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Samuel Eilenberg

Born: 30-Sep-1913
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: 30-Jan-1998
Location of death: New York City
Cause of death: Illness

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Mathematician, Curator

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Category theory

Samuel Eilenberg was one of the 20th century's most renowned experts on algebraic topology (the use of algebraic techniques to study shape), and developed a new field of mathematics called homological algebra. With Norman E. Steenrod he explained the Eilenberg-Steenrod axioms for a generalized homology theory, and with Saunders Mac Lane he explained their theory of transformations between mathematical categories. Universally called Sammy, his work in mathematics influenced the development of theoretical computer science. He was also a noted expert on Asian art and debunker of artistic fakery, and left his collection, valued at several million dollars, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Wife: Natasha Shterenzon Eilenberg (art historian, m. 1960, div. 1969)

    University: MA, Warsaw University (1934)
    University: PhD, Warsaw University (1936)
    Scholar: Princeton University
    Teacher: University of Michigan (1940-45)
    Teacher: Princeton University (1945-46)
    Professor: Indiana University (1946-47)
    Professor: Columbia University (1947-82)
    Professor: École Normale Supérieure (1950-51)

    Fulbright
    Guggenheim Fellowship
    AMS Steele Prize 1987
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Mathematical Society
    National Academy of Sciences
    Museum of Modern Art Benefactor
    Stroke 1996
    Coma Jun-1997 (until his death)
    Naturalized US Citizen 1948
    Jewish Ancestry
    Polish Ancestry
    Russian Ancestry

Author of books:
Foundations of Algebraic Topology (1952, with Norman E. Steenrod)
Homological Algebra (1956, with Henri Cartan)
Algebraic Topology: Lectures of Samuel Eilenberg (1965)
Automata, Languages, and Machines (1974, two volumes)


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