David Ross Richman
Memorial Page

David Ross Richman (June 26, 1956 - February 1, 1991)

David was born in Montreal and did his early schooling in Vancouver, in Geneva, and in Manhattan, where he graduated from the United Nations' International School. He went on to earn his Bachelor's degree from Harvard and his Ph.D. in Mathematics at the age of 23 from the University of California at Berkeley. He visited the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and then held a position in our department at the University of South Carolina from 1982 until his death in 1991. He spent 1982-1984 on leave at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

David's research interests included abstract algebra, algebraic coding theory, combinatorics, game theory, inequalities, invariant theory, the Jacobian Problem, linear algebra, number theory, the theory of equations, and Waring's Problem. He did not like labelling himself as a certain type of mathematician. He was not simply an algebraist, nor simply a combinatorist, nor simply a number theorist. The mathematics that he did at any given moment was the mathematics that he felt most passionate about at the time. It could be anything from a game or an inequality to invariant theory or the Jacobian Problem. Asking him or anyone to name his or her main area of interest was equated in David's mind with suggesting to the person that he or she should specialize. He knew, in reality, that it is difficult if not impossible to increase the breadth of one's knowledge by narrowing the extent of one's interests.

On Febuary 1st, 1991, a USAir plane carrying over 100 passengers was directed to land in Los Angeles at the same time that another smaller commuter plane was directed on the runway. David, age 34, was a passenger on the USAir plane. He and others died from inhaling toxic fumes while apparently walking toward an exit in the plane; his body was found within one row of an exit door. Those who remember him include Shu-mei, his wife who was pregnant with David Harry, born April 30, 1991; David and Shu-mei's daughter Miriam who was age one at the time of the accident; David's parents Alex and Shifra who have since been making strong efforts to change safety regulations for airlines; David's sister Janice and her husband and children (one Davina, born Febuary 17th, 1991); David's brothers Elliot and Vincent; and David's many colleagues and friends.

I was one of David's colleagues and friends. At the time of the accident, he was in fact my closest friend. This page is dedicated to him and all those who loved him.

- Michael Filaseta

David Richman's Publications

David Ross Richman: Related Papers

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