In Memoriam: Marvin Greenberg (1935–2017)

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Tony Tromba, Professor of Mathematics


I am very saddened to inform you that one of the founding members of the Department of Mathematics, Marvin J. Greenberg, passed away on December 12 in Berkeley, just shy of his 82nd birthday.

Marvin received his Ph.D. in algebraic geometry from Princeton University in 1959 under the direction of Serge Lang. After stints at UC Berkeley and Northeastern University, he joined the UC Santa Cruz faculty in 1967, the same year that his famous book Lectures on Algebraic Topology was published.

In 1974, he published another extremely popular text, Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Geometries. In recognition for these two wonderful books and his expository article "Old and New Results in the Foundations of Elementary Plane and Non-Euclidean Geometries" (American Mathematical Monthly 2010), he was awarded the Lester R. Ford Prize in expository writing from the Mathematical Association of America. He truly was an extraordinary mathematical expositor. He also had a great and lasting interest in mathematical logic and the foundations of mathematics.

Marvin played a prominent role in hiring the first members of our department, including Harold Widom, Ralph Abraham, Nick Burgoyne, myself, Geoff Mason, and Bruce Cooperstein, and in the creation of our graduate program. He was a great friend to many of us.