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Paul Chernoff

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Paul Chernoff Obituary
Paul Robert Chernoff

A memorial and celebration of life will be held in Berkeley California at 3PM PDT (6PM EDT) on April 4 at the University of California Faculty Club for mathematician Paul Robert Chernoff who, for more than four decades, taught and did research at Berkeley. Dr. Chernoff, of Berkeley, died January 17, 2017 following a long illness. He was 74. His mathematics research was in functional analysis, especially areas related to the mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics. He is recognized for the Chernoff Theorem, a finding in functional analysis and Lie algebras which supports the Feynman path integral formulation of quantum mechanics and also for a lucid presentation of the Groenwald-van Hove no go theorem relating classical mechanics to quantum mechanics.

Born in Philadelphia, Dr. Chernoff was the son of the late Drs. Benjamin and Edith Chernoff. He attended the Central High School of Philadelphia; he graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University. After earning his PhD in mathematics at Harvard in 1968 he went to UC Berkeley where he became Professor of Mathematics. He was a respected teacher. He won multiple Distinguished Teaching Awards and the Lili Fabilli and Eric Hoffer Essay Prize. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Mathematical Society.

He enjoyed cartooning and painting and was the author of numerous limericks. He is survived by brothers Arthur (Marcia) Chernoff of Rydal PA, Donald (Ellen) Chernoff of Indianapolis IN, sister Ruth (Milton) Sacks nee Aizen of Yardley PA, a nephew and three nieces.

Should friends desire, contributions in memory of Paul Chernoff may be donated to Mathematics at Berkeley (https://give.berkeley.edu/egiving/index.cfm?Fund=FN7221000) or to a charity or cause of their choice. Funds will be used to promote excellence in teaching and learning Mathematics.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Apr. 2, 2017
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