S. D. Berman (1922-1987): A Biographical Note A. I. LICHTMAN The contributions of S. D. Berman to mathematics are widely recognized. His theorems in the theory of representations of finite groups over a field, integral representations and integral group rings are among the most impor- tant and deep ones. His work on the group rings of infinite abelian groups is pioneering and the results are fundamental. He was also a pioneer in the study of abelian codes. The review articles in this volume will discuss all these results in detail, but almost no one among the mathematicians in the West met S. D. Berman personally. I would like to tell here about the life of this remarkable man, to describe him as he was seen in the eyes of his friends and students. Samuil Davidovich Berman was born on January 3, 1922 in a small town in the Ukraine. In 1939 he became a student at Moscow University, but his studies did not continue for long: the greatest and the most fierce war in Russian history broke out and the nineteen-year-old boy became for five years ( 1941-1946) a soldier and later a sergeant in the Red Army, serving in a combat unit. He took part in the great battle on the Volga River (Stalingrad) and was wounded there, recovered and returned to the army. Many years later, when he talked about the war he always recalled not only the tragedy and horror of the war but spoke with great warmth and sympathy about the people who fought together with him and became his friends in those difficult years. But few of them came back from the war! He continued serving in a combat unit until the end of the war, fought in Hungary, the Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria, took part in the battles for Budapest and Vienna, and was awarded a few medals. It was not until 1946 that he was demobilized and could renew his studies, first in the University of Moscow and then in Lvov University. His Ph.D. thesis advisor was Ya. B. Lopatinsky, an outstanding Soviet mathematician, whose main interests at that time were in differential equa- tions. Berman, however, was interested in differential equations only for a xvii
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