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In memoriam: Herbert B. Enderton Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus, 1936 – 2010

Herb Enderton

Adjunct Professor Emeritus Herbert B. Enderton died at his home in Santa Monica on October 22, 2010, after battling leukemia for nearly a year. Enderton received his PhD in mathematics in 1962 at Harvard University under the supervision of Hilary Putnam. He had a postdoctoral appointment at MIT from 1962 to 1964, and he was an assistant professor at UC Berkeley from 1964 to 1968. In 1968 he came to UCLA, where he took on two half-time positions, one in the mathematics department and the other as an editor of the reviews section of the Journal of Symbolic Logic. In 1980 the latter job became a more important one when he was made the coordinating editor of the reviews section. As such he was in charge of a major function of the Association for Symbolic Logic, and he remained in this role until 2002. Enderton retired from department in 2003, but he continued to teach regularly until he became ill in 2009. He similarly continued being in charge of the UCLA Logic Colloquium, as he had been for decades.

Enderton’s thesis and the majority of his published research were on recursion theoretic hierarchies of sets of integers. This subject, which Enderton characterized as “little steps for little feet,” was a very active part of mathematical logic in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and Enderton was a major contributor to it. In the early 1970s, he began devoting himself to teaching, writing expository articles, and—with great success—writing textbooks. His first book, A Mathematical Introduction to Logic, was published in 1972. It is the most popular logic text at the advanced undergraduate/beginning graduate level, and it is often used (especially by computer scientists) as “the” standard reference to logic. It is still going strong in its second edition, published in 2001. Spanish and Chinese translations appeared in 2004 and 2006 respectively. His 1977 Elements of Set Theory has also been very successful. A new undergraduate text,Computability Theory: an Introduction to Recursion Theory, was completed after he had become ill and was published in 2011.

Herb Enderton was an active participant in the life of the logic group at UCLA, and he will be sorely missed. He is survived by his wife Catherine, his sons Eric and Herbert (“Bert”), and his granddaughter Evelyn.

Click Here for information about the memorial gathering for Enderton in Berkeley on April 15, 2011 (PDF)