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Oral History
W. A. J. Luxemburg Oral History Interview with Shirley Cohen

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An interview in three sessions, in June 2001, with Wilhelmus Anthonius Josephus (Wim) Luxemburg, professor of mathematics, emeritus, in the Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy. Dr. Luxemburg received his BA. from the University of Leiden (1950) and his doctorate from the Delft Institute of Technoloy (1955). He and his wife emigrated to Canada, first to Kingston and then to the University of Toronto as a postdoc with Israel Halperin. In 1958, he came to Caltech as an assistant professor in the mathematics department, at the invitation of H. Frederic Bohnenblust. He became a full professor in 1962, served as executive officer for mathematics from 1970 to 1985, and became professor emeritus in 2000. He recalls his childhood during the First and Second World Wars in Delft, and the deprivations of the postwar period. Discusses his doctorate with Adriaan C. Zaanen at Delft Institute of Technology, on Banach function spaces. Attends 1954 International Congress of Mathematicians in Amsterdam. Invitation from Halperin to come to Canada. His postdoc at the University of Toronto. Travels in Canada. Invited to join Caltech faculty by Bohnenblust. He comments on the development of mathematics at Caltech, including expansion of applied mathematics and joint appointments with engineering division. Discusses Olga Taussky-Todd as Caltech’s first woman full professor; Caltech’s abortive attempt to merge with Immaculate Heart College; his membership on Aims and Goals Committee. Recollections of presidencies of Harold Brown, Marvin L. Goldberger, Thomas E. Everhart; support of mathematics by then-current President David Baltimore; travels and life as emeritus professor.

ID: 2002-00349
Luxemburg, W. A. J. (Wilhelmus Anthonius Josephus)

Creation Jun. 12, 2001 through Jun. 22, 2001

Digital files created by George Blood, L. P.

Topics: Mathematics

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