Remembrances and Obituaries
Nir Lev wrote
- Chang, Kenneth (March 5, 2009), Ilya Piatetski-Shapiro, Math Theorist Who Clashed With Soviets, Dies at 79,
The New York Times. A shorter version was also published as Boston Globe Obituary for Ilya Piatetski-Shapiro, Mar 6, 2009.
- Yale University Mathematics Department
Obituary for Ilya Piatetski-Shapiro, Feb 2009.
- American Mathematical Society
Obituary for Ilya Piatetski-Shapiro, Feb 2009
- Tel-Aviv University On The Life And Work Of Ilya Piatetski-Shapiro (PDF), Mar 2009 (also here).
This text is a collaborative effort of several mathematicians including Joseph Bernstein, Simon Gindikin, David Ginzburg, Michael Krivelevich, Dan Mostow, Alexander Olevskii, Zeev Rudnick, Peter Sarnak, Mikhail Sodin and David Soudry.
- Tel-Aviv University Obituary Of Prof. Ilya Piatetski-Shapiro (PDF, in Hebrew), Mar 2009
- Stephen D. Miller
Remembrance of Ilya Piatetski-Shapiro, Mar 2009.
Prof. Simon Gindikin reflects on 50 years of knowing and working with Ilya Piatetski-Shapiro, Nov 2009. (Quicktime, 18 mins, 40 MB).
- Andre Toom, May 2009:
Ilya Piatetski-Shapiro in 1963-1973: Passion for Applied Mathematics (in English)
(PDF, in Russian)
- Avzel's blog
Ilya Iosifovich Piatetski-Shapiro (in Russian), Feb 2009
Jim Arthur (U. Toronto) wrote
Ilya was a great man and an indomitable spirit. The fact that he was able to continue his remarkable mathematics under the most difficult of circumstances is an indication of his extrordinary courage. His memory will continue to inspire all those who were privileged to know him.
I was very sorry to receive the announcement that Prof. I. Piatetski-Shapiro
has passed away. I would like to send my sincere condolences to his family.
Alex Tuzhilin (NYU), who was Gregory's classmate in Moscow, wrote
Only last month I received from Tel-Aviv University the Ph.D. degree for my thesis
"Piatetski-Shapiro's phenomenon and related problems", which was prepared
under the supervision of Prof. Alexander Olevskii. The thesis is a continuation
of Prof. Piatetski-Shapiro's work in the field of trigonometric series and
theory of uniqueness, and in particular a remarkable theorem which he proved
in two papers published in 1952 and 1954.
I was very impressed to read his papers in which his deep result was proved,
and I feel very fotunate to have had the opportunity to further contribute to
his remarkable work.
Yehi Zichro Baruch.
I tried to remember the most vivid encounters with your Dad that I had over
the years, and the following two stood out in my mind.
The first one was when he was coaching several of us for the tough entrance
exams into the 179 school after we decided to leave the 2nd school (the
famous exodus of many students from the 2nd school as a protest when the
Soviet authorities busted it for political reasons in early 1970's). The
coaching sessions took place at your home in Moscow. Several of us would sit
at the dinner table, and your Dad would coach us for the entrance exams. On
one occasion, Iljusha Kan asked your Dad about the Main Theorem of Algebra,
and he went through the formulation and the proof of the theorem in the most
clear and elegant way on the spot, without any prior preparations and
thinking. The proof was a non-trivial one (at least for us at that time),
and it took him about half an hour to prove it. The ease, clarity and
elegance of his mathematical arguments remained in my mind for the rest of
my life. This incident clearly showed to me the distance between us, 15 year
old kids, and him, and how far we needed to travel in our studies of
mathematics to reach his level, if ever.
The 2nd incident was more dramatic and even embarrassing for me. When we
studied in the 2nd school, your Dad invited the best of us (about 30 - 40
students from several parallel classes) to the Moscow State University,
where he personally taught us advanced mathematics. The material was very
challenging (he really pushed us to the limit), and your Dad was not sure if
we understood the concepts or not. Then he decided to select an "average"
person in the group and would make sure that this average person would
understand the material. And guess whom he selected! It was so embarrassing
for me when he would come to me every 5 minutes and would ask if I
understood what he had just said. The whole class would turn their heads in
my direction and would stare at me with this questioning and mischievous
look (hey, you, we can't believe that you could not get such simple things
:-)...). My ego was so hurt at that time; but I have learned over the years
that your Dad was right :-).