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Memoir

Donald J. Lewis
Regents' Proceedings 348

Donald J. Lewis, Ph.D., professor of mathematics in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, retired from active faculty status on May 31, 2000.

Professor Lewis received his B.S. degree from the College of St. Thomas in 1946 and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan in 1949 and 1950, respectively. From 1950-52, he was an instructor at The Ohio State University and in 1952-53 he was an NSF fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. From 1953-61, he was a faculty member at Notre Dame University. He joined the University of Michigan as an associate professor in 1961 and was promoted to professor in 1963. Professor Lewis served as chair of the Department of Mathematics from 1984-94, with a break of one year to visit the Institute for Advanced Study.

Professor Lewis' research lies in an area of number theory concerned primarily with diophantine problems and encompasses the theory of algebraic number fields and function fields and arithmetic geometry. It is characteristic especially of his earlier work that he was the first to obtain any kind of result on a problem, and that this decisive progress cleared the way for subsequent developments. The work in his thesis concerning the local solubility of cubic forms, however, remains definitive. Also noteworthy is a series of papers produced in collaboration with Harold Davenport, which laid the foundation for the investigation of a number of diophantine problems, especially diagonal variants. He is the author of 55 research papers and a number of survey papers, and he directed 24 doctoral theses.

From 1995-99, Professor Lewis was based in Washington, D.C., as the director of the Division of Mathematical Sciences of the Natural Science Foundation. He has received numerous awards, including a Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award from the University in 1978 and an Alexander von Humboldt Preis Award in 1980. He was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award of the American Mathematical Society in 1995 in recognition of his many contributions to mathematics research and education.

The Regents now salute this valued faculty member by naming Donald J. Lewis professor emeritus of mathematics.