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Jonathan M. Borwein: Homo sapiens, Homo ludens

[This is a condensed version of an article written by Michel Théra, to appear in the Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications.]

Jonathan Borwein left us suddenly on August 2, 2016 at age 65. He leaves his wife Judith, three children Naomi, Rachel and Tova; five grand children Jakob Joseph, Noah Erasmus, Skye, Zoe and Taj. Jonathan Borwein was born in 1951 in St. Andrews, Scotland, to a family of intellectuals. In fact, both of his parents belonged to the world of research.His mother Bessie was an anatomist while his father, David, was a mathematician, holding a position in the

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Jon Borwein: A personal reflection

Jon Borwein died on August 2, 2016. His untimely passing has deprived us all of a singular and brilliant mind and an inspirational intellectual leader, and I have lost a close personal friend. Rather than a formal memorial, my words are a personal reflection on my coauthor (of fifteen papers and a book), a mentor to whom I owe my career.

Jon’s mathematical breadth and energy make a fascinating but bewildering picture, extending far beyond traditional optimization, and challenging to sketch. He delighted in collaboration, and many of us knew first-hand his research style: whirling, exuberant, defamiliarizing, endlessly curious, elegant,

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Letter from the Editor: Jonathan M. Borwein (1951-2016)

[This is by Scott Chapman, Editor of the American Mathematical Monthly. It is scheduled to appear in the November 2016 issue of the Monthly.]

August 2, 2016 was a difficult day for us at the Monthly, as we learned of the untimely death of Monthly Associate Editor Jonathan Borwein. Many of you knew Jon as an internationally acclaimed mathematician. One of the world’s leading scholars in Experimental Mathematics, his long publication list spanned the breadth of pure and applied mathematics. Cited over 22,000 times (according to Google Scholar), Jon was perhaps the world’s leading authority on the study of pi.

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Jon made us big

I first met Jon Borwein at Goldberg’s restaurant on Darby Street in Newcastle. I had arrived in Australia for the first time in the midst of one of its characteristic week-long winter storms. Having not yet slept, I was worried I would be too tired to carry on a lively and intelligent conversation with him. I confided this to my co-advisor who reassured me, “Don’t worry; he’ll take care of that for you.”

I always dislike referring to anyone as a “genius” because I worry that doing so will reinforce for my students the mistaken belief that only certain, special

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Farewell to Jonathan Borwein, Doctor Pi

[This is an English translation of a tribute to Jon Borwein, written by Francisco Aragon Artacho, which appeared in El Pais, the highest-circulation newspaper in Spain. The original is here.]

On August 2nd the heart of one of the most brilliant and influential mathematicians of our time stopped beating. Professor Jonathan Borwein unexpectedly died when he was 65 years young. Jon, as he preferred to be called was passionate about mathematics: pure, applied and computational. Nowadays, academic researchers in general, and mathematicians in particular, tend to highly specialize. Without realizing it, we end up becoming experts: someone who knows absolutely

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Transcends the boundaries of disciplines

Very few mathematicians manage to transcend the boundaries of more than one mathematical discipline and make substantial contributions to several areas of Mathematics. Jon was undeniably one of them. He was a paragon of Experimental Mathematics, Functional Analysis, Optimization and other areas. His research work has already inspired thousands of individual researchers and will remain as a testament to this generation and to the coming ones. [Ilias Kotsireas, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada]

You’re not where you were, but you’re everywhere we are

It was August 2nd, 2016 at 11:23 pm (European Time) when I received the sad news. I couldn’t believe it and I had read the email twice in the hope that the information was wrong. I couldn’t sleep all night remembering the last time we met with Jon in Cartagena in June 2016 and particularly in all details my last visit to him in Newcastle in February 2015. I will never forget the warm hospitality with which I had been welcomed. I was also thinking about the unfinished paper that we started together with Jon and Lionel entitled: “How elegant

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Paper dedicated to Jon Borwein

EXTREMALITY OF CONVEX SETS WITH SOME APPLICATIONS by Boris S. Mordukhovich and N. M. Nam Dedicated to the memory of Jonathan Michael Borwein

Abstract: In this paper we introduce an enhanced notion of extremal systems for sets in locally convex topological vector spaces and obtain efficient conditions for set extremality in the convex case. Then we apply this machinery to deriving new calculus results on intersection rules for normal cones to convex sets and on infimal convolutions of support functions.

From Introduction: Convex analysis has been well recognized as an important area of mathematics with numerous applications to optimization, control,

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My father (by Naomi Borwein)

Talk by Naomi Borwein at Jonathan Borwein’s funeral, 10 August 2016.

Jonathan was a complicated figure, of profound and intense contradiction, and a formidable and DEVOTED father. He cared deeply, thought deeply, and felt deeply about most things. A lot of people will be discussing the impact and scope of Jon’s academic output or his sheer brilliance — his genius. But, year after year his work evolved as I watched from the sidelines. So, I am going to share a snapshot of Jon as a fixture of my daily life, through the lens of the everyday.

A ubiquitous aspect of

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Jonathan was a great man

Jonathan was a great man and a great mathematician and his death represents a great loss to mathematics,throughout the world.

As a mathematician he was original innovative and inspirational. As a scientific colleague he was respectful, courteous and generous.

He will be sadly missed. Yours sincerely, John. [John Butcher, University of Auckland, New Zealand]