Gian-Carlo Rota

Gian-Carlo Rota


From 1966 until his death he was a consultant at Los Alamos National Laboratory, frequently visiting to lecture, discuss, and collaborate, notably with his friend Stan Ulam.

He began his career as a functional analyst, but changed directions and became a distinguished combinatorialist. His series of ten papers on "Foundations of Combinatorics" in the 1960s is credited with making it a respectable branch of modern mathematics. He said that the one combinatorial idea he would like to be remembered for is the correspondence between combinatorial problems and problems of the location of the zeroes of polynomials. [] He worked on the theory of incidence algebras (which generalize the 19th-century theory of Möbius inversion) and popularized their study among combinatorialists, set the umbral calculus on a rigorous foundation, unified the theory of Sheffer sequences and polynomial sequences of binomial type, and worked on fundamental problems in probability theory. His philosophical work was largely in the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl.

He died in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A reading room (2-285) in the Department of Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is dedicated in his name.


External links

*MacTutor Biography|id=Rota
* [ The Forbidden City of Gian-Carlo Rota (a memorial site)] This page at was not originally intended to be a memorial web site, but was created by Rota himself with the assistance of his friend Bill Chen in January 1999 while Rota was visiting Los Alamos National Laboratory.
* [ Mathematics, Philosophy, and Artificial Intelligence: a dialogue with Gian-Carlo Rota and David Sharp]
* [ "Fine Hall in its golden age: Remembrances of Princeton in the early fifties" by Gian-Carlo Rota.]
* [ Tribute page by Prof. Catherine Yan (Texas A&M University), a former student of Rota]
*, ISBN 0-817-63866-0; review at []

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