John Riordan (mathematician)

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John Riordan
Born (1903-04-22)April 22, 1903
Derby, Connecticut, United States
Died August 26, 1988(1988-08-26) (aged 85)
Scituate, Massachusetts, United States
Nationality American
Alma mater Yale University
Occupation Mathematician
Years active 1926–1968
Spouse(s) Mavis McIntosh

John Riordan (April 22, 1903 – August 26, 1988) was an American mathematician and the author of major early works in combinatorics, particularly Introduction to Combinatorial Analysis and Combinatorial Identities.

Life[edit]

Riordan was a graduate of Yale. In his early life he wrote a number of poems and essays and a book of short-stories, On the Make, published in 1929, and was Editor-in-Chief of Salient and The Figure in the Carpet, literary magazines published by The New School for Social Research in New York. He married Mavis McIntosh, the well-known poet and literary agent.

Riordan's long professional career was at Bell Labs, which he joined in 1926 (a year after its foundation) and where he remained, publishing over a hundred scholarly papers on combinatorial analysis, until he retired in 1968. He then joined the faculty at Rockefeller University as professor emeritus. A Festschrift was published in his honor in 1978.[1]

Throughout his life Riordan led an active literary life, with many distinguished friends such as Kenneth Burke, William Carlos Williams and A. R. Orage.

Tribute[edit]

From an interview with Neil Sloane published by Bell Labs:

Even at the end of my first year as a graduate student at Cornell, in 1962, I managed to arrange a summer job at Bell Labs in Holmdel. This was still on minimal cost networks. During that summer I met another of my heroes, John Riordan, one of the great early workers in combinatorics. His book An Introduction to Combinatorial Analysis is a classic. He was working at Bell Labs in West Street in Manhattan at that time. One of my earliest papers, on a problem that came up in my thesis work, was a joint paper with him.[2]

Selected publications[edit]

Erdős number[edit]

Riordan's Erdős number is 2.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Kac, M. (May 1978). "Special Issue in Honor of Riordan, John - Introduction". Journal of Combinatorial Theory Series A (Academic Press) 24 (3). 
  2. ^ J. Riordan, N. J. A. Sloane (1969). "The enumeration of rooted trees by total height". J. Austral. Math. Soc. 10: 278–282. doi:10.1017/S1446788700007527. 
  3. ^ Harary, Frank (1959). "Review: Introduction to combinatorial analysis, by John Riordan". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 65 (3): 166–169. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1959-10314-1. 
  4. ^ Stein, Paul R. (1972). "Review: Combinatorial identities, by John Riordan". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 78 (4): 490–496. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1972-12968-9. 

External links[edit]