Professor Andrew F. Sobczyk was born (1915) and raised in Duluth, Minnesota. His high school principal said that Andy was the best graduate he had encountered. Andy earned BA and MA degrees from the University of Minnesota. He then entered the doctoral program at Princeton University and received his PhD degree in 1939. Part of his thesis proved that the Hahn-Banach Theorem was valid in complex valued Banach spaces. He and his advisor H.F. Bohnenblust published a version "Extension of complex linear functionals" in the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society in 1938. The remaining part of his thesis is contained in his next paper "Projections in Minkowski and Banach Spaces" was published in the Duke Journal in 1941 (volume 8, pp 78-106). This was followed by a number of papers emphasizing the geometrical aspects of functional analysis. He taught at the University of Oregon from 1939-1942. During the war he did work in control theory and servomechanisms the Radiation Laboratories (M.I.T.) and at Los Alamos. After the war he continued his work at Boston University, the University of Florida, Miami University and the University of Southern Illinois. Clemson University was quite interested in establishing expertise in the area of functional analysis and two members of the faculty (Bill Hare and John Kenelly) had been students at the University of Florida while Andy was on that faculty. To entice him to join the Clemson faculty funds were raised to establish a chair and Professor Sobczyk was hired as the Samual Manor Martin Professor of Mathematics at Clemson University in 1965. At that time he was 50 years old.
The graduate program at Clemson was young and his presence on the faculty
enabled the Department of Mathematics to offer the PhD degree. (A requirement
was that someone of national statue with experience in directing PhD degree
students be a member of the faculty.) One of the early contributions that Andy Sobczyk made to establish the graduate program at
Beginning in about 1975 the Department began to offer more breadth in the
program. The areas of statistics, computational mathematics, and operations
research were developed and the number of advanced courses in functional
analysis was somewhat limited. At this time Andy turned his research more into
the area of combinatorics and later into mathematical
physics. Research in these areas (especially mathematical physics) were
required more background and the number of students attracted to Professor Sobczyk's research fell off. He only produced one more doctoral
student in the last years of his professional life but he continued to produce
research. (He had a total of 50 refereed publications.) In the meanwhile he
Andy Sobczyk was widely known in the mathematical
world. He was a regular participant at meetings of the American Mathematical
Society and the Mathematical Association of America (delivering the
Southeastern Section Lecture in 1969). He was a personable man with keen
curiosity and a generous nature. He died on November 7, 1981, a victim of
cancer. His wife Aurelia lives in Clemson. His five children are located in
The Sobczyk family and friends established a fund* in honor of Professor Sobczyk. The income from this fund is used to offer an annual lecture (with few exceptions) in the areas of mathematics and mathematical physics that Andy worked. The first lecture (1982) was a summary of his work and life given by his colleagues, friends, and family. Since that time the following speakers have given the Sobczyk Lecture:
Research papers by Andrew Sobczyk can be found here.
*The fund is still open and persons interested in contributing can do so directly using the link here. Please specify that the contribution is for the Andrew Sobczyk Memorial Fund.