Imperial College London

Emeritus Professor of Mathematics and the History of Mathematics – Eduardo Ortiz

Eduardo Ortiz

Eduardo Ortiz died on 29th December 2021, at the age of 90.

Eduardo was Argentinian and obtained his PhD (in Functional Analysis) from the University of Buenos Aires in 1961, under the supervision of Mischa Cotlar. He first came to the Mathematics Department at Imperial in 1963, after a short but motivational period at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Dublin.

He then won a chair in Buenos Aires and intended then to stay there, but the changing political and indeed military situation there led to a return to Imperial as a Senior Research Investigator in 1996. Apart from various visiting positions -­ at MIT, Harvard, Rouen, Orléans - he was based at Imperial from then on.

Eduardo’s motivation in Dublin had centred around spectral methods, of the ideas then called (Lanczos’) Tau Method for dealing with differential equations. His work on developments of these ideas, together with approximation theory and particularly numerical approximation continued for a long time and resulted in many papers, individually and in collaboration. He also found time to collaborate more widely in, for example, complex analysis with his colleague here Walter Hayman (recently deceased)

At the same time, Eduardo had a deep interest in the History of Mathematics, which he researched and taught over many years. He was particularly influenced not only by Mischa Cotlar, but also by Sobolev, Zygmund, Kahane. He celebrated the works of the Portuguese mathematician António Aniceto Monteiro and the Spanish mathematician Julio Rey Pastor, in each case co-editing their Collected Works. In addition, he published around a hundred papers.

In 1990 he was the winner of the J.Babini History of Science National Prize, Argentina, and was Foreign Fellow National Academy Buenos Aires in 1998. He was also a Guggenheim Fellow and a member of the Academy of Exact Physical and Natural Sciences of Argentina, and of the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences.

Eduardo was a great advocate for mathematics as a discipline and for the promotion of its health in society.

He cared deeply for the welfare of the students he taught and tutored. Eduardo was always cheerful and had a delightful sense of humour which made him a popular colleague.

Eduardo continued as a Senior Research Investigator in Mathematics at Imperial College until September 2005 and thereafter remained within the Department as Professor Emeritus.

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