Jairo Charris. The mathematician. The seminar
Jairo Antonio Charris–Casta˜ neda was one of the most relevant Colombian
mathematicians in the last third of the past century. He was born in Ci´enaga,
Magdalena, Colombia, on November 21, 1939. During his childhood he was a base-
ball player, until he discovered that he enjoyed scientific activities and classical
music more than baseball.
He obtained a degree in chemical engineering in 1962 and in mathematics in
1967, both from Universidad Nacional de Colombia. In 1969 he received a master’s
degree in mathematics from the University of Chicago under the supervision of
Professor R. Narasimhan. From 1981 to 1984, under the supervision of Professor
M. E. H. Ismail, he worked in the department of mathematics of Arizona State
University on Pollaczek orthogonal polynomials, writing his Ph.D. thesis on this
subject. He came back to Colombia and continued his scientific career as a pro-
fessor at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogot´ a, until his retirement in 1998.
After his retirement, he worked at Universidad Nacional and Universidad Sergio
Arboleda, both in teaching and research activities.
The scientific fields where Professor Charris focused his research were the theory
of orthogonal polynomials (in particular, his contributions on sieved polynomials
had a strong impact on the mathematical community), complex analysis, compact-
ification theory, and group theory. He authored 32 papers and three monographs.
His scientific leadership was quite remarkable: he supervised 20 graduate master’s
and doctoral students from 1976 to 2001.
Professor Charris died on July 17, 2003, as a consequence of a serious illness.
Four years after his death the Jairo Charris Seminar was established in his memory
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