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.

Monday, February 6, 2012

I met Marvin for the first time in the Fall of 1983 – and, in part, because of his influence, as my appointment at Temple University was effected through him, I have little doubt. But Marvin’s influence on me began well before that – indeed in more ways than I had realized until just a couple days ago, when I read Professor Berndt’s tribute. My doctoral advisor is Professor Stolarsky, Marvin’s first doctoral student, but my first real exposure to Number Theory was through Professor Berndt’s class in Analytic Number Theory in the Fall of 1976, which I audited for a few weeks, as a new graduate student in mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana. As it happened, I wasn’t quite ready for the rigor of Professor Berndt’s course (I studied Chemistry as an undergraduate), but I went on to learn number theory and analysis from both Professor Stolarsky and Professor Berndt as well as others at Illinois in the years following.

Strangely enough, while at Illinois I did not learn much about the classical Hecke theory of modular forms, though I was very interested in Riemann’s Zeta Function and other related areas. In retrospect, I am sure that was due to Professor Stolarsky’s and Professor Berndt’s particular interests, which tended in slightly different directions from Marvin’s, as well as to my own peculiar focus. Shortly after I got to Temple, though, Marvin introduced me to the Hecke theory – specifically, if indirectly, by telling me about a question he and his student Richard Cavaliere were working on, namely determining what sort of Hecke Correspondence Theorem existed, if any, for automorphic integrals with rational period functions. That sparked something in me: I went back and learned the classical Hecke theory (from Marvin’s book, Modular Functions in Analytic Number Theory, of course), then went on to give an answer to that question an d to address other questions about the structure of rational period functions for the full modular group – work for which I was very well prepared by what I learned at Illinois. Indeed, apart from my thesis, my only mathematical papers arose out of those roughly two years of work, one joint paper (or two, depending on how you count) with Marvin, and another unpublished work which has been circulating in manuscript form for some years now and is referenced in several papers written by other mathematicians – among whom I should mention especially YoungJu Choie, another student of Marvin’s I met and worked with while I was at Temple.

I left academics near the end of 1988. In the years since, I have worked at various jobs – mostly directly relevant to that technology Marvin had a well-known aversion to, ironically enough. I also raised a family – which I’m sure Marvin would agree is the most important work most of us do in life. But, all things considered, I have always thought that the most permanent creative thing I have done so far in my life is my mathematical work. For that, I am and will always be thankful to Marvin for being my guide well before I even knew he was. I hope that in some small way I have contributed to the spread and appreciation of Marvin’s mathematical work and, in turn, as indeed Marvin himself strove to do, that of the fascinating and beautiful mathematical work of those who came before him – Hecke, Riemann, Jacobi, and Euler, to name a few.

John H. Hawkins