Donald J. Newman

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Donald J. Newman
Born(1930-07-27)July 27, 1930
Brooklyn, New York
DiedMarch 28, 2007(2007-03-28) (aged 76)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania[1]
Alma materHarvard University
Spouse(s)Herta Newman
ChildrenDavid Newman and Danny Newman
AwardsIndividual Putnam fellow - 1948
Scientific career
InstitutionsYeshiva University
Temple University
New York University
Doctoral advisorDavid Widder
Joseph Leonard Walsh

Donald J. (D. J.) Newman (July 27, 1930 – March 28, 2007) was an American mathematician and professor, excelling at the Putnam mathematics competition while an undergraduate at City College of New York and New York University, and later receiving his PhD from Harvard University in 1953.[2]

Life and works[edit]

Newman was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1930, and studied at New York's Stuyvesant High School.[3] When he was 14 he worked with Dubble Bubble Gum to help solve the statistical question of how often a gum purchaser would receive the same joke for their gum wrapper.[4] He was an avid problem-solver, and as an undergraduate was a Putnam Fellow all three years he took part in the Putnam math competition; only the third person to attain that feat.[5] His mathematical specialties included complex analysis, approximation theory and number theory. In 1980 he found a short proof of the prime number theorem, which can now be found in his textbook on Complex analysis.[6]

Newman was a friend and associate of John Nash.[7]:144–145 His career included posts as a Professor of Mathematics at MIT, Brown University, Yeshiva University, Temple University and a distinguished chair at Bar Ilan University in Israel.[8] He held government and industry positions at Avco, Republic Aviation, Bell Laboratories, IBM and the NSA.[citation needed]

Newman's love of problem solving comes through in his writing; his published output as a mathematician includes 150 papers and five books. He taught numerous students over the years, including Robert Feinerman, Jonah Mann, Eli Passow, Louis Raymon, Joseph Bak, Shmuel Weinberger, and Gerald Weinstein at Yeshiva University, and Bo Gao, Don Kellman, Jonathan Knappenberger, and Yuan Xu at Temple University.

See also[edit]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Newman, Donald J. (1960). "A simplified proof of Waring's conjecture". Michigan Math. J. 7 (3): 291–295. doi:10.1307/mmj/1028998439. Retrieved 2007-04-16.
  • --. (1975) A simple proof of Wiener's 1/f theorem Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society, volume 48, pages 264-265
  • --. (1979) Approximation with rational functions. Providence, RI: Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences by the American Mathematical Society. ISBN 0-8218-1691-8.
  • --. (1982) A problem seminar. New York: Springer. ISBN 0-387-90765-3.
  • --. (1998) Analytic number theory. New York: Springer. ISBN 0-387-98308-2 (#177 in the Graduate Texts in Mathematics series).
  • (1996) Complex Analysis. (2004 update w/ Joseph Bak)
  • with Robert P. Feinerman: (1974) Polynomial approximation. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 0-6830-3077-9.[9]

Papers and monographs[edit]

  • The Hexagon Theorem (1982 [1])
  • Finite type functions as limits of exponential sums (1974, MRC technical summary report)
  • Splines and the logarithmic function (1974, MRC)
  • Thought Less Mathematics, an essay on why branching thinking and similar solutions aren't central to mathematics and may even obscure deeper ideas


  1. ^ Math Forum Discussions - Obituary
  2. ^ Though The Math Genealogy Project lists it as 1958.
  3. ^ "Stuyvesant Math Team". Archived from the original on 2007-10-01. Retrieved 2007-10-31.
  4. ^ Forrester, Gilda Newman. “Interview about Donald J Newman.” 29 Oct. 2017. Interviewed Newman's sister
  5. ^ See Joseph Gallian's history of the competition Archived 2006-11-13 at the Wayback Machine. and the official MAA record
  6. ^ Joseph Bak, and D.J.Newman, Complex analysis. (Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics), Springer Verlag, 3rd edition, 2010.
  7. ^ Nasar, Sylvia (1998). A Beautiful Mind. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-85370-1.
  8. ^ "In Memoriam: Donald Newman". Temple University. 2007-04-24. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
  9. ^ Rivlin, Theodore J. (1975). "Review: Polynomial approximation, by R, P. Feinerman and D. J. Newman". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 81 (1): 28–30. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1975-13624-x.

External links[edit]