Earl Taft


Earl Jay Taft (1931- Aug. 9, 2021)[1] was an American mathematician specializing in abstract algebra. He is the namesake of the Taft Hopf algebra[2] which he introduced in a 1971 publication,[3] and he was the founding editor of the journal Communications in Algebra.[4] He is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Rutgers University.[5]

Taft in the early 2010s

Education and careerEdit

Taft graduated from Amherst College in 1952.[6] He completed his doctorate at Yale University in 1956. His dissertation, Invariant Wedderburn Factors, was supervised by Nathan Jacobson.[7] After working as Ritt Instructor of mathematics at Columbia University from 1956 to 1959,[6] he moved to Rutgers University, where he remained for many years.[8] He was also a regular visitor to the Institute for Advanced Study.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Taft's wife, Hessy Levinsons Taft, had been publicized as "the most beautiful Aryan baby" in Nazi propaganda despite being Jewish. Her family escaped Nazi Germany for France, Cuba, and later the US, and she met Taft as a graduate student in chemistry at Columbia University, while he was an instructor there.[8]

After Taft retired from Rutgers, he and his wife moved to New York City.[8]


  1. ^ Birth year from German National Library catalog entry, retrieved 2019-07-16.
  2. ^ Dougherty, Steven T.; Kör, Arda; Leroy, André (2019), "Generating characters of non-commutative Frobenius rings", Rings, modules and codes, Contemp. Math., vol. 727, Amer. Math. Soc., Providence, RI, pp. 83–92, doi:10.1090/conm/727/14626, MR 3938141. See Section 2.2, "Taft Hopf Algebras", p. 90.
  3. ^ Taft, Earl J. (1971), "The order of the antipode of finite-dimensional Hopf algebra", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 68 (11): 2631–2633, doi:10.1073/pnas.68.11.2631, MR 0286868, PMC 389488, PMID 16591950
  4. ^ Taft, Earl J. (1978), "Editing a Photographically Reproduced Mathematics Journal", in Balaban, Miriam (ed.), Scientific Information Transfer: The Editor's Role (Proceedings of the First International Conference of Scientific Editors, April 24–29, 1977, Jerusalem), Springer Netherlands, pp. 415–418, doi:10.1007/978-94-009-9863-6_55
  5. ^ Earl Taft, Rutgers Department of Mathematics, retrieved 2019-07-16
  6. ^ a b c Past mehttps://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/nytimes/name/earl-taft-obituary?id=14493314mber: Earl J. Taft, Institute for Advanced Study, retrieved 2019-07-16 {{citation}}: External link in |title= (help)
  7. ^ Earl Taft at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  8. ^ a b c Wolf, Lauren K. (September 8, 2014), "Hessy Taft: Jewish survivor and longtime ACS member describes how she was once a Nazi poster child", Chemical & Engineering News, American Chemical Society, 92 (36): 30, doi:10.1021/cen-09236-scitech3