Person: Rota, GianCarlo
GianCarlo Rota was an Italianborn American mathematician and philosopher.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
 Giovanni Rota was a prominent antifascist and his name appears on a death list constructed by Mussolini.
 GianCarlo was educated in Italy up to the age of thirteen in 1945.
 The positive side to this remarkable escape story was that Rota was fluent in English, Italian, Spanish and French.
 Rota entered the United States in 1950 at the age of eighteen to undertake his university studies.
 After graduating, Rota entered Yale University where he studied for his Master's Degree in Mathematics which was awarded in 1954.
 After spending the year 195657 in New York, Rota was appointed as Benjamin Peirce Instructor at Harvard University.
 With the exception of two years, 1965 to 1967, when he was at the Rockefeller University, Rota remained at MIT for the rest of his career.
 Rota was given the title Professor of Applied Mathematics at MIT but in 1972 his title was changed to Professor of Applied Mathematics and Philosophy.
 Rota had a long association with the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory where he enjoyed being with his friend Ulam and collaborating with him.
 Rota was also a consultant with the Rand Corporation from 1966 to 1971 and with the Brookhaven National Laboratory from 1969 to 1973.
 As we have indicated above, Rota worked on functional analysis for his doctorate and, up to about 1960, he wrote a series of papers on operator theory.
 These papers seem to have led Rota away from operator theory and into the area of combinatorics.
 His first major work on combinatorics, which was to change the direction of the whole subject, was On the Foundations of Combinatorial Theory which Rota published in 1964.
 Rota received the Steele Prize from the American Mathematical Society in 1988.
 Rota observes that combinatorics is providing the essential continuing link between mathematics and the sciences: biology (structure of large molecules), linguistics (contextfree languages, automata theory), physics (statistical mechanics, phase transition problems, elementary particles).
 Rota received many awards for his outstanding contributions to numerous areas.
 Rota died in his sleep and was found in bed on the afternoon of 19 April 1999.
Born 27 April 1932, Vigevano, Italy. Died 18 April 1999, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
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References
Adapted from other CC BYSA 4.0 Sources:
 Oâ€™Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive