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Emil R. Herzog Scholarship in Mathematics

Emil Rudolf Herzog (1917-1998), astronomer, and since 1987, retired professor of mathematics at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California, died peacefully of heart failure on April 23, 1998.

Emil was from Riehen, Switzerland, attended the Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliches Gymnasium in Basel, was graduated summa cum laude in mathematics from the University of Basel, and earned his Ph.D. there in 1946 with a thesis titled "Die Methoden der Astronomisch-Geographischen Ortsbestimmung in systematischer Behandlung." One of his earlier papers, "Die Anwendung der Riemannschen Zahlenkugel zur herleitung der spherisch-trigonometrischen Hauptstze" (1953) was an elegant and original generalized derivation of three fundamental formulae of spherical trigonometry, using a projection on the Riemannian sphere.

Because Emil published rather little, his brilliance in mathematics was known mainly to his friends and students. He had read, understood in depth, and had at hand all of the classics of analysis by Euler, Gauss, and others. As he would solve some problem new to him he would usually voice his thoughts. These thoughts were, in fact, delightfully lucid lectures on his methods of reasoning for those of us honored to have heard them.

In astronomy, Emil worked at Cal Tech and Palomar Observatory with Fritz Zwicky (1949-51 and 1956-68) on the pioneering six-volume Catalogue of Galaxies and of Clusters of Galaxiespublished between 1951 and 1968. While the delineation of the clusters on 48-inch Palomar schmidt plates was Zwicky's work, all of the measurements on the tens of thousands of individual galaxies were Emil's: photographing each field with the 18-inch Palomar schmidt, measuring coordinates and preparing finding charts. In addition, Emil determined the apparent magnitudes of brighter galaxies by schraffier guided plates and a flyspanker. For the fainter objects for which the schraffier images were too washed out to be measurable, Emil found that his nearsightedness made schraffier images unnecessary. His familiarity with the 48-inch schmidt plates led him to be one of the first to be aware of the character of the large-scale distribution of galaxies.

Teaching was a significant part of Emil's career: in mathematics at the Institute Athenaeum, Basel 1946-48 and 1951-6, in astronomy at the University of Southern California 1965-1987 where, from 1974-80, he was chair of the Department of Mathematics.

Emil was a quiet gentleman, by no means shy, and an unmerciful master chess player. His deep understanding of human nature, including his own, gave him the ability to get along well with many of the notorious "prima donnas" of astronomy. He had a strong sense of humor, which he needed. A favorite admonition was, "Some people get into trouble because they don't tell the truth, and other people get into trouble because they do." Emil always told the truth, but very gently.

Emil Herzog leaves Gertrud, his wife of 51 years, his astronomer son Dr. Adrian Herzog and a daughter-in-law Tiambun Napitupulu, as well as many friends and admirers. We will miss him.

-Gibson Reaves