Fred was so alive to life that his death on Feb. 5, 1997, came as a shock. He died of pneumonia following a bone marrow transplant for myelodysplasia.
The 10th recipient of the Class of '55 Award, Fred served as a professor of mathematics at Princeton for 35 years. A pioneer in the fields of geometry and the calculus of variations, he studied the geometry of surfaces of least area.
He and his wife, Jean Taylor, a mathematics professor at Rutgers, wrote an elegant original paper for Scientific American (1976) on the geometry of soap bubbles, a gloriously inviting and original work. The author of a book, Plateau's Problem, and a computer
generated mathematics video, Fred was a superb teacher attuned to the paths young mathematicians might take among the mountains in this field.
Elected to Phi Beta Kappa our junior year, winning three varsity letters as a pole vaulter, graduating with highest honors in engineering, Fred excelled at whatever he tried. He earned his PhD in mathematics at Brown after serving as a fighter pilot in the Navy.
Entries in our 40th-reunion directory noted that he was proudest of his family, some of his theorems, and his PhD students; passionate about his wife, his kayak, and his wine cellar. He noted, too, a backlog of papers which need writing, trips which need taking, and trails which need hiking.
We relished his company. We miss him.
The Class of 1955