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Obituary of Michael Golomb


Michael Golomb, 98, of West Lafayette, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Purdue University, died Wednesday, April 9, 2008.

Born on May 3, 1909, in Munich, Germany, to a Polish-Jewish family, he attended the University of Wurzburg and obtained a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Berlin in 1933. Barred from professional employment by Nazi law, he immigrated to the former Yugoslavia in late 1933.

He entered the U.S. as a refugee from Hitler in 1939. From 1940 to 1942, he was a math instructor at Cornell University. From 1943 to 1945, he assisted wartime projects for the Navy as chief of analysis at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, and received a Distinguished Service Award.

He became a U.S. citizen in 1945. In 1942, he joined the mathematics faculty of Purdue University, where he became a full professor until his retirement in 1975.

Professor Golomb had a long and distinguished career in research and teaching, with research specialization in analysis and applied mathematics. At the time of his retirement, he was honored with a mathematics conference at Purdue in his name. His name is inscribed in the Purdue Book of Great Teachers in Academy Park. He was honored by the City of Berlin in 1998 in an exhibition on exiled Berlin mathematicians held at the International Congress of Mathematicians.

He remained active in mathematical research throughout his life. For many years, he ran the department of mathematics "Problem of the Week" that in recent years attracted solutions from all over the world. He continued to contribute problems almost to the day of his death.

His wife of 65 years, Dagmar Racic Golomb, preceded him in death in 2004.

He is survived by two brothers, Dan Golomb (wife: Claire) of Newton, Mass., and Yoel Golomb (wife: Henyah) of Israel; and two daughters, Miriam Golomb of Columbia, Mo., and Deborah Sedgwick (husband: Paul) of Worcester, Mass.

Also surviving are his grandchildren, Michael, Daniel, Eric and Susanna; numerous nieces and nephews; and his great-granddaughters, Emme and Myla. Michael Golomb led a full, joyous life, surrounded by loving family and friends, books and music, and maintained a lifetime commitment to science, peace and social justice. He was preceded in death by his sisters, Amy and Ida; his brother-in-law, Mir; and his brother, Heinrich.

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