Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 33
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
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Atle Selberg

Aurelia Bolling

Joe Boyd

Carl E. Fuchs

Cephas H. Monnett

Gertrude C. Suppe

Atle Selberg

Atle Selberg

Atle Selberg, 90, of Princeton, a Professor Emeritus in the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study, died August 6 at home.

Throughout a career spanning more than six decades, the renowned Norwegian mathematician made significant contributions to modular forms, Riemann and other zeta functions, analytic number theory, sieve methods, discrete groups, and trace formula. The impact of his work is evident from the many mathematical terms that bear his name: The Selberg Trace Formula, The Selberg Sieve, The Selberg Integral, The Selberg Class, The Rankin-Selberg L-Function, The Selberg Eigenvalue Conjecture, and The Selberg Zeta Function.

"Professor Selberg's passing marks a great loss, both to the Institute and to the larger scientific community," said Peter Goddard, Director of the Institute. "His far-reaching contributions have left a profound imprint on the world of mathematics, and we have lost not only a mathematical giant, but a dear friend."


Born in Langesund, Norway, Prof. Selberg was the youngest of nine children of Anna Kristina Selberg, a teacher, and Ole Michael Selberg, an educator and mathematician. His siblings became teachers and academics, including brothers Henrik and Sigmund, mathematicians who were both members of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters. At age 17, he wrote his first article, "On Some Arithmetical Identities." The next year, he began his education at the University of Oslo, where he submitted the paper for review to one of his professors. By the time he obtained his Ph.D. in 1943, also at the University of Oslo, he had published a dozen articles, the later ones focusing on Riemann's Zeta Function.

In 1947, he married Hedvig Liebermann of Tirgu Mures, Transylvania. He came to the Institute for Advanced Study from Norway that year at the invitation of Carl Ludwig Siegel, who noted that, at 31 years of age, Prof. Selberg "already had earned his place in the history of science in the 20th century." After a year at the Institute, Prof. Selberg took a post as Associate Professor at Syracuse University, returning to the Institute in 1949 as a permanent member. In 1951, he was appointed Professor in the Institute's School of Mathematics. He was named Professor Emeritus in 1987.

During the 1940s, his work centered around the theory of the Riemann Zeta Function and related problems concerning the distribution of prime numbers, leading, in 1948, to his celebrated Selberg Formula and to the elementary proof of the Prime Number Theorem. The formula took the mathematical community by surprise, as such a proof had been sought since the formulation of the problem by mathematicians 150 years earlier. For these works, Prof. Selberg was awarded the Fields Medal in 1950.

In addition to the Fields Medal, Prof. Selberg's contributions to the field of mathematics have been widely recognized, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Trondheim (1972) and the Wolf Prize in Mathematics (1986), bestowed annually for outstanding achievements in agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physics, and the arts. He was inducted into the Royal Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters, the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Indian National Science Academy, and was named an honorary member of the London Mathematical Society. In 1987, he was named a Knight Commander with Star of the Royal Order of Saint Olav.

The publication of Prof. Selberg's collected papers in two volumes in 1989 and 1991 was warmly welcomed by the mathematical community. The publication made available his papers up to 1947, which had previously appeared mostly in Norwegian series or journals of limited distribution.


Prof. Selberg continued to lecture and develop new aspects of the many topics that he pioneered until well into his 80s. In 1987, nearly 100 mathematicians from all over the world convened in Oslo, Norway, for a symposium in honor of his 70th birthday. In celebration of his 90th birthday in June 2007, the Institute invited his close colleagues and friends to salute his lifetime of achievement. Among those who spoke at this event was the School of Mathematics' Nils Baas, who conveyed the congratulations of the Norwegian government.

Prof. Selberg's first wife, Hedvig, worked at the Institute for Advanced Study in the 1950s in the group headed by John von Neumann, and later at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory until the 1980s. She died in 1995. He is survived by his second wife, Betty Compton Selberg of Princeton; two children from his first marriage, Ingrid Maria Selberg of London and Lars Atle Selberg of Middlefield, Conn.; two step-daughters, Heidi Faith of Mountain View, Calif. and Cindy Faith of Roland Park, Md.; and four grandchildren.

A memorial service will be announced at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Galapagos Conservancy, 407 North Washington Street, Suite 105, Falls Church, Va. 22046.

Aurelia Bolling

Aurelia Bolling, 98, of Houston, Texas, a longtime former resident of Princeton and member of Witherspoon Presbyterian Church, died peacefully during her sleep on August 12 in Houston. She had relocated to Houston to be with her son and his family.

She is survived by a son, Lankford Bolling Jr.; two granddaughters; and two great-grandsons.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Mrs. Bolling's favorite charity, Aldine Y.O.U.T.H., P. O. Box 11044, Houston, Texas 77039.

Joe Boyd

Joe Boyd, 92, of Princeton, died August 9. He was the founder and longtime proprietor of the Princeton Community Directory and Consumer Bureau.

Born in Chicago, he attended Harvard University from 1931 to 1934, leaving before graduation to start a group of local newspapers in the Boston area. After working for defense contractor Rohm & Haas during the war, he started The Boyd System, the world's first modern credit card, in Bristol, Pa. in 1947. Although the under-financed venture eventually failed, he convinced a number of banks to take up the idea, and published directories of participating merchants and services. These regional cards eventually combined with others to become MasterCard.

He was devoted to the cause of independent businesses battling the growth of chain stores. In 1960 he started the Princeton Community Directory in competition with the Bell System and Yellow Pages, winning a legal battle for access to up-to-date phone listings. He had moved with his family to Princeton in 1947, following the example of his mother, Mary Boxall Boyd, a pianist and teacher who was a longtime Princeton resident.

The local phone directories led to the Consumer Bureau, an association of local shops and services operating under a charter of good practice, with disputes arbitrated by a committee of customers and retailers. Mr. Boyd sold the directories in 1982. The Consumer Bureau still operates.

He was always interested in the economics of localities caught in the web of big business and big capital. At the time of his death, he was working on a book on the roots of the world's economic problems.

His marriage to Elizabeth Walker in 1937 ended in divorce in 1958. He is survived by two sons, Joseph and John; two grandsons; and a great-grandson.

Carl E. Fuchs

Carl E. Fuchs

Carl Edward Fuchs, 73, of Trenton, died July 31 at home. An area resident for the last 20 years, he lived in Princeton and Hopewell before moving to Trenton three years ago.

Born to Carl and Edith Fuchs in Amityville, New York, he attended Amityville High School, graduating in 1951. He worked at the family restaurant, the Narragansett Inn, sang with the First Methodist Church choir, performed with the Amityville Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and raised chickens, selling eggs in the neighborhood.

He attended Cornell University where he was a member of the Seal and Serpent fraternity. He graduated in 1955 with a degree from the School of Hotel Administration. While at Cornell he sang with his college singing group the Cayuga Waiters, a triple quartet with whom he continued to share reunions, memories, and songs.

After Cornell, he spent a year at Juilliard School of Music studying choral directing. He then served in the U.S. Navy, where he was a chaplain's assistant.

He started his career in the restaurant and hotel business, working as a manager for American News at various locations, including the Okinawa Officer's Club and the Round House Restaurant at the entrance to the Golden Gate Bridge. Subsequently he worked as an interior designer in New York City, then started his own business, Interior One. His many private clients included the noted pianist George Shearing. During this period he also owned and operated a gift store in Brooklyn.

In 1975, his friend Arthur Leaman, a design editor and owner of The Golden Lemon, invited him to the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, where he created The Palms restaurant in the center of Basseterre. He soon expanded to Banana Bay, a remote part of the island accessible only by boat, where he developed a small destination hotel. He worked at his hotel and restaurant for 12 years.

Moving to Princeton in 1988, he started a new career in landscaping and gardening. For 16 years he took care of many properties in the Princeton area. When he retired he continued his love of gardening, cooking, and decorating.

He was an active member of the Princeton United Methodist Church, where he sang as a tenor in the church choir.

He is survived by his partner, Barry Richards; a brother, Robert L. Fuchs of Fort Myers, Fla.; and a sister, Elizabeth Fillo of Princeton.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 15 at 11 a.m. at Princeton United Methodist Church, 7 Vandeventer Avenue.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Princeton United Methodist Church Air Conditioning Fund, 7 Vandeventer Avenue, Princeton 08542.

Arrangements are under the direction of The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.

Cephas H. Monnett

Cephas H. Monnett, 89, of Princeton, died August 4 at Acorn Glen.

Born in Elizabeth and raised in Rahway, he was employed for over 32 years by Phelps Dodge, winning numerous awards for his management excellence in the U.S. and in Venezuela.

A top New Jersey tennis and badminton player, he became a noted tennis instructor after retiring from Phelps Dodge in 1974. He mentored and coached many of the most accomplished tennis players from the Princeton area, including Nicole Arendt, a Wimbledon ladies double finalist, and Jay Lapidus, a top U.S. singles player and current Duke University tennis coach.

Son of the late Cephas H. Monnett Sr. and Margaret Tynch Monnett, husband of the late Betty Monnett, and brother of the late Marguerite Miller and Charles Monnett, he is survived by a nephew, Robert L. Brock of Meridian, Idaho, and a niece, Barbara Freeman of Maui.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 8 at 11 a.m. at the Rossmoor Community Church, 1 Village Mall, Monroe Township 08831. Burial was private in Princeton Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the USTA Tennis & Education Foundation, 70 West Red Oak Lane, White Plains, N.Y. 10604, Tax ID#13-3782331.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.

Gertrude C. Suppe

Gertrude Cross Suppe, 95, of Princeton, died August 3 in a nursing home in Escondido, Calif.

Born in Los Angeles, she attended Pomona College and Claremont Graduate School. She married Jack K. Suppe in 1936, and helped him with the family sewing machine business and Boy Scouts.

She was a church pianist and organist, Sunday School teacher, choir member, and founder of a liturgical dance choir. After her husband's death in 1971, she gathered an extensive collection of new Hispanic church music and translated the best songs into English. She then helped publish them in 11 hymnals.

In 1998 she moved to Princeton, where she was active until age 93 in her church choir and in tutoring Spanish residents and internationals.

Predeceased also by her oldest son Robert, she is survived by two sons, Dr. Julian Frederick Suppe of Ransom Canyon, Texas and Dr. John Suppe of Princeton and Taipei, Taiwan; a sister, Evelyn Young of Escondido, Calif.; two grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on October 6. at Westerly Road Church, Princeton.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Amnesty International, P.O. Box 96834, Washington, D.C. 20097-7012; or to a charity of the donor's choice.

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