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In Memoriam: Raphael Mitchel Robinson

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 January 2014

Extract

About a month after his 83rd birthday Raphael Robinson was almost wholly incapacitated by a massive stroke, and 8 weeks later, on January 27, 1995, he died of ensuing complications. Mathematics was his life. He was always working on problems—those brought to him in journals or by colleagues, and others that he invented. Just three days before his death he received word that a paper of his, originating in a published problem, was accepted for publication. His 64 publications spanned a full 6 decades, and included significant papers on number theory, combinatorics, complex analysis, and geometry, in addition to logic and set theory.

Robinson was born on November 2, 1911, in National City, California. He came to Berkeley to study mathematics, obtaining an A.B. in 1932, an M.A. in 1933, and his Ph.D. in December, 1934. His dissertation was in complex analysis. He took 12 graduate courses in a variety of fields, but not one was close to logic or set theory—which was later the setting of about a quarter of his publications.

After completing his studies Robinson served as Instructor for two years at Brown University, then returned for good to Berkeley in 1937, reaching the rank of full Professor in 1949. He taught a great variety of courses and was known as an excellent teacher, but was most interested in problemsolving and research and in 1972, at age 61, he elected early retirement, at considerable financial sacrifice, in order to concentrate on these pursuits.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Association for Symbolic Logic 1995

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References

Robinson, R. M.[1937] The theory of classes. A modification of von Neumann's system, The Journal of Symbolic Logic, vol. 2, pp. 2936.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robinson, R. M.[1945] Finite sequences of classes, The Journal of Symbolic Logic, vol. 10, pp. 125126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robinson, R. M.[1947] Primitive recursive functions, Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 53, pp. 925942.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robinson, R. M.[1947a] On the decomposition of spheres, Fundamenta Mathematicae, vol. 34, pp. 246260.Google Scholar
Robinson, R. M.[1948] Recursion and double recursion, Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 54, pp. 987993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robinson, R. M.[1951] Undecidable rings, Transactions of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 70, pp. 137159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robinson, R. M.[1951a] Arithmetical definitions in the ring of integers, Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 2, pp. 279284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robinson, R. M.[1951b] Arithmetical definability of field elements, The Journal of Symbolic Logic, vol. 16, pp. 125126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robinson, R. M.[1952] An essentially undecidable axiom system, Proceedings of the International Congress of Mathematicians, Cambridge, MA, 1950 (Graves, et al, editors), American Mathematical Society, Providence, RI, pp. 729730.Google Scholar
Robinson, R. M.[1953] Undecidable theories, North-Holland, Amsterdam, (with Mostowski, A. and Tarski, A.).Google Scholar
Robinson, R. M.[1955] Primitive recursive functions II, Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 6, pp. 663666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robinson, R. M.[1956] Arithmetical representation of recursively enumerable sets, The Journal of Symbolic Logic, vol. 21, pp. 162186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robinson, R. M.[1958] Restricted set-theoretical definitions in arithmetic, Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 9, pp. 238242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robinson, R. M.[1964] The undecidability of pure transcendental extensions of real fields, Zeitschrift für Mathematische Logik und Grundlagen der Mathematik, vol. 10, pp. 275282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robinson, R. M.[1971] Undecidability and nonperiodicity for tilings of the plane, Inventiones Mathematicae, vol. 12, pp. 177209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robinson, R. M.[1972] Some representations of diophantine sets, The Journal of Symbolic Logic, vol. 37, pp. 572578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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