Halmos, Paul R. (Paul Richard), 1916-2006

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1916-03-03
Death 2006-10-02
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Paul Richard Halmos (1916-2006) is known for his work in operator theory, ergodic theory, and functional analysis, as well as his mathematical exposition and his teaching style. His major teaching positions were at the University of Chicago (1946-1960), the University of Michigan (1961-1967), Indiana University (1969-1985), and Santa Clara University (1985-1996), where he was Professor Emeritus until his death in 2006.

Halmos was born March 3, 1916, in Budapest, Hungary. He came to the United States in 1929 and attended high school in Chicago. In 1931, at the age of 15, he entered the University of Illinois, intending to study chemical engineering, and graduated three years later (1934) with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and philosophy. Halmos then entered graduate school at the University of Illinois in order to pursue a Ph.D. in philosophy. After failing the oral comprehensive exam for the master’s degree, he changed the focus of his graduate studies and registered as a student in the department of mathematics. Halmos earned his doctorate in mathematics under Joseph Doob in 1938.

Following the completion of his doctorate, Halmos served as John von Neumann's assistant at the Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) (1939-1942), a post that led to the publication of his first book, Finite Dimensional Vector Spaces, in 1942. After working at the IAS, Halmos taught soldiers in the Army's Specialized Training Program at Syracuse University before moving to the University of Chicago, and the University of Michigan. After one year as the mathematics department chair at the University of Hawaii (1967-1968), he began a professorship at Indiana University, where he would stay until 1985, with the exception of two years spent at the University of California, Santa Barbara (1975-1977). In 1985, he moved to Santa Clara University where he worked until his retirement in 1996. In addition to these posts, Halmos held visiting appointments at the University of Montevideo, Uruguay (1951-1952), the University of Miami (1965-1966), and the University of Washington (1959), among others.

Halmos served as editor of several publications, including the Mathematical Association of America’s American Mathematical Monthly (1982-1986) and Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society (1958-1963). For the Van Nostrand publishing company he edited the University Series in Undergraduate Mathematics. Halmos also served as editor for the Ergebnisse der Mathematik und ihrer Grenzgebiete series and Graduate Texts in Mathematics series published by Springer-Verlag.

He received the Steele Prize for exposition from the American Mathematical Society in 1983 and the Distinguished Teacher Award from the Mathematical Association of America in 1993. Halmos was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Guggenheim Fellow. In 2000, he was awarded the Yueh-Gin Gung and Dr. Charles Y. Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics by the Mathematical Association of America, the organization’s most prestigious award for service.

From the guide to the Paul R. Halmos Papers 89-315, 2005-062, 2007-233, 2008-324. 610018592., 1916-2006, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

Paul Richard Halmos is known for his work in operator theory, ergodic theory, and functional analysis, as well as his mathematical exposition and his teaching style. His major teaching positions were at the University of Chicago, Indiana University, and Santa Clara University, at which he is currently Professor Emeritus.

Halmos was born March 3, 1916 in Budapest, Hungary. He came to the United States in 1929 and attended high school in Chicago. At the age of 15 he entered the University of Illinois and graduated in 1934 with a degree in mathematics and philosophy. He then went into graduate school at the University of Illinois, earning a doctorate in mathematics under Joseph Doob in 1938. Halmos served as John Von Neumann's assistant at the Institute of Advanced Study, a post which led to the publication of his first book, Finite Dimensional Vector Spaces, in 1942. After working at the IAS, Halmos taught soldiers in the Army's Specialized Training Program at Syracuse University before moving to the University of Chicago (1946-1960), and the University of Michigan (1961-1967). After one year as the mathematics department chair at the University of Hawaii, he began a professorship at Indiana University (1968-1985). In 1985 he moved to Santa Clara University where he worked until his retirement in 1996.

From the description of Halmos, Paul Richard, papers, 1947-1988. (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 55689553

Paul Richard Halmos (1916-2006) is known for his work in operator theory, ergodic theory, and functional analysis, as well as his mathematical exposition and his teaching style.

His major teaching positions were at the University of Chicago (1946-1960), the University of Michigan (1961-1967), Indiana University (1969-1985), and Santa Clara University (1985-1996), where he was Professor Emeritus until his death in 2006. Halmos served as editor of several publications, including the Mathematical Association of America's "American Mathematical Monthly" (1982-1986) and "Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society" (1958-1963). Halmos was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Guggenheim Fellow. In 2000, he was awarded the Yueh-Gin Gung and Dr. Charles Y. Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics by the Mathematical Association of America, the organization's most prestigious award for service.

From the description of Halmos, Paul R., papers, 1916-2006 (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 610018592

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Subjects:

  • Ergodic theory
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematics--Study and teaching (Higher)
  • Mathematics--Study and teaching
  • Linear algebra
  • Topology
  • Mathematics--Study and teaching (Higher)--United States

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • Chicago (Ill.) (as recorded)
  • Bloomington (Ind.) (as recorded)
  • Santa Clara (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Chicago (Ill.) (as recorded)
  • Budapest (Hungary) (as recorded)
  • Budapest (Hungary) (as recorded)
  • Montevideo (Uruguay) (as recorded)
  • Montevideo (Uruguay) (as recorded)
  • Bloomington (Ind.) (as recorded)
  • Santa Clara (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)