**ROGER COOKE, EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF MATHEMATICS**

This picture was taken December 12, 2014, at the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis, Missouri.

**January 5, 2017**

**Career Summary:** I received the Ph.D.
at Princeton University in 1966 for a dissertation written under the
supervision of Salomon Bochner (1899–1982). I
then became an assistant professor of mathematics at Vanderbilt University,
where I stayed for two years. I got married in January of 1968, and my
wife and I decided to move to Vermont in the summer of that year. From
August 1968 to May 2003, I was a member of the UVM Department of Mathematics
and Statistics, first as assistant professor (1968–1972), then associate
professor (1972–1977), and finally as full professor (1977–2003). From
2000 until my retirement, I had the honor of being the Williams Professor of
Mathematics.

During my 35 years at UVM, I directed the dissertations of three Ph.D. students: Douglas Swan (1974), Vivian Mosca (1978), and Gerard LaVarnway (1999).

**Research Interests: **My first work was
in classical Fourier analysis. Although I produced a number of papers in
this area, the only one that I consider of any real significance was a proof of
a two-variable version of the Cantor–Lebesgue theorem: “A Cantor–Lebesgue
theorem in two dimensions,” *Proceedings
of the American Mathematical Society*, **30,
**No. 3**, **(November, 1971), pp.
547–550. I returned to this area late in my career while directing the
dissertation of Gerard LaVarnway. His
dissertation, with some additions of mine, was published as our joint paper:
LaVarnway, Gerard T. and Cooke, Roger, “A
characterization of Fourier series of Stepanov
almost-periodic functions,” *Journal of
Fourier Analysis and its Applications*, **7**
(2001), No. 2, 127–142.

I grew weary of pure mathematical research during the 1970s and spent the last two decades of the twentieth century exploring the history of mathematics as a wide-eyed amateur. I was fortunate to have a superb mentor in this field, Ivor Grattan-Guinness (1941–2014), and a number of first-rate colleagues who provided helpful criticism and advice.

**Honors and Awards:** I received the Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award in 1996
and was named a University Scholar in 2000.

**Post-retirement Work:** I expected to retire and spend the rest
of my life just reading, playing the piano, staying in good physical condition,
doing some volunteer work, and keeping up the half-dozen or so foreign
languages that I have endeavored to acquire over the decades. The last
thirteen years, however, have turned out rather differently. After six
years of retirement, I yielded to temptation and taught three courses between
2010 and 2012. (I have now firmly resolved not to do that again; mostly,
I just don’t like having to be in a certain place at a certain time doing a
certain job.) Also, from time to time, the urge to put my thoughts on
paper and invitations to write from various editors and publishers have led me
to undertake a number of projects resulting in publication. Here is a
partial list (excluding brief book reviews written for the *Annals of Science*):

*The History of
Mathematics: A Brief Course*, second edition, John Wiley & Sons, New
York, 2005.

“Niels Henrik Abel, paper on the irresolvability
of the quintic equation,” in: *Landmark Writings in Western Mathematics, 1640–1940*, I.
Grattan-Guinness, ed. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2005, pp. 391–402.

“C.G.J. Jacobi, book on elliptic functions,” in: *Landmark Writings in Western Mathematics,
1640–1940*, I. Grattan-Guinness, ed. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2005, pp. 412–430.

“Richard
Dedekind, *Stetigkeit und irrationale
Zahlen*,” in: *Landmark Writings in
Western Mathematics, 1640–1940*, I. Grattan-Guinness, ed. Elsevier,
Amsterdam, 2005, pp. 553–563.

“Henri Lebesgue and René Baire,
three books on mathematical analysis,” in: *Landmark
Writings in Western Mathematics, 1640–1940*, I. Grattan-Guinness, ed.
Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2005, pp. 757–777.

“S. Bochner, lectures on Fourier
integrals,” in: *Landmark Writings in
Western Mathematics, 1640–1940*, I. Grattan-Guinness, ed. Elsevier,
Amsterdam, 2005, pp. 945–959.

*Classical Algebra: Its
Nature, Origins, and Uses*, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 2008.
(This book received a CHOICE award as one of nine outstanding books on
mathematics for the year.)

“Life on the mathematical frontier:
legendary figures and their adventures,” *Notices
of the American Mathematical Society*, **57**
(2010), No. 4, 464–475.

“Review of *Naming Infinity*,”* The
Mathematical Intelligencer*, **32**
(2010), No. 1, 59–64.

“A remark on Euclid’s theorem on the
infinitude of the primes,” *American
Mathematical Monthly*, **118**
(2011), No. 4, 355–358.

*The History of
Mathematics: A Brief Course*, third edition, John Wiley & Sons, New
York, 2013.

“Social class and mathematical values in the USA”, in: *I, Mathematician*, Peter Casazza, Steven
G. Krantz, and Randi D. Ruden (eds.), Mathematical
Association of America, 2015, pp. 156–168.

*The Case
of Academician Nikolai Nikolaevich Luzin* (translation from
the Russian), written by S. S. Demidov et al. American Mathematical Society,
2016.

“Grattan-Guinness’s work on classical mechanics,” in: * Research in History and Philosophy of Mathematics,* Maria Zack and Elaine Landry (eds.), The CSHPM 2015 Annual Meeting in Washington DC, Birkhäuser, 2016, pp. 127–160. This was a tribute to my late friend and mentor Ivor Grattan-Guinness.

**In Press: ** *It’s About Time: Elementary Mathematical Aspects of Relativity. * This
work consists of three volumes. Volume 1, published by the American
Mathematical Society, will appear in early 2017. The other two are free on-line resources to
serve as background for, and commentary on, the first volume. These two volumes, and the *Mathematica* programs that appear in the
work, can be downloaded at the following url:

www.cems.uvm.edu/~rlcooke/RELATIVITY/

This work was finished in May of 2015. In August of 2015, I traveled to the MATHFEST in Washington, DC, and showed it around. My friend Dale Johnson mentioned that it parallels a similar work by Antony Zee. Naturally, I was very anxious, lest I had merely duplicated what someone else had already done, and probably better than I could do, since Zee is an excellent physicist. Fortunately, I found that our aims were somewhat different. Zee introduces the reader to the work on relativity that has taken place over the past century, whereas I merely lead up to that point, concentrating on the basic work that provided the foundation of Einstein’s papers on general relativity. The only topic I discuss from the period after 1920 is Gödel’s fascinating universe in which time travel is theoretically possible.

**Personal stuff:**
I spend my leisure time about as I expected I would: reading,
playing the piano, staying in good physical condition, and keeping up my
languages. From August 2005 to October 2016, I spent my Wednesdays as a
volunteer office worker at the local Visiting Nurse Association. Somewhat
surprisingly, I found use for mathematical skills in this work, especially in
writing spread sheets with formulas in them.

My piano playing technique has eroded, and I no longer have the velocity and dexterity I once had (incipient arthritis) and have given up performing before others, practicing only in a very desultory fashion. Here’s a sample of my playing from a decade ago, before old age began to take its toll. It’s far from perfect, but still better than I can now do: Chopin, “Heroic” Polonaise in A-flat Major

I ran about 30 miles a week for the first decade of my retirement. Then, in July 2013, my daughter talked me into running a half-marathon, in which I finished first in my class (being the only entrant over the age of 70). That was my last hurrah as a runner. More recently, I walked about 5 miles every day or rode a bicycle for a couple of hours during good weather and did some vigorous calisthenics. Now, after a bout of serious blood clots in my lungs, I’ve decided to let my body go a bit, although I still plan to walk and ride my bicycle frequently.

As for the languages, I’m not going to get any better at them, I now realize; but I still enjoy reading all of them, especially ancient Greek, and listening to the news in French, German, and Russian. A few years ago, I noticed that I was no longer understanding as well as I used to. In 2015, I got a pair of hearing aids, and my comprehension has since returned.

**Contact:** I prefer to use e-mail:
roger.cooke@uvm.edu