In memory of our beloved Marvin Knopp who died on December 24, 2011

Many people who loved Marvin were not able to attend his funeral because of the suddenness of his death. For those of you who would like to view the service for my father please click on this YouTube link.

Please note that this link consists of four sequential videos totaling 71 minutes in length.

Contributions in his memory may be made to Camphill Soltane, 224 Nantmeal Road, Glenmoore, Pennsylvania 193434, or to Meir Panim.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bruce Berndt

There are very few heroes in contemporary American life. Our athletes and
politicians, in particular, are consumed by arrogance, greed, and
selfishness; their lives are not to be emulated. Fortunately, in academic
life, and I speak now of our chosen profession of mathematics, there are
several who cherish their research and teaching, work unceasingly at it,
and unselfishly guide their students to not only an appreciation of the
beauty of mathematics but toward a creative, productive career in research
and teaching. Among those who have been blessed with both the abilities
to do creative, meaningful research and to effectively and
enthusiastically teach, Marvin Knopp stands out. Why was Marvin so
successful? Why was Marvin a hero in our society? Marvin loved what he
did, and he loved to impart this love of mathematics to his students. In
contrast to our contemporary political un-heroes, he labored,
communicated, and mentored unselfishly.

Marvin was a major influence in my personal mathematical life. At the
University of Wisconsin, my first class in number theory was Marvin's
course, Modular Forms with Applications to Number Theory, with his
lectures forming the genesis of his outstanding book, Modular Functions in
Analytic Number Theory. I had never previously had any course in number
theory, and it was in this course that I first learned of Ramanujan's
congruences for the partition function p(n) and the Hardy-Ramanujan
asymptotic formula for p(n). Now, almost 50 years later, I cannot imagine
choosing any other field of mathematics. If it were not for Marvin's
course, I know that my career would have proceeded in a far different
direction, devoid of the elegant richness and beauty of Ramanujan's
theorems and the wonderful contributions of my own students. For all of
this, I am very thankful.