Person: Smullyan, Raymond Merrill
Raymond Smullyan was an American mathematician, magician, concert pianist, logician and philosopher, best known for his popular puzzle books.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- As a young boy Smullyan loved both music and science and he was extremely talented musically.
- However, the school did not in the end give Smullyan what he wanted.
- Soon Smullyan moved to Reed College, and then he went to San Francisco where he studied the piano.
- Returning to New York from San Francisco, Smullyan studied mathematics and logic on his own and it was at this time that he began to compose chess puzzles.
- Although Smullyan had not heard of retrograde analysis at this time, such a field of chess problems did exist.
- It sounds as if such a problem could not be solved, and this is exactly the type of problem that Smullyan liked.
- His magic act was very popular and Smullyan, although basically a shy man, gave a wonderful amusing and entertaining act as Five Ace Merrill, with hilariously funny patter.
- One of Smullyan's teachers at the University of Chicago had been Rudolf Carnap, the famous logician and philosopher of Logical Positivism.
- He now recommended Smullyan for a mathematics post at Dartmouth College, the liberal arts college in Hanover, New Hampshire.
- Smullyan had no formal qualifications at this time but was already working on mathematical research for future publications.
- Smullyan published Languages in which self reference is possible in the Journal of Symbolic Logic in 1957.
- By the time the second of these articles appeared, Smullyan was at Princeton University working under Alonzo Church for his doctorate.
- Exact separation of recursively enumerable sets within theories written jointly with Hilary Putnam was published in 1960 while Smullyan also published Theories with effectively inseparable nuclei in that year and then in 1961 the three papers Extended canonical systems; Elementary formal systems; and Monadic elementary formal systems.
- The Guardian had not known who the author was and, when Smullyan contacted them, they were pleased to acknowledge his authorship and to publish more of his chess problems.
- In 1961 Smullyan was appointed to the Jewish Yeshiva University in New York where he taught until 1968 when he moved to Lehman College, formerly Hunter College's Bronx campus, which joined the City University of New York in that year.
- In 1996 Smullyan co-authored with Melvin Fitting Set theory and the continuum problem.
- As a teacher Smullyan's style is different from most lecturers.
Born 25 May 1919, Far Rockaway, Long Island, New York City, USA. Died 6 February 2017, Hudson, New York, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin Usa, Puzzles And Problems
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive