Donald S. Passman was born in New York City in 1940. He attended the Bronx High School of Science, the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (B.S. in 1960), and Harvard University (M.A. in 1961 and Ph.D. in 1964). His thesis advisor was the renowned Professor Richard Brauer. He was an Assistant Professor at UCLA (1964-66) and Yale University (1966-69) before joining the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an Associate Professor in 1969, becoming a Full Professor in 1971. He is also a frequent visitor to IDA-CRD Princeton and IDA-CCR LaJolla.
His research interests include finite and infinite groups, noncommutative ring theory, group rings and enveloping algebras of Lie algebras. In 1976, Professor Passman won the MAA's Lester R. Ford award for his paper "What is a group ring?" In 1995, he was named the Richard Brauer Professor of Mathematics. In 1998, he won the Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award given by the University of Wisconsin System. In 1999, he received an Award for Distinguished University Teaching of Mathematics from the Wisconsin section of the Mathematical Association of America and in 2000 the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished University Teaching of Mathematics from the Mathematical Association of America.
He has authored 175 papers and 6 books and graduated 12 PhD students. He has also been involved in an area that not many mathematicians venture into. For a long time he has taken an interest in K-12 mathematics education. He has run enrichment classes in elementary school, coached a Math Counts team in middle school, and is co-director of the Wisconsin Mathematics, Engineering and Science Talent Search for high school students.
His enormous contributions will be greatly missed and we are proud to propose him for emeritus status.
Marty Isaacs -- or, on the front of one of his many papers and books, "I. Martin Isaacs" -- grew up in New York City and stayed there through college, where he attended Brooklyn Polytech. He and Don Passman were top-6 finishers on the 1959 Putnam exam, leading Brooklyn Polytech to a first-place finish ahead of Cal Tech, Toronto, and Harvard. Having beaten Harvard, Marty went on to graduate school there, where he got his Ph.D. under the direction of Richard Brauer in 1964. Marty spent three years at the University of Chicago, then joined our department as an Associate Professor in 1969. In 1971, he was promoted to Professor.
For the last four decades, Marty has been a central figure in the study of groups and their representations, His more than 100 papers include both foundational contributions to the structure theory of finite groups, during the march towards classification, and breakthrough papers in the last few years about the McKay conjecture -- most recently, in 2007, a reformulated version of the conjecture (with Malle and Novarro), published in Inventiones Mathematicae, which has generated a tremendous amount of research activity.
Marty has advised 25 Ph.D. students, all but one at UW-Madison; and of course he has transmitted his expertise to many, many more graduate students through his textbooks, which sit on the shelf of just about every algebraist. His undergraduate teaching is justly famed as well: he received a UW-Madison Distinguished Teaching Award in 1985, the Benjamin Smith Reynolds Award for Teaching Engineering Students in 1989, and the Wisconsin Section MAA Teaching Award in 1993, and has been the MAA Polya Lecturer twice. On top of that, he has organized the Wisconsin Talent Search, identifying and honoring top pre-college math talent in Wisconsin, for decades; this truly embodies the Wisconsin idea that the boundaries of UW are the boundaries of the state.
It has been a great honor for us to have Marty as a colleague and a pleasure to propose him for emeritus status.