Providence, R.I. - Professor Katsumi Nomizu, Florence Pirce Grant University Professor Emeritus, Brown University, and internationally known mathematician died on Nov. 5, 2008, in Providence, R.I.
He was born Dec. 1, 1924, in Osaka, Japan. He earned an M.S. degree from Osaka University in 1947, and attended Columbia University on a U.S. Army-Fulbright scholarship. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1953, and earned an Sc.D from Nagoya University in 1955. He met his wife-to-be, Kimiko, on the boat back from postgraduate studies at the Sorbonne. They married and moved to Nagoya, where he taught at Nagoya University until his appointment at Catholic University in 1958. In 1960 he became an associate professor at Brown University and was tenured in 1963. He was an active member of the Brown faculty, serving on the Committee on Faculty Reappointments and Tenure, the Medical Council, the College Curriculum Council, and as Executive Officer of the Mathematics Department. He supervised thirteen Ph.D. dissertations and three Masters theses. Professor Nomizu held multiple appointments at universities around the world, enjoying frequent visits to the Max Planck Institute in Bonn, Germany and sabbatical years collaborating with colleagues in Strasbourg, Bonn and Rio de Janeiro. He most enjoyed guiding his graduate students as well as teaching Calculus to Brown freshman. Professor Nomizu retired in 1995, as Professor Emeritus with the Florence Pirce Grant University Chair.
Professor Nomizu was the author of more than eighty-seven research papers and five books of Mathematics. His Ph.D. dissertation in affine differential geometry was a pivotal work in the field, and his most famous book, co-authored with S. Kobayashi, Foundations of Differential Geometry, was a standard text for many years. His international awards included the Humboldt Foundation Research Award for Senior U.S. Scientists (1991), the Wilhelm Blaschke Medal (1997), and the Mathematical Society of Japan Publication Award (2007). In 1965 he organized for the National Science Foundation the first U.S.-Japan Seminar on differential geometry in Kyoto. In 1994 he was elected to the prestigious Academia Peloritana del Pericolanti. On the occasion of his seventieth birthday close to a hundred colleagues and former students attended a celebration in Leuven, Belgium in honor of his work.
He is survived by his wife Kimiko, four children, Dr. Naomi Nomizu of Stonington, Yvonne Nomizu of Atherton, Calif., Dr. Simone Palmer of Colorado Springs, Colo., Raymond Nomizu of Boston, Mass.; and seven grandchildren. His children recall that he said the most important thing in life is to find work that one could be passionate about. He will be remembered for his fierce intellect, wry humor, and gentle soul. Private services will be held in Providence, R.I.
Donations can be made to Butler Hospital Memory and Aging Program in memory of Katsumi Nomizu, 345 Blackstone Boulevard, Providence, RI 02906.
Published in The Day on 11/11/2008 www.theday.com