Global Links

In Memoriam

Israel Gelfand, Retired Faculty, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, died on October 05, 2009. Professor Gelfand was a member of the Mathematics Department.

Professor Gelfand was buried Tuesday during a small family service.

Israel Gelfand, who was considered one of the world's top mathematicians and did work that was important in the development of medical imaging devices, has died at age 96.

Gelfand's son Sergei Gelfand said his father died Monday of natural causes at a hospital in New Brunswick.

Gelfand, from Ukraine, was a distinguished professor of mathematics at Rutgers University. He conducted pioneering research, mentored mathematicians and established correspondence schools in Russia and the United States for budding mathematicians in remote areas. He remained active until 2008, running seminars that placed the pursuit of math knowledge ahead of academic titles.

He taught at Moscow State University before moving to the U.S. in 1989. He joined the Rutgers faculty in 1990.

Rutgers University Professor Valdimir Retakh, who worked with Gelfand in Russia and the U.S., said his work in representation theory is part of the foundation of modern physics and his research in integral geometry was vital to the advent of medical imaging devices.

Gelfand won numerous awards, including the Wolf Prize in Mathematics in 1978 and the 1989 Kyoto Prize, a Japanese award for significant contributions to humanity. He wrote more than 800 articles and 30 books in many areas of mathematics.

"Mathematics for me is a universal and adequate language of sciences, and it is an example of how people of different cultures and backgrounds can communicate and work together," he wrote in his acceptance note to the American Mathematical Society for its Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2005.

Gelfand's son is publisher of the society, founded in 1888 to promote mathematics research and scholarship.

For more information, please visit:

Return to In Memoriam