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There now follows a ranking of the top mathematicians who were born in Chicago, IL, USA. Thanks to the primary reference for this information, the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive.
- Richard Hamming [1915-1998]: Hamming received his PhD in mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1942 and went on to the Manhattan Project. Most of his postwar career was at Bell Labs. He is best known for his work on error correcting codes, for which he received the Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery, and for which the IEEE named a medal after him. Later in his life, though, he became interested in the teaching of mathematics; he wrote several books that emphasised the mathematical process, rather than what he called “the art gallery of mathematics”.
- Gene Golub [1932-2007]: Golub earned his PhD in statistics from the University of Illinois in 1959 and spent most of his career at Stanford University. His contributions to numerical analysis were many, including books such as Matrix Computations and Scientific Computing and Differential Equations. He served a term as president of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, founding two new journals during his time there.
- J Ernest Wilkins [1923-2011]: Wilkins enrolled at the University of Chicago at the age of 13, then its youngest ever student, and received his PhD at 19 for a dissertation on the calculus of variations. His long and varied career included the Manhattan Project, General Atomic Company, and Howard University, where he started a PhD programme in mathematics, the first ever at a historically black institution. His published works included differential geometry, nuclear engineering, and optics.
- Vera Pless [1931-]: Now retired, Pless was a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago for over thirty years. She is perhaps best known as a cofounder and president of Women in Science and Engineering. She also wrote several books on error correcting codes, including Introduction to the Theory of Error-Correcting Codes and Handbook of Coding Theory.
- Gilbert Bliss [1876-1951]: During his career at the University of Missouri, Princeton University, and the University of Chicago, Bliss worked on the calculus of variations. In the First World War, he used techniques from this area to help the US military solve problems in ballistics. He is best known for a term as the president of the American Mathematical Society and for his 1946 book Lectures on the Calculus of Variations.
- A Adrian Albert [1905-1972]: Albert spent most of his career at the University of Chicago, working primarily on Jordan algebras, which have significance in quantum theory. Albert wrote two major books, Modern Higher Algebra and Structure of Algebras. He was awarded the Cole Prize from the American Mathematical Society in 1939 for his work on Riemann matrices.
- Herman Goldstine [1913-2004]: Goldstine began his career as a research assistant at the University of Chicago under Gilbert Bliss. He later went to the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, and then to the Institute for Advanced Study. At the Moore School, he was part of the team that developed ENIAC, the first electronic computer. For this work, he was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1983.
- James Serrin [1926-]: Serrin received his PhD from Indiana University in 1951 and then spent most of his career at the University of Minnesota. He studied a number of different areas in his career, including elliptic differential equations, fluid dynamics, and thermodynamics. In 1973, he was awarded the Birkhoff Prize in Applied Mathematics by the American Mathematical Society.
- Robion Kirby [1938-]: Kirby earned his PhD from the University of Chicago and went on to be a notable figure in the field of topology. During his career at UCLA and the University of California at Berkeley, he became known for keeping a list of outstanding problems in topology, which served as inspiration for many a young mathematician.
- Bruce Kellogg [1930-2012]: Following a PhD from the University of Chicago, Kellogg spent most of his career at the University of Maryland. His contributions were primarily in partial differential equations and finite element analysis.
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