Boris Abramovich Rosenfeld (1917—2008)


Geometric Center dω with the deep sorrow notifies that on April 5, 2008 the great geometer and historian of mathematics Boris Abramovich Rosenfeld passed away. He was 90 years old.


Boris Rosenfeld, 90, of State College passed away on April 5, 2008 at his home. He was born on August 30, 1917 in St. Petersburg, Russia. He was the son of the late Abraham and Maria Rosenfeld. On April 7, 1946 he married Lucy Davidov in Moscow who survived him.

Boris Rosenfeld was a distinguished research mathematician and teacher and a world authority in the history of science, especially that of ancient Greece and medieval Middle East. He was as a full member of the International Academy of the History of Science.

He received his master’s degree, Ph.D., and the highest Doctor of Science degree from the Moscow State University. During the Second World War, he was on noncombat duties with the Soviet Army, which was fighting Nazi Germany in the alliance with Western democracies. From 1950 until his immigration to the United State in 1990 he held a succession of professorial and senior research appointments, including Azerbaijan State University in Baku, Pedagogical institutes at Zagorsk and Kolomna, and the Institute of History of Science and Technology of the USSR Academy of Science. At the age of 73 he was appointed as an adjunct professor at the Department of Mathematics at Penn State, which later became a joint appointment with departments of History and Philosophy. He retired from active teaching duties in 1995 at the age of 78. He continued active research work until shortly before his death, continuing to publish books and articles in international professional journals. One of his fundamental achievements was a comprehensive bibliography and commentary on all existing medieval Islamic manuscripts in mathematics, astronomy, and related areas published in Istanbul, Turkey in 2003. He completed the last and one of the most important endeavors of his life, a translation and scientific commentary of the classical treatise of Apollonius in 2007, being completely blind by then.

From 1940 until his death Boris Rosenfeld published over 400 scientific papers in professional journals and many monographs, several of which were highly influential and became standard sources in corresponding fields of mathematics and history of science. He has a large group of students and followers from his years of teaching and research in the Soviet Union. He supervised 82 Ph.D. dissertation, an unusually high number for his field. His last Ph.D. student Diana Rhodes received her Ph.D. from Penn State in 2005.

Apart from his wife, Boris Rosenfeld is survived by two daughters: Dr. Svetlana Katok of State College and Julia Rozenman of Great Falls, VA, their husbands, Dr. Anatole Katok and Dr. Michael Rozenman; five grandchildren: Dr. Elena Katok Bolton and her husband Dr. Gary Bolton, Boris Katok and his wife Sherrie Hashemi, Alexandra Rozenman and her husband Dr. Alexander Voronov, Dr. Mary Rozenman, and Danya Katok and her fiancee Nicholas Ahlbin; and two great-grandchildren, Uriel Bolton 6, and Zoa Katok 6.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, April 9 at 1pm in Koch Funeral Home, 2401 S. Atherton Str., State College. The burial at the Spring Creek Presbyterian Cemetery will follow.

In his long fight with eye diseases and approaching blindness Boris Rosenfeld has benefited from superior skills of several outstanding eye surgeons and from two cornea transplants. In recognition of that, memorial contributions may be made to the Gift of Life Family House

См. также статью ученика Бориса Абрамовича М. П. Замаховского, написанную по случаю 90-летия Розенфельда и опубликованную в журнале Математическое Просвещение, Серия 3, 2007, выпуск 11, стр. 15—20.