George Piranian

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George Piranian
Piranian Pfleger.jpg
George Piranian (pictured in center) at Oberwolfach (1961)
Born(1914-05-02)May 2, 1914
Thalwil, Switzerland
DiedAugust 31, 2009(2009-08-31) (aged 95)
Alma materUtah State University
University of Oxford
Rice University
AwardsRhodes Scholar
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Michigan
Doctoral advisorSzolem Mandelbrojt

George Piranian (Armenian: Գևորգ Փիրանեան; May 2, 1914 – August 31, 2009), was a Swiss-American mathematician of Swiss and Armenian descent.[1] Piranian was internationally known for his research in complex analysis, his association with Paul Erdős, and his editing of the Michigan Mathematical Journal.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Piranian was born in Thalwil outside Zürich, Switzerland. His family immigrated to Logan, Utah (1929) where Piranian received a B.Sc. in agriculture and M.Sc. in botany (1937) at Utah State University. As a Rhodes scholar, Piranian first "tasted blood" in mathematics at Oxford.

After returning to the United States, Piranian earned his Ph.D. in mathematics under Szolem Mandelbrojt at Rice University (1943). Piranian's dissertation was entitled A Study of the Position and Nature of the Singularities of Functions Given by Their Taylor Series.[4]

Piranian joined the faculty at University of Michigan in 1945.

Editing the Michigan Mathematical Journal[edit]

In 1952, Piranian, along with Paul Erdős, Fritz Herzog and Arthur J. Lohwater, founded the Michigan Mathematical Journal; leadership in editing was assumed by Piranian in 1954.

Piranian's editing was renowned in mathematics.[5][6]


Piranian's teaching captivated several future research mathematicians.[7][8] Piranian also was an advisor with the Honors Program at the College of Literature, Science and the Arts at the University of Michigan.

Teaching of Theodore Kaczynski[edit]

In the 1960s, Piranian taught and advised Theodore Kaczynski, who was a Ph.D. student in mathematics.[9] In the 1990s, Kaczynski was convicted of the Unabomber crimes.


  1. ^ Dedication to George Piranian. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  2. ^ Archived 2011-10-08 at the Wayback Machine..
  3. ^
  4. ^ George Piranian at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. ^ Walter Rudin. In the Piranian festschrift, of the Michigan Mathematical Journal.
  6. ^ Steven Krantz. "Acknowlegment" in A Handbook of Mathematical Writing.
  7. ^ Page xi in Sarason: Sarason, Donald (2007). Complex function theory (2 ed.). American Mathematical Society. ISBN 0-8218-4428-8.
  8. ^ Sarason, Donald (1994). Complex function theory (first ed.). Henry E. Helson.
  9. ^ Profs.: suspect was quiet, analytical Archived 2007-11-14 at the Wayback Machine.