Richard Duffin

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Richard Duffin
Born 1909
Chicago, Illinois
Died October 29, 1996(1996-10-29) (aged 87)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Known for Work on electrical network theory
DKP algebra
Duffin–Schaeffer conjecture
Awards John von Neumann Theory Prize (1982)
Scientific career
Fields Physics
Institutions Carnegie Mellon University
Purdue University
Doctoral advisor Harold Mott-Smith
David Bourgin
Doctoral students Raoul Bott
Hans Weinberger

Richard James Duffin (1909 – October 29, 1996) was an American physicist, known for his contributions to electrical transmission theory and to the development of geometric programming and other areas within operations research.

Education and career[edit]

Duffin obtained a BSc in physics at the University of Illinois, where he was elected to Sigma Xi in 1932.[1] He stayed at Illinois for his PhD, which was advised by Harold Mott-Smith and David Bourgin, producing a thesis entitled Galvanomagnetic and Thermomagnetic Phenomena (1935).[2]

Duffin lectured at Purdue University and Illinois before joining the Carnegie Institute in Washington, D.C. during World War II.[3] His wartime work was devoted to the development of navigational equipment and mine detectors. In 1946, he became Professor of Mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University.[1] He wrote a letter of recommendation to Princeton University for John Forbes Nash, Jr., later a Nobel laureate. Duffin and his student Raoul Bott developed network synthesis filters when the given transfer function is a positive-real function in 1949.[4]

Duffin would remain at Carnegie Mellon until his retirement in 1988.[3] Duffin was also a consultant to Westinghouse Electric Corporation.[3]

Duffin was inducted to the National Academy of Sciences in 1972[5] and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1984.[6] He was joint winner of the 1982 John von Neumann Theory Prize,[7] and winner of Sigma Xi's Monie A. Ferst Award for 1984 in recognition of his ability as a teacher and communicator.[1]

Selected publications[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Sigma Xi News". American Scientist. 72 (2): 124. JSTOR 27852522. 
  2. ^ Richard Duffin at the Mathematics Genealogy Project.
  3. ^ a b c Richard J. Duffin from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS)
  4. ^ John H. Hubbard (2010) "The Bott-Duffin Synthesis of Electrical Circuits", pages 33–40 in A Celebration of the Mathematical Legacy of Raoul Bott, P. Robert Kotiuga editor, CRM Proceedings and Lecture Notes #50, American Mathematical Society
  5. ^ Dicke, William (November 10, 1996). "Richard Duffin, 87, Researcher In Many Areas of Mathematics". The New York Times. Retrieved March 30, 2015. 
  6. ^ "New Members Elected May 8, 1974". Records of the Academy. 1973–1974: 69–72. JSTOR 3785536. 
  7. ^ Assad, Arjang A.; Gass, Saul I., eds. (2011). Profiles in Operations Research: Pioneers and Innovators. New York, NY: Springer. p. 213. ISBN 978-1-441-96280-5. 
  8. ^ Ben–Israel, Adi. "Review of Geometric Programming—Theory and Applications. By R. J. Duffin, E. L. Peterson and C. Zener". SIAM Review. 10 (2): 235–236. doi:10.1137/1010047.