Hellenica World


Leonard Carlitz (December 26, 1907 – September 17, 1999) was an American mathematician. Carlitz supervised 44[1] Doctorates at Duke University and published over 770 papers. His students included David Roselle, who became President of the University of Kentucky and, currently, the University of Delaware; twelve of his students have since advised a further 57 PhD's collectively, leading to 103 total descendents.

John D. Brillhart, Prof Emeritus at University of Arizona, who began editing the collected works, has said it may run to perhaps 6800 pages.


* 1907 Born Philadelphia, PA, USA
* 1927 BA, University of Pennsylvania
* 1930 PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 1930 under Howard Mitchell, who had studied under Oswald Veblen at Princeton
* 1930/31 at Caltech with E.T. Bell
* 1931 married Clara Skaler
* 1931/32 at Cambridge with G.H. Hardy
* 1932 Joined the faculty of Duke University where he served for 45 years
* 1938 to 1973 Editorial Board Duke Mathematics Journal (Managing Editor from 1945.)
* 1939 Birth of son Michael
* 1940 Supervision of his first doctoral student E.F. Canaday, awarded 1940
* 1945 Birth of son Robert
* 1964 First James B. Duke Professor in Mathematics
* 1977 Supervised his 44th and last doctoral student, Jo Ann Lutz, awarded 1977
* 1977 Retired
* 1990 Death of wife Clara, after 59 years of marriage
* 1999 September 17 Died in Pittsburgh, PA


Leonard Carlitz did not produce a book or any magnum opus, but over some half a century published 771 technical papers comprising approximately 7000 pages. The effort to edit his daunting collected works, undertaken originally by Professor John Brillhart, is ongoing. A complete bibliography is not yet available online.


* Carlitz was one of two Duke mathematicians to "...go to Europe to purchase math books" in the 1930s towards the formation of a mathematics library, see a note at Duke's Library.

The following are informal anecdotes without published attribution.

* I told Carlitz, "you've published more papers than Hank Aaron has hit home runs." (This would have been the summer of '77, the year after Aaron's 755th and final homer.)

* Carlitz's office was spare (after his retirement), but he kept his preprints—all of them—in a stack in the middle of the floor. It was taller than he was. Once when I asked a question he went to the stack, grabbed a corner of a paper, placed his free hand on the stack above it, and jiggled out the paper (which answered the question). Later when I graduated and he gave me some preprints to take to graduate school, everything was in filing cabinets. He explained that his son had come to help him organize it all, after which he couldn't find papers without referencing the index.


The Carlitz Module is generalized by the Drinfel'd Module

An Identity regarding Bernoulli Numbers

The Mathematics Genealogy Project

Carlitz wrote about Bessel Polynomials

Erdős number

Carlitz's Erdős number is 2.


1. ^ The Genealogy project reports 46 doctorates but contains errors, e.g. two entries for different spellings for "Fred[e]ric Howard 1966"; the number 44 is reported by his friend and colleague Dr. Richard Hodel in the official obituary.

External links

* Obituary at Duke's Math Newsletter
* Cartliz at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
* Carlitz at St.Andrew's Biographies of Mathematicians
* Mathematics at Duke University


Mathematics Encyclopedia

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