Jack H. Silver (1942-2016)

http://logic.berkeley.edu/news.html

It is with great sadness that we announce that Professor Jack Howard Silver died on Thursday, December 22, 2016. Professor Silver was born in 1942 in Missoula, Montana. After earning his A.B. at Montana State University (now the University of Montana) in 1961, he entered graduate school in mathematics at UC Berkeley. His thesis, completed in 1966, was supervised by Robert Vaught. In 1967 he joined the mathematics department at UC Berkeley where he also became a member of the Group in Logic and the Methodology of Science. He quickly rose through the ranks obtaining promotion to associate professor in 1970 and to full professor in 1975. From 1970 to 1972 he was an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow. Silver retired in 2010. At UC Berkeley he advised eighteen students, three of whom were in the Group in Logic (Burgess, Ignjatovich, Zach). His mathematical interests included set theory, model theory, and proof theory. His production was not extensive but his results were deep. A short summary of his results in set theory can be found here. Professor Silver was skeptical of the consistency of ZFC and even of third-order number theory. As Prof. Robert Solovay recently put it: “For at least the last 20 years, Jack was convinced that measurable cardinals (and indeed ZFC) was inconsistent. He strove mightily to prove this. If he had succeeded it would have been the theorem of the century (at least) in set theory.” He will be greatly missed.

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One thought on “Jack H. Silver (1942-2016)

  1. It is difficult to receive such news, but this helps putting life, and research, in perspective. Regarding “For at least the last 20 years, Jack was convinced that measurable cardinals (and indeed ZFC) was inconsistent. He strove mightily to prove this”: in a sense, by doing so he actually contributed to our confidence in the opposite. I guess there should be a way to reward such efforts. I guess Silver himself has obtained his share of honor anyway.

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