Basil Gordon

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Basil Gordon
Born(1931-12-23)December 23, 1931
DiedJanuary 12, 2012(2012-01-12) (aged 80)
Alma materCalifornia Institute of Technology
Scientific career
Doctoral advisorTom M. Apostol
Notable studentsKen Ono

Basil Gordon (December 23, 1931 – January 12, 2012) was a mathematician at UCLA, specializing in number theory and combinatorics.[1] He obtained his Ph.D. at California Institute of Technology under the supervision of Tom Apostol. Ken Ono was one of his students.

Gordon is well known for Göllnitz–Gordon identities, generalizing the Rogers–Ramanujan identities.[2] He also posed the still-unsolved Gaussian moat problem in 1962.[3]

Gordon was drafted into the US Army, where he worked with the former Nazi rocket scientist Wernher von Braun. Gordon's calculations of the gravitational interactions of earth, moon, and satellite contributed to the success and longevity of Explorer I, which launched in 1958 and remained in orbit until 1970.[4] He was the step-grandson of General George Barnett and is a descendant of the Gordon family of British distillers, producers of Gordon's Gin.


  1. ^ "Basil Gordon Obituary: View Basil Gordon's Obituary by Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  2. ^ Krishnaswami Alladi (2013) Remembering Basil Gordon, 1931-2012, NAMS 60(7), 856-865.
  3. ^ Gethner, Ellen; Wagon, Stan; Wick, Brian (1998), "A stroll through the Gaussian primes", The American Mathematical Monthly, 105 (4): 327–337, doi:10.2307/2589708, JSTOR 2589708, MR 1614871.
  4. ^ "Basil Gordon Obituary: View Basil Gordon's Obituary by Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2012-08-16.

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