Agnes Scott College

Commendation of Taussky-Todd

The following commendation of Taussky-Todd was printed in the commencement program when she received the honorary degree "Doctor of Science honoris causa" at the University of Southern California's 105th spring commencement ceremony, May 6, 1988.

Olga Taussky-Todd, professor emeritus at the California Institute of Technology, is recognized by her peers as one of the foremost mathematicians of her generation. Her research in algebra, number theory, and matrix theory has influenced scholars throughout her long and distinguished career. For more than 30 years, she has been the moving force in the development of matrix theory, and her influence on both pure and applied mathematics has been profound. Born in present day Czechoslovakia, she was raised in Austria and received her doctorate in class field theory from the University of Vienna. From there she went to the leading mathematical center in the world at Göttingen, where she worked with David Hilbert and edited the two volumes of his studies in number theory. During World War II, she applied her mathematical skills working for the British Ministry of Aircraft Production. For a period of 10 years following the war, she was associated with the Applied Mathematics Division of the United States Bureau of Standards. During that time she also spent a year at the prestigious Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. She joined the faculty of the California Institute of Technology in 1957. Hailed by students and colleagues alike as one of Caltech's most gifted teachers and stimulating intellects, Taussky-Todd's 30-year tenure there has established her as one of the world's leading mathematical theorists. As editor of many of the leading mathematical journals, she has had a profound impact on the direction of scholarly research. Selected by the Los Angeles Times as Woman of the Year in 1963, her work has been recognized in professional circles with a Ford Prize for Mathematical exposition, given by the Mathematical Association of America; the Gold Cross of Honor, First Class, for Arts and Sciences, given by; the Austrian government; and the Gold Doctor Diploma, given by the University of Vienna. A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Taussky-Todd is a corresponding member of both the Austrian and Bavarian Academies of Science. She is a member of the Council of the London Mathematical Society and a three-time member of the Council of the American Mathematical Society. Now it is with pleasure and profound respect that the University of Southern California confers its highest honor of Olga Taussky-Todd.

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