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In memoriam: Basil Gordon Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus, 1931 – 2012

Basil Gordon

Basil Gordon was born on December 23, 1931, and died 80 years later on January 12, 2012. He grew up in Baltimore and attended Johns Hopkins University where he received his master's degree in mathematics in 1953. While still an undergraduate, he spent a year in Hamburg, studying with the great algebraists Emil Artin and Ernst Witt. He had studied German and was fluent in it, an asset that also served him well later. In 1956, he received his PhD from Caltech under the supervision of the number theorist Tom Apostol. Gordon's thesis on Tauberian Theorems in number theory set him on a course of continuing contributions to the field for the rest of his life, the latest being work with his former student Richard MacIntosh completed just last year. Gordon spent one year as a postdoctoral fellow teaching at Caltech and then was offered a position at UCLA, where he looked forward to working with Ernst Straus and Ted Motzkin to whom he attributed a great part of the department's attraction for him.