Gerard Washnitzer, professor of mathematics emeritus at Princeton, died April 2, 2017, at age 91.
Washnitzer enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1944 and earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Brooklyn College in 1947. He earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton in 1950, having studied under Salomon Bochner.
After positions at MIT and Johns Hopkins University, Washnitzer joined the Princeton faculty in 1963 and remained until he retired in 1995. He was known for his work in algebraic geometry, his love of the history of mathematics, and his lively personality. According to a past student, William Fulton *66, a math professor at Michigan, “He was always generous and he would cheerfully spend hours explaining his ideas.”
Washnitzer enthusiastically embraced a fundamental change occurring in pure mathematics and algebra during the 1960s, led by Alexander Grothendieck. Washnitzer was one of those who welcomed this revolutionary development, which affected the approach to several important questions in algebraic geometry.
In January 2017, Washnitzer was predeceased by his wife, Lillian Berg Noble, whom he married in 1953. He is survived by three sons and seven grandchildren. In his memory, the University flag was flown at half-staff over East Pyne.
Graduate memorials are prepared by the APGA.