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Arthur Herbert Copeland
LSA Minutes

1898 - 1970

Arthur Herbert Copeland Sr. was born in Rochester, New York, on June 22, 1898. He received his bachelor's degree from Amherst College in 1921 and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1926. He married Dorothy Eleanor West in 1925. From this marriage came one son, Arthur Herbert Copeland, Jr., who also became a mathematician and is now a professor in the University of New Hampshire.

Professor Copeland was an instructor in Harvard University during 1922-23 and in Rice Institute from 1924 to 1928. He was an assistant professor in the University of Buffalo in 1928-29 and came to The University of Michigan at the same rank in 1929. Here he was promoted to an associate professorship in 1937 and became a professor in 1943, and held this position until his retirement in 1968. He was a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellow in 1935-36. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and a member of the American Mathematical Society and of the Mathematical Association of America. He was elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Phi Delta Kappa and the Research Club of The University of Michigan.

Professor Copeland's doctoral dissertation was in mechanics, but his interest was soon attracted to the foundations of the theory of probability. He published a number of papers on his concept of admissive numbers which received wide and favorable attention and established him as a leading worker in probability theory. He also was deeply interested in mathematical logic and published a group of papers in this area, in particular on Boolean algebra and its applications in the foundations of probability. He was not strictly confined to these fields; indicative of his lifelong interest in teaching methods was his book on "Geometry, Algebra, and Trigonometry by Vector Methods," published in 1962 by the Macmillan Company.

Professor Copeland was a gifted teacher both at the undergraduate and the graduate level. He was genuinely interested in students and many of them felt themselves fortunate to have had him as an instructor. He attracted able graduate students to him; the eight who wrote doctoral dissertations under his direction have all done well in mathematics and several have solid reputations of their own. He was an active participant in the activities of his department and effectively performed the tasks assigned to him.

Professor Copeland had a mild manner, a keen sense of humor and was much liked by his colleagues. He and his wife led a very active social life and were very popular both on and off the campus. They largely built their beautiful home in Barton Hills with their own hands. They were keenly interested in music, the theater, in the arts generally, to which they gave material support. They also enjoyed travel; in addition to prolonged stays in Europe and an earlier trip around the globe, since their retirement they had an extended stay in Africa and had returned from a visit to Australia and New Guinea shortly before his death.

His sudden death on July 6, 1970, from a heart attack was a grievous shock to his many friends, and a great loss to the University community.

The Memorial Committee
Cecil C. Craig, Chairman Cecil J. Nesbitt