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Hermann Burchard Retires

Hermann BurchardHermann Burchard retired from OSU in the summer of 2008 after thirty-six years of service. Hermann was a mainstay of the Applied Mathematics program at OSU. For many years he was the only person on the faculty who taught Numerical Analysis, and many hundreds of students of mathematics and engineering were influenced by his dedication to high academic standards and his orientation towards the applications of mathematics. He directed the theses of five Ph.D. candidates and numerous M.Sc. candidates.

Hermann was born in Germany. Much of his childhood was spent enduring World War II and its aftermath. His public education concluded with his Arbitur (1954) in Hamburg, Germany. He then obtained the equivalent of a U.S. Bachelor of Science degree (1959) and of a Master of Science degree in Applied Mathematics (1963), both from the University of Hamburg. While earning his Masters degree, he was a consultant and computer programmer for the Institute of Naval Architecture at the university. This foreshadowed a long and distinguished career wrestling with the construction and analysis of meaningful mathematical models related to problems arising in industry.

In 1963, Hermann came to the United States, initially working at General Motors Research Laboratories in Warren, Michigan. He was awarded the Ph.D. by Purdue University in 1968 and was then a visiting Assistant Professor at the Mathematics Research Center at the University of Wisconsin for a year. After that, he served as an Assistant Professor at Indiana University at Bloomington for three years.

He arrived as an Associate Professor of Mathematics at OSU in 1972 and was promoted to the rank of Professor in 1977. He had more than twenty publications, as well as numerous presentations at various national and regional meetings. He was also a consultant for the Phillips Petroleum Company (Bartlesville) from 1975 through 1990.

Hermann was known around the department for the extraordinary breadth of his intellectual interests, a trait which made him a fascinating conversationalist. He had a serious and long-term interest in philosophy, particularly the philosophy of mathematics and science. He published a substantial article explaining his distinctive approach to this area in the journal Foundations of Science just a few years before his retirement, and continues to develop his ideas.

We salute Hermann for his long tenure with the department, and hope he remains connected with us so that we can continue to enjoy his dry wit and benefit from his intellectual curiosity.

Retirement Party for Hermann Burchard

Hermann's Retirement Reception


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