Nelson Dunford

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Nelson Dunford
Born(1906-12-12)December 12, 1906
DiedSeptember 7, 1986(1986-09-07) (aged 79)
Alma materBrown University
AwardsLeroy P. Steele Prize (1981)
Scientific career
InstitutionsYale University
Doctoral advisorJacob Tamarkin
Doctoral studentsShaul Foguel
Jacob T. Schwartz

Nelson James Dunford (December 12, 1906 – September 7, 1986) was an American mathematician, known for his work in functional analysis, namely integration of vector valued functions, ergodic theory, and linear operators. The Dunford decomposition, Dunford–Pettis property, and Dunford-Schwartz theorem bear his name.

He studied mathematics at the University of Chicago and obtained his Ph.D. in 1936 at Brown University under Jacob Tamarkin. He moved in 1939 to Yale University, where he remained until his retirement in 1960.

In 1981, he was awarded jointly with Jacob T. Schwartz, his Ph.D. student, the well-known Leroy P. Steele Prize of the American Mathematical Society for the three-volume work Linear operators.

Nelson Dunford was coeditor of Transactions of the American Mathematical Society (1941–1945) and Mathematical Surveys and Monographs (1945–1949).


  • Nelson Dunford, Jacob T. Schwartz, Linear Operators, Part I General Theory ISBN 0-471-60848-3, Part II Spectral Theory, Self Adjoint Operators in Hilbert Space ISBN 0-471-60847-5, Part III Spectral Operators ISBN 0-471-60846-7


  • Obituary in Notices Amer. Math. Soc., Vol. 34, 1987, p. 287

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