Daily Archives: March 25, 2009

The Mathematical Ancestors of Jack Schwartz

By following the links I was able to construct the following list of Jack’s mathematical ancestors:

Jacob T. Schwartz, Ph.D. Yale University 1952

Nelson Dunford, Ph.D. Brown University 1936

Jacob David Tamarkin, Ph.D. St. Petersburg State University 1917

Pafnuty Lvovich Chebyshev, Ph.D. St. Petersburg State University 1849

Andrei Andreyevich Markov, Ph.D. St. Petersburg State University 1884

Nikolai Dmitrievich Brashman, Ph.D. Moscow State University 1834

Joseph Johann von Littrow, Advisor Unknown.

I recognized the names Chebyshev and Markov as soon as I soon them.

George Forsythe and Dunford were mathematical sons of Tamarkin, so George was Jack’s mathematical uncle. George was the first chairman of the computer science department at Stanford, as was Jack the first chairman of computer science at CIMS. [1]

I know I studied some of Forsythe’s work and I have a vague memory that he may have spent some time on the Caltech campus.

I was quite moved as I put this list together, especially when I saw so many of Jack’s


1. Forsythe’s entry is very brief. I also try to omit needless words, but the authors enforced too low a bound on the size of his entry.

Proposed Program for the Celebration in Honor of Jack Schwartz, at CIMS on March 27

Diana Schwartz just sent me the proposed schedule for this Friday’s celebration in honor of Jack Schwartz.

It will be held from 7-9PM at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences (CIMS), 251 Mercer St, New York, New York, one block west of the intersection of Broadway and Fourth Street. [1]

program jack_celebration;                        -- start Jack Schwartz program
use jack_colleagues_friends_family_pak;          -- use SETL package, please
                                                 -- forgive Diana’s syntax errors
print("Welcome by Ed Schonberg");
print("Marian McPartland, piano
       When the Saints Go Marching In - Traditional
       It's Easy to Remember (And So Hard to Forget) – Music by Richard
               Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart");
print("Judith Dunford");
print("Martin Davis");
print("David Finkelstein");
print("David Robinson, guitar
       Prelude in D Minor, by J. S. Bach");
print("Louis Nirenberg");
print("Fran Allen");
print("Greg Chaitin");
print("Robert Dewar");
print("Michael Schwartzman");
print("Edmond Schonberg, piano
       Variations on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24, Johannes Brahms (1861).
       Based on a theme from George Frederic Handel's Harpsichord Suite No. 1
       in B-flat Major, HWV 434");
print("Eugenio Omodeo"); [2]
print("Bud Mishra");
print("Ken Perlin");
print("Mike Wigler");
print("Peter Lax");
print("Michael Rabin");
print("Karen Morrissey, vocal
       The Parting Glass");
print("Reception, 13th Floor Lounge");
end jack_celebration;



1. Dear CIMS collelagues. I discovered a couple of days ago that you have a CIMS “planet” and so I now include CIMS in every post about Courant.

2. I don’t know Dr. Omodeo, but in case I forget to tell him the following story, I hope that others who read it will bring it to his attention.

Back in the 1960’s an apartment near the Caltech campus in Pasadena, California, was shared by several generations of graduate students in chemistry. No one knew how to list the phone number until one of them made the obvious suggestion, and after I heard the story I confirmed its accuracy by dialing information and asking for “Avogadro’s number. ”

3. The WordPress source-code listing feature does a great job when listing SETL code using the tag for the Python language.

Tuxers Asleep


Originally uploaded by daveshields

I let the Tuxers sleep in this morning, and took this picture of them before telling them it was time to Rise and Shine.

In case any animal activists are concerned that I made them sleep outside on a cold night, rest assured that they just *love* cold weather.

Tuxers Asleep


Originally uploaded by daveshields

I let the Tuxers sleep in this morning, and took this picture of them before telling them it was time to Rise and Shine.

In case any animal activists are concerned that I made them sleep outside on a cold night, rest assured that they just *love* cold weather.

Dave’s FAQ: Why You Should Introduce Yourself to the Person Sitting Next to You

Q: If I find myself sitting next to someone I have never met, be it on an airplane or waiting in line or at a concert, should I introduce myself to that person?

A: Yes.

Here are some examples:

A few days ago a member of my temple who is an Israeli said she had just flown in from Tel Aviv, and that the man sitting next to her was one of Israel’s most famous musicians.

Just this morning I introduced myself to a woman standing near me at a local Starbucks, and learned that her grandfather was the lyricist of the song “Moonlight Serenade.”

I also just wrote a post about a fellow congregant who met Howard Schulz, CEO of Starbucks, on a plane flight.

Fran Allen once told me that IBM’s greatest security risk was IBM Fellow Marty Hopkins. He would always introduce himself to the person in the next seat on a plane, or if that person were busy he would look for a fellow IBMer on the plane. In either event, he would then begin relating IBM’s deepest, darkest secrets, shouting them out if he saw an IBMer sitting several seats away.

My most memorable such encounter came during a trans-Atlantic flight in the 1970’s when my wife and I were enroute to Moscow to attend a conference on SETL sponsored by our National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences,. (Russian: Росси́йская акаде́мия нау́к, Rossi’iskaya akade’miya nau’k, shortened to PAH, RAN.)

I introduced myself to the man sitting next to me.

I can’t recall his name as I write this, though I do recall that:

  • He was from Massachusetts;
  • He had some other physical limitation, though perhaps he just said he had a bad back and thus flying was quite uncomfortable;
  • He was a member of the US Delegation to the United Nations, where he had a senior position;
  • He had served in the US House of Representatives;
  • He was enroute to a conference/meeting about the “Law of the Sea”;
  • He was a colleague of Eliot Richardson

I just did a search using Google and expect that his name can be found in the following document: oreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume E-14, Part 1, Documents on the United Nations, 1973-1976.

He was a wonderfu, wonderful man, and I recall reading with great regret his obituary a few years later.

?? – May His Memory Be a Blessing.

  • Was working fo
  • The World is Flat and Small: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

    A few years back a member of my temple said that he once been on a plane and had spoken with the man sitting next to him.

    The man said that his name was Howard Schultz, that he was from Seattle, and that he was the CEO of a company called Starbucks.

    Half-cafe or Half-and-Half?

    As noted in a previous post, my coffee of choice is “half-cafe,” meaning equal amounts of regular and decaffinated coffee. “Half-cafe” is pronounced “Half Caff.” [1]

    Last week, I was another cafe and placed my usual order, but I made the mistake of ordering a “half and half.”

    I expect you can guess what I got — the lightest cup of coffee I have ever seen, for it was all “half and half” with not a drop of coffee.

    This is a reminder that you should always be precise when you ask someone for something.

    One of the clearest writers I have ever read was Ulysses S. Grant. His orders to his commanders were models of exquisite precision. Precision was essential at a time when orders could only be relayed by voice or writing. No situation demanded more precision than in the midst of battle, when all involved all waging war in a chaotic situation under great stress.

    For example, here is an order given during the Chattanooga Campaign:

    CHATTANOOGA, November 24, 1863.

    General Sherman carried Missionary Ridge as far as the tunnel with only slight skirmishing. His right now rests at the tunnel and on top of the hill, his left at Chickamauga Creek. I have instructed General Sherman to advance as soon as it is light in the morning, and your attack, which will be simultaneous, will be in cooperation. Your command will either carry the rifle-pits and ridge directly in front of them, or move to the left, as the presence of the enemy may require. If Hooker’s position on the mountain [cannot be maintained] with a small force, and it is found impracticable to carry the top from where he is, it would be advisable for him to move up the valley with all the force he can spare, and ascend by the first practicable road.
    U. S. GRANT,


    1. Unsure of the correct spelling, I did a search on “half-caff” and “half-cafe” on Google to find the most commonly used name.

    The World is Flat and Small: Glenn Miller and Mitchell Parrish

    I have at hand a cup of half-calf courtesy of the Starbucks in Mt. Kisco.

    As I was waiting in line to order the half-calf, I heard some music being played by the Glenn Miller Band.

    I mentioned to the woman next to me that Glenn Miller was my mother’s favorite musician.

    She said that her grandfather was a lyricist, and that he wrote a song with Glenn Miller!

    The Lyricist? Mitchell Parish.

    The Song? Moonlight Serenade: [1]

    Glenn Miller and Mitchell Parrish

    I stand at your gate and the song that I sing is of moonlight.
    I stand and I wait for the touch of your hand in the June night.
    The roses are sighing a Moonlight Serenade.

    The stars are aglow and tonight how their light sets me dreaming.
    My love, do you know that your eyes are like stars brightly beaming?
    I bring you and sing you a Moonlight Serenade.

    Let us stray till break of day
    in love’s valley of dreams.
    Just you and I, a summer sky,
    a heavenly breeze kissing the trees.

    So don’t let me wait, come to me tenderly in the June night.
    I stand at your gate and I sing you a song in the moonlight,
    a love song, my darling, a Moonlight Serenade.


    1. From the Wikipedia article:

    After “Moonlight Serenade”, originally released solely as an instrumental, became a smash hit in 1939, Mitchell Parish wrote new lyrics for the music under that title.

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