Israel Gelfand (1913-2009)

News is circulating on the internet that Israel Gelfand has died. My ultimate source for this is LiveJournal, so take it with a grain of salt, but it’s not hard to believe, given that the guy was 96. Anyways, seminars will never be the same again.

12 thoughts on “Israel Gelfand (1913-2009)

  1. Sorry to hear of his passing.

    On a lighter note, Ben’s post (and recent discussion with Carl) reminds me of the very large number of blogs by Russian mathematicians (many of which are on LiveJournal). I would conjecture that there are many more Russian math blogs than english math blogs (though I should note that most of these blogs are more “personal blogs” rather than “math blogs”).

    I was consider adding some of these blogs to our blogroll, but I guess this would be of limited use to our non-Russian speaking readers (myself included).

  2. Maybe it’s worth mentioning — as a kind of tribute to Gelfand — that this blog is named after the Secret Russian Seminar, which was the informal name of a student representation theory seminar that we used to run at Berkeley. Most of us didn’t speak any Russian, but we definitely took some inspiration from the idea that in a Gelfand style seminar, the audience lectures the speaker.

  3. My understanding is that Feigin deserves most of the credit for advising Frenkel, which puts me in a different line of descent. Aside from giving Feigin his props, this doesn’t matter. We all go back to Gauss, and I’m happy to be counted among Gelfand’s intellectual descendants.

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