Contemporary Mathematics
Volume 33, 1984
ROGc:i~
C. LYNDON: A BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL NOTE
Kenneth
I.
Appel
We who are privileged to be Roger Lyndon
1
s students know him as a
genuine "Doctor-father," a man who patiently guided us in our first efforts
at producing mathematics, and insisted that we learned to present our
arguments in decent English. Although we have worked in many areas of
mathematics since leaving Ann Arbor, he has continued to be interested in
our mathematical work and has often made helpful suggestions. Because of his
essential modesty and his enthusiasm for discussing our work rather than his
own, some of us did not initially appreciate the extent and depth of his
contributions to mathematics. Each of us knew of the profound work that he
had done in our thesis specialties -- logic, homological algebra, many areas
of group theory -- but we later discovered that people who were not familiar
with his work in our own particular specialties considered him a mathematician
of the first rank for his work in their areas of expertise,
Roger Lyndon, who will always be associated with the Midwest because of
his distinguished career at the University of Michigan, was born on
December 18, 1917, at Calais, Maine, almost the easternmost point of the
continental United States. His family lived in the small nearby town of
Eastport, where his father, Percy Lyndon, was a Unitarian minister. His
paternal grandfather had come to America from England at the age of two.
Lyndon's maternal grandfather came to Maine from Louisiana and owned a busy
wharf on the Bay of Fundy. When Roger was two years old, his mother, Ann
Aymar Milliken Lyndon, died. In the next fifteen years Percy, Roger and his
sister lived in various towns in Massachusetts and New York. After graduation
1
© 1984 American Mathematical Society
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1090/conm/033/767093
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