Robert Osserman (December 19, 1926 – November 30, 2011) was an American mathematician.
Raised in Bronx, he went to Bronx High School of Science (diploma, 1942) and New York University. He earned a Ph.D. (1955) from Harvard University on the thesis Contributions to the Problem of Type (on Riemann surfaces) advised by Lars Ahlfors.
He joined Stanford University in 1955. He joined the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in 1990. He worked on geometric function theory, differential geometry, the two integrated in a theory of minimal surfaces, isoperimetric inequality, and other issues in the areas of astronomy, geometry, cartography and complex function theory. Osserman was the head of mathematics at Office of Naval Research, a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Paris and Guggenheim Fellow at the University of Warwick. He edited numerous books and promoted mathematics, such as in interviews with celebrities Steve Martin and Alan Alda.
Robert Osserman died on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at his home.
- Two-dimensional calculus (Krieger, 1977)
- Survey of minimal surfaces (1986)
- Poetry of the universe — a mathematical exploration of the cosmos (Random House, 1995)
- John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellow (1976)
- 2003 Joint Policy Board for Mathematics Communications Award.