Professor emeritus Peter Lax (PhD ’49) is the subject of a new biography written by Reuben Hersh (PhD ’60) and published by the American Mathematical Society. Peter Lax, Mathematician: An Illustrated Memoir, which appeared in early 2015, covers the Abel Prize winning mathematician’s life from his early life in pre-World War II Hungary to the present. In an engaging volume of text and pictures, Hersh devotes chapters to Lax’s youth in Budapest, his involvement in the atomic bomb project, students and colleagues in the Courant Institute, the momentous late-1960’s, and descriptions of Lax’s mathematical achievements. An ample section of Appendices includes a profile of Lax’s late wife, the mathematician Anneli Cahn Lax, Lax’s own writings on John Von Neumann and Richard Courant, and writings about and by Lax’s late son John. Lax’s C.V., bibliography, a list of academic “offspring” and numerous photographs of family and colleagues complete the picture. Peter Duren (U. Mich) called the book “…well researched and full of interesting facts, yet light-hearted and lively” and Courant’s own Gérard Ben Arous commented “This book brings out both the personal and professional aspects of Peter's work in a captivating manner. It is a great read for people who know Peter as well as for those who do not."
Reuben Hersh has written and co-written numerous popularly-received books on mathematics for general and specialist audiences, including his and Philip Davis’ National Book Award-winning The Mathematical Experience. He is professor of mathematics, emeritus at the University of New Mexico.
Professors Lax and Hersh will be in the Warren Weaver Hall 13th Floor Lounge for a book signing on Thursday, April 23 at 4 pm.