Philip Davis (mathematician)

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Philip J. Davis (born January 2, 1923 in Lawrence (Massachusetts) - † March 13, 2018 ) was an American applied mathematician and writer .

Davis received his PhD from Harvard University under Ralph Boas in 1950 and then worked at the National Bureau of Standards , where he became head of the Department of Numerical Mathematics and worked on the publication of the Handbook of Mathematical Functions by Milton Abramowitz and Irene Stegun . He had been at Brown University since 1963 , where he was most recently Professor Emeritus.

He became known for his mathematical essay collection "The mathematical experience" from 1981 with Reuben Hersh , which also deals with philosophical and historical topics around mathematics (followed by a similar book "Descartes' Dream") and in 1983 won a National Book Award . His book "Methods of numerical integration" with Philip Rabinowitz has long been a standard work on numerical integration.

In 1963 he received the Chauvenet Prize . He was a regular columnist for SIAM News. In 1956 he was a Guggenheim Fellow. In 1986 he received the George Pólya Award , in 1990 the Hedrick Award and in 1982 the Lester Randolph Ford Award . In 1997 he received an honorary doctorate from Roskilde University .


  • with Rabinowitz: Methods of numerical integration, Blaisdell 1967, Academic Press 1975, 1984
  • Interpolation and approximation, Blaisdell 1963, Dover 1975
  • The Schwarz Function and Circulant Matrices, MAA 1974, 1979
  • The education of a mathematician 2000 (autobiography)
  • Mathematical Encounters of the second kind, Birkhäuser 1996
  • with Hersh: The mathematical experience, Houghton Mifflin and Birkhäuser 1981, Birkhäuser 1995 (introduction Gian-Carlo Rota )
  • with Hersh: Descartes' Dream - the world according to mathematics, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich 1986, Houghton Mifflin 1987
  • with David Park: No way- the nature of the impossible, Freeman 1987
  • Spirals: From Theodorus to Chaos, AKPeters 1993 (originated from the Hendrick Lectures of the MAA)
  • Mathematics of matrices, Blaisdell 1965, Krieger 1984
  • Circulant Matrices, Wiley 1979, 2nd edition Chelsea 1994
  • The lore of large numbers, Random House 1961


  • The Thread: a mathematical yarn, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich 1983, 1989
  • Thomas Gray: Philosopher Cat, Boston, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich 1988, German Pembroke's cat
  • Thomas Gray in Copenhagen - in which the philosopher cat meets the ghost of Hans Christian Andersen, New York, Copernicus 1995, German Magnificatz

Web links


  1. ^ Obituary , Brown University , accessed March 15, 2018
  2. for Davis Are there coincidences in mathematics? , American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 88, 1981, pp. 311-320