On June 1, 2010 Regents and Vaughn Professor of Mathematics Alan C. Adolphson retired from OSU. A reception in his honor was held in the Math Department on April 1, 2010.
Dr. Adolphson received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1974. After appointments at the University of Michigan and the University of Washington he joined our department in 1983 at the rank of Associate Professor; he was part of the new research group in number theory created that year. He was promoted to Professor in 1987, served as Southwestern Bell Professor in 1993-95, and became a Regents Professor in 1995 and Vaughn Professor of Number Theory in 2008. He also held visiting appointments at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study.
His research was supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Security Agency, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. He directed the OSU Ph.D. dissertations of Paul Young and John Dollarhide. He served as Department Head during 2003-2006.
Since his retirement he and his wife Deborah Bransford have been living in their home state of Washington in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area.
by Brian Conrey
Alan Adolphson came to OSU as the senior member and leader of a group of 4 Number Theorists hired in the Fall of 1983. It was an innovative move by the mathematics department to build an area all at once. Three of us were at the Institute for Advanced Study for the special year in Number Theory of 1982-1983 and we discussed the idea and agreed that it would be all of us or none of us that went to OSU! I think having a more senior person like Alan in the mix made the venture seem plausible.
At OSU Alan was a quiet leader. But his strong research record, especially his work in exponential sums, much of it with Steve Sperber led the way for the rest of us. Alan was a PhD student of Bernie Dwork at Princeton, one of the pioneers in p-adic analysis. Bernie's great theorem was that the zeta-function of a variety is a rational function - one of the famous conjectures of Andre Weil! Bernie and his wife Shirley used to come to Stillwater frequently to visit Alan and Deborah and the rest of the department. In fact, Bernie was appointed as the first Vaughn Chair of Number Theory, and so he used to give a series of lectures each Fall about his current mathematical interest. His lecture series on p-adic differential equations became a book. Appropriately, Alan was later named Vaughn Professor of Number Theory at OSU.
We all wish Alan and Deborah well as they re-settle in the Seattle area, a part of the country they have always been very fond of.