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1926 - 2015
Rogers, Hartley, Jr. Professor emeritus of mathematics at MIT, died in Waltham, Mass., on Friday, July 17. He was 89. Rogers joined the MIT mathematics faculty in 1956 as an assistant professor and was promoted to full professor in 1964. He retired from MIT in 2009.Along with mathematics, Rogers maintained a love for English literature, the field of his undergraduate degree. In the 1960s, he took up rowing with a passion. He was a founding member of the Charles River All Star Has-Beens (CRASH-B) and served as its unofficial guru for three decades. He won numerous medals at the CRASH-B sprints as well as at World Rowing Masters competitions and the Head of the Charles Regatta. In addition, he was the president of Boston Rowing Center, which prepared many top athletes for the U.S. national team in the 1980s and early 1990s.A popular and respected teacher, Rogers received the Teaching Prize for Undergraduate Education from the School of Science in 1993. His graduate lectures in mathematical logic were known for their eloquence and clarity, and he was also known for assigning challenging problem sets. He produced 19 doctoral students at MIT, with 557 mathematical "descendants" in total. Rogers' research interests were in mathematical logic, and he is credited as one of the main developers of recursion theory and of the usefulness and validity of informal methods in this area. He was the author of the 1967 book, "Theory of Recursive Functions and Effective Computability," which has become a central and standard reference in the field and remains in print. Among his distinctions, Rogers received the Lewis R. Ford Award from the Mathematical Association of America for his expository papers in 1965. Rogers' career at MIT included significant administrative service during the 1960s and 1970s. He also served as vice president of the Association for Symbolic Logic, senior editor of the Journal of Symbolic Logic, senior editor of Annals of Mathematical Logic, and associate editor of the Journal of Computer and Systems Sciences. Rogers served as chair of the MIT faculty from 1971 to 1973, and as associate provost from 1974 to 1980. He chaired the editorial board of the MIT Press from 1974 to 1981, as the press became an arm of the Institute's educational mission. A Focus on Mentorship At Rogers' suggestion in 1996, the Department of Mathematics initiated its Summer Program in Undergraduate Research (SPUR), where teams pair a graduate student mentor with an MIT undergraduate; each team then works intensively on a research problem over a six-week summer period, culminating with the undergraduate giving a presentation and submitting written materials to a group of math faculty. Under Rogers' direction through 2006, SPUR became popular with students who saw its educational benefits. In 2001, the Rogers family established the Hartley Rogers, Jr. Prize for the top SPUR teams selected by the faculty. The prize has not only boosted the competitive spirit of its participants, but has attracted participation by graduate students from Harvard University and exchange students from Cambridge University. Hartley Rogers, Jr., was born in Buffalo, New York on July 6, 1926. He received his BA in English from Yale University in 1946. Following a year at Cambridge University as a Henry Fellow, he returned to Yale to complete his MS in physics in 1950. He continued his studies at Princeton University in mathematics, receiving his MA in 1951 and his PhD in 1952, with Alonzo Church as his thesis advisor. Rogers' first academic appointment was as Benjamin Peirce Lecturer at Harvard from 1952 to 1955. Rogers was a devoted father, fiercely proud of his children and their accomplishments. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Adrianne E. Rogers; by his three children, Hartley R. Rogers, Campbell D.K. Rogers, and Caroline R. Broderick; and by 10 grandchildren. The family will be holding a service on Monday, August 17th at 11 AM at the Parish of the Epiphany, 70 Church St., Winchester, Mass. Gifts in Rogers' memory may be made to the Hartley Rogers Jr. Fund in the Department of Mathematics at MIT.
(Photo courtesy of the MIT Museum.)
Published in The Boston Globe on Aug. 17, 2015
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