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Samuel Biography

Prof. Dr. Samuel Gitler Hammer

Sam Gitler was born in Mexico City in 1933.  He met Solomon Lefschetz at the National University of Mexico while he was doing his undergraduate studies. After graduating from engineering in 1956, he arrived at Princeton University dreaming about studying algebraic geometry. His interests, however, moved him rapidly towards algebraic topology and he obtained his PhD in 1960 under the supervision of Norman Steenrod. 

After a short period at Brandeis University, Sam was invited in 1961 by José Adem to start the Mathematics Department of the newly created Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN. Adem certainly made a wise decision, as during those early years both created the right atmosphere to develop for the first time in Mexico an extraordinary mathematical activity. He succeeded José Adem as Chairman of the Department from 1973 to 1981, and seven years later was appointed Chairman of the Mathematics Department at the University of Rochester. Sam joined the Mathematics Department of the Centro de Investigación again in 2000 after retiring from Rochester.

In spite of the different important positions he has held, he has always been an enthusiastic topologist in his more than forty years of professional activity.  Sam has written over forty papers as well as several books. All of them show a deep knowledge of topology and an acute point of view.

Sam has also been an active teacher. Several generations of mathematicians have benefited from his expertise as well as from his immense generosity. 

Sam was appointed in 1986 as a member of El Colegio Nacional, the highest recognition to his achievements offered by the Mexican scientific and artistic community.

It is indeed a privilege to have Sam back in Mexico working with the same enthusiasm as ever.