H. Chandler Davis (b. 1926)

H. Chandler Davis, a pre-eminent mathematician, is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto where he has been a tenured faculty member since 1962. He was Vice President of the American Mathematical Society (1991- 1994). He was long an Advisory Editor and is now Distinguished Editor of linear Algebra and Its Applications. He was long Editor-in-Chief and is now Honorary Editor of The Mathematical Intelligencer.

Chandler Davis was born in Ithaca, New York. He is the son of economists Horace B. Davis and Marian Rubins Davis. Professor Davis earned his academic credentials, B.S., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees, at Harvard University. He began his professional career as an instructor at the University of Michigan from 1950 to1954. In addition to publishing research articles in mathematics, Professor Davis has published science fiction and poetry, and also several hortatory essays, including “From An Exile” in The new Professors, edited by R.O. Bowen (1960), and “The Purge” in A Century of Mathematics in America (American Mathematical Society, 1989). Aqueduct Press published a collection of his works entitled It Walks in Beauty: Selected Prose of Chandler Davis, edited by J. Lukin (2010).

While an Instructor at the University of Michigan in 1954, Chandler Davis chose to test the constitutionality of the House Un-American Activities Committee by refusing to testify before the Committee without invoking protection from self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment. As a result of his actions, Davis was suspended from the University. His reinstatement was supported by his department and college but not by the Faculty Senate, and he was subsequently dismissed from the University. He was also cited for contempt of Congress, indicted in 1954, and convicted in 1957. His appeals to the courts were exhausted in 1959, and he served a sentence in federal prison in 1960.

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