managed to arrange a visit to the United States in 1977 and was a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana at the invitation of N Tenney Peck (1937-1996).
- While in the United States, Kalton was an invited speaker at the special session on 'Geometry of Banach spaces' at the American Mathematical Society regional meeting held at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio in April 1978.
- Several universities in the United States were interested in offering Kalton a position but the first to do so was Dennis Sentilles from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
- Kalton remained at the University of Missouri-Columbia for the rest of his career being named Luther M Defoe Professor of Mathematics in 1984, Mahala and Rose Houchins Professor of Mathematics in 1985 and Curators Professor in 1995.
- There are a number of fundamental results in mathematics that carry his name, including Kalton spaces, Kalton operators, and much more.
- Nigel was very broad in his research, proving fundamental results in a dozen different areas of research.
- People from our department would come into his office and ask for help with their research, even in areas in which Nigel had never worked.
- One time Jerry Lange of our department came to Nigel with a problem in continued fractions he had been working on for fifteen years.
- Nigel solved it in forty-eight hours, and later this solution was used to answer a problem of Ramanujan.
- Kalton was in the audience and quickly resolved the problem in a joint publication with Le Merdy in 2002.
- We used to call Kalton the bulldozer, since given just one new idea, he could plow his way through an entire field in a matter of weeks to solve a famous problem.
- We mentioned above Kalton's 1972 book on differential games.
- Kalton was awarded a number of prizes for his outstanding work, the most prestigious of which was the Banach medal of the Polish Academy of Sciences which he was awarded in 2004.
- One can imagine that the ultimate mathematician is one who can see analogies between analogies." According to this definition, Nigel Kalton is one of the ultimate mathematicians.
- In his work, Kalton finds underlying connections between seemingly unrelated areas of mathematics.
- Kalton died peacefully at University Hospital after suffering a stroke.
Born 20 June 1946, Bromley, Kent, England. Died 31 August 2010, Columbia, Missouri, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive