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Who's That Mathematician? Paul R. Halmos Collection - Page 58

Author(s): 
Janet Beery (University of Redlands) and Carol Mead (Archives of American Mathematics, University of Texas, Austin)

For more information about Paul R. Halmos (1916-2006) and about the Paul R. Halmos Photograph Collection, please see the introduction to this article on page 1.

Index to the Collection

1973 International Conference on Banach Space Theory

Romanian mathematician Ivan Singer visited Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, for three months during 1973. While there, he attended the International Conference on Banach Space Theory, held June 25-29 on the campus of Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, where he took the color photographs below and where the black and white photographs immediately below were taken. Singer also attended sessions of the Wabash Functional Analysis Seminar.

Halmos swirl

In the photograph above, Paul Halmos (center) conversed with fellow conference attendees amidst the crowd at the International Conference on Banach Space Theory, held in 1973 at Wabash College and sponsored by the Wabash Functional Analysis Seminar and the National Science Foundation. Ivan Singer was the man up front closest to the camera. The man in the plaid shirt who appears to have been speaking to Halmos at the moment the photo was taken may have been Lawrence "Larry" Brown of Purdue University. Do you recognize anyone else in the photograph? If so, please let us know!


Though small, Wabash College was a logical location for the 1973 International Conference on Banach Space Theory because it was centrally located between the conference’s other institutional sponsors, Purdue University, Indiana University in Bloomington, where Halmos was a professor, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and because it already was the home of the successful Wabash Functional Analysis Seminar.

The front row of the rapt audience in the photograph above included Donald "Don" Sarason, far left (see page 47 of this collection for another photograph of Sarason and more information about him); Paul Halmos, third from left; Meyer Jerison, fourth from left; Owen Burkinshaw, third from right; and Norberto Salinas, far right (closest to the camera). In the second row, at far left and third from left, respectively, were Aleksander Pelczynski and Czeslaw Bessaga, both of Warsaw, Poland. Also in the second row, the bearded man third from the right was Leon Brown of Wayne State University and the man at far right Haskell Rosenthal (also pictured on page 5). Ivan Singer is at far left in the third row, consulting a book. Second from left in the third row was Robert "Bob" Phelps (page 40). At far right in the third row was William "Bill" Arveson (page 2) and at far left in the fourth row (but to the right of the lefthand window) William "Bill" Johnson (page 5). The man in the upper right of the photograph, in the last row of seats visible in the photo, was Warren Wogen. In the row of seats in front of him, the two men were Arlen Brown (left, see page 8 and page 48) and Peter Fillmore (right, bearded). In the row of seats in front of them (third row from the back), the man third from the left and second from the right (between Brown and Fillmore) was Kevin Clancey and the man at far right was Bernard "Bernie" Morrel (1940-1997). Do you recognize others? If so, please let us know.

After the photo above was posted and readers began to identify audience members, Singer located the official conference photograph shown below.

Download a higher resolution copy of the group photograph of participants in the 1973 International Conference on Banach Space Theory and of the identification of persons in the group photograph. For an even higher resolution scan of the group photograph, please email the authors.

Wabash Functional Analysis Seminar

While he was at Purdue University in 1973, Ivan Singer also attended the Wabash Functional Analysis Seminar, sponsored by Wabash College, Purdue University, Indiana University, and the University of Illinois and held six to eight times per year in those days. In his book I Want to Be a Mathematician: An Automathography (Springer 1985, pp. 373-5), Halmos described how, shortly after his arrival at Indiana University in 1969, he, Earl Berkson of the University of Illinois, and Meyer Jerison (1922-1995) of Purdue University founded this seminar. The Wabash Seminar eventually received National Science Foundation funding for the international conference featured on this page and for visiting lecturers.

Berkson wrote recently that the organizing committee included two more members, Neal Rothman of Indiana University - Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI), and William “Bill” Clement Swift (1928-2008) of Wabash College. He also appreciated the support of Swift's colleague Paul Mielke, who was chair of the Mathematics Department at Wabash College during the 1970s. In his I Want to Be a Mathematician, Halmos also praised Bill Swift and his colleagues at Wabash College for their hosting of and participation in the Wabash Seminar (p. 374). Swift retired in 1990, but, as of 2008, the Wabash Seminar still met a few times each semester.

Conway and Halmos

Left to right: John B. Conway, Paul Halmos, and two other conference attendees took a break during the International Conference on Banach Space Theory at Wabash College. Both Conway and Halmos were mathematics professors at Indiana University at the time. (For another photograph of Conway and more information about him, see page 49 of this collection.) Do you recognize either of the two men at right in the photo? If so, please let us know who they are!

Swift and Halmos

Left to right: Bill Swift, Paul Halmos, and Casper Goffman (?) enjoyed a break on the Wabash College campus. Swift, of Wabash College, and Halmos, of Indiana University, were co-organizers of the 1973 International Conference on Banach Space Theory. They also were co-organizers of the Wabash Functional Analysis Seminar, Swift until he retired in 1990 and Halmos until he moved to Santa Clara University in California in 1985. Goffman was then at Purdue University, where he spent most of his career.

Paul Halmos, left, was photographed with Ellen and Bill Swift. As noted above, Bill Swift was a co-organizer of the Wabash Seminar until 1990. He also was a co-organizer of the 1973 International Conference on Banach Space Theory, and he and his wife Ellen made many of the local arrangements for the conference.


Earl Berkson, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Illinois, Ubana-Champaign, and one of the organizers of the Wabash Seminar and of the 1973 International Conference on Banach Space Theory, wrote recently of Halmos:

Paul Halmos was one of my teachers when I was a graduate student at the University of Chicago (1957-1960), and so my mathematical association with him lasted from that time on. His role as an organizer of the Wabash Seminar and Conferences reflects one of his many stellar facets – wherever he was, mathematical activity thrived.

Ivan Singer, who took and/or submitted the photographs on this page, is now Research Professor and Honorary Member of the Institute of Mathematics of the Romanian Academy in Bucharest. He is a functional analyst currently researching geometry in semi-modules, and also interested in optimization, convex and discrete geometry, and operations research. His books include Duality for nonconvex approximation and optimization (2006), Abstract convex analysis (1997), Bases in Banach spaces I and II (1970, 1981), Theory of best approximation and functional analysis (1974), and Best approximation in normed linear spaces by elements of linear subspaces (1967, 1970). For a photograph of Singer, see page 36 of this collection, where you can read more about him.

Singer recently passed along some advice for photographers in the form of an anecdote:

I also used to take many pictures and, when I first met Paul, I asked him why he always wrote on the back side of his photos the names and other coordinates of the respective people (he had then a Polaroid camera making instant photos), and he answered that otherwise he would forget them. I smiled and said that for me this is not necessary since I will remember them. Paul smiled and answered "you will see." Unfortunately, it has turned out that I was utterly wrong and Paul was right!

Many thanks to Ivan Singer, and also to Earl Berkson, John Conway, William Johnson, and Judith Morrel, for information and photo identifications. For more information about Paul R. Halmos (1916-2006) and about the Paul R. Halmos Photograph Collection, please see the introduction to this article on page 1.

Index to the Collection

You may use the photographs on this page in your classroom; for all other purposes, please contact Ivan Singer, Institute of Mathematics, Romanian Academy, or MAA Convergence Editor Janet Beery so that she may seek permission for you from Prof. Singer.

Dummy View - NOT TO BE DELETED