Garrett Birkhoff

Born January 10, 1911, Princeton, N.J.; noted for significant research in computational mathematics related to fluid mechanics and nuclear reactor theory.

Education: AB, Harvard University, 1932.

Professional Experience: Harvard University: junior fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows, 1933-1936, faculty member, 1936-1969, George Putnam Professor of Pure and Applied Mathematics, 1969-1981; professor emeritus, 1981-present, visiting lecturer, Universidad Nacional de Mexico, 1945, 1958; Walker-Ames Lecturer, University of Washington, 1947; Taft Lecturer, University of Cincinnati, 1947; Fairchild Distinguished Scholar, California Institute of Technology, 1981; ONR Visiting Research Professor, Naval Postgraduate School, 1984.

Society Positions: president, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM); chairman, Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences; vice president, American Mathematical Society (AMS); vice president, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; vice president, Mathematical Association of America (MAA); chairman, Section A, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 1979.

Honors and Awards: member, American Philosophical Society; member, National Academy of Sciences; honorary degrees from Universidad Nacional de Mexico, University of Lille (France), Case Institute of Technology, Technische Universität of Munich, Technische Hochschule (Darmstadt, Germany); Guggenhiem Fellow, 1948; George D. Birkhoff Prize, American Mathematical Society, 1978; von Neumann Lecturer, SIAM, 1981.



Birkhoff, Garrett, "Computing Developments 1935-1955, as Seen from Cambridge, USA," in Metropolis, N., J. Howlett, and Gian-Carlo Rota, A History of Computing in the Twentieth Century, Academic Press, New York, 1980, pp. 21-30.

Birkhoff, Garrett, "Fluid Dynamics, Reactor Computations, and Surface Representation," in Nash, Stephen. G., A History of Scientific Computing, ACM Press History Series, 1990, pp. 63-87.

Significant Publications

Birkhoff, Garrett, "Mathematics and Psychology," SIAM Rev., Vol. 10, 1969.

Birkhoff, Garrett, "Numerical Fluid Dynamics," SIAM Rev., Vol. 25, 1983.

Birkhoff, Garrett, "Mathematics and Computer Science," American Scientist, Vol. 63, 1975.

Birkhoff, Garrett, "Applied Mathematics and Its Future," in Thomson, Robb W., ed., Science and Technology in America, National Bureau of Standards Publ. #465, 1977.

Birkhoff, Garrett, and Robert E. Lynch, Numerical Solution of Elliptical Problems, SIAM Publications, 1984.


Garrett Birkhoff died November 22, 1996 (MRW, 2012). Portrait inserted MRW, 2012.

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