Peter J. Freyd

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Peter J. Freyd
Peter Freyd.jpg
BornFebruary 5, 1936 (1936-02-05) (age 83)
Alma materPrinceton University (Ph.D, 1960)
Known forFreyd–Mitchell theorem,
HOMFLY polynomial,
Allegory (category theory)
Scientific career
FieldsCategory theory
InstitutionsUniversity of Pennsylvania
Doctoral advisorsNorman Steenrod
David Buchsbaum

Peter J. Freyd (/frd/; born February 5, 1936) is an American mathematician, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, known for work in category theory and for founding the False Memory Syndrome Foundation.

Mathematical work[edit]

Freyd obtained his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1960; his dissertation, on Functor Theory, was written under the supervision of Norman Steenrod and David Buchsbaum.

Freyd is perhaps best known for his adjoint functor theorem. He was the author of the foundational book Abelian Categories: An Introduction to the Theory of Functors (1964). This work culminates in a proof of the Freyd–Mitchell embedding theorem.

In addition, Freyd's name is associated with the HOMFLYPT polynomial of knot theory, and he and Scedrov originated the concept of (mathematical) allegories.

In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[2]

False Memory Syndrome Foundation[edit]

Freyd and his wife Pamela founded the False Memory Syndrome Foundation in 1992,[3] after Freyd was accused of sexual abuse by his daughter Jennifer.[3][4] Freyd denies the accusations.[5]


  • Peter J. Freyd, Abelian Categories, an Introduction to the Theory of Functors. Harper & Row (1964).[6] Available online.
  • Peter J. Freyd and Andre Scedrov: Categories, Allegories. North-Holland (1999). ISBN 0-444-70368-3.
  • Freyd Peter J (1999). "Path Integrals, Bayesian Vision, and Is Gaussian Quadrature Really Good?". Electr. Notes Theor. Comput. Sci. 29.
  • Freyd Peter J.; O'Hearn Peter W.; Power A. John; Takeyama Makoto; Street R.; Tennent Robert D. (1999). "Bireflectivity". Theor. Comput. Sci. 228 (1–2): 49–76.


  1. ^ American Men and Women of Science, Thompson Gale, 2005
  2. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2012-12-29.
  3. ^ a b Diana E. H. Russell. The Secret Trauma: Incest in the Lives of Girls and Women. Basic Books, 1987. xx–xxi.
  4. ^ Freyd, J. (1996) Betrayal Trauma: The Logic of Forgetting Child Abuse. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. The history of the confrontations between the Freyds and their daughter Jennifer is recounted in the Afterword, pages 197–199.
  5. ^ "One family's tragedy spawns national group", The Baltimore Sun, September 12, 1994. Available on the web at Skeptic Files
  6. ^ Linton, F. E. J. (1965). "Review of Abelian categories: an introduction to the theory of functors by Peter Freyd" (PDF). Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 71 (4): 577–580. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1965-11342-8.

External links[edit]