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Townsend Harris Alumni Association

Harvey Cohn, Class of 1939

Harvey Cohn, Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and member of the Society since 1942, died on May 16, 2014 at the age of 90. He was a brilliant Mathematician, an adoring husband, father and grandfather, and faithful friend and mentor to his colleagues and students. Born in New York City in 1923, Cohn received his B.S. degree (Mathematics and Physics) from CCNY in 1942. He received his M.S. degree from NYU (1943), and his Ph.D. from Harvard (1948) after service in the Navy (Electronic Technicians Mate, 1944-46). He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa (Sigma Chi), won the William Lowell Putnam Prize in 1942, and was awarded the Townsend Harris Medal in 1972.

A pioneer in the intensive use of computers in an innovative way in a large number of classical mathematical problems, Harvey Cohn held faculty positions at Wayne State University, Stanford, Washington University Saint Louis (first Director of the Computing Center 1956-58), University of Arizona (Chairman 1958-1967), University of Copenhagen, and CCNY (Distinguished Professor of Mathematics). After his retirement from teaching, he worked in a variety of capacities for the National Security Agency and its research arm, IDA Center for Computing Sciences. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Bernice, of Laguna Woods, California and Ft. Lauderdale, FL, his son Anthony, daughter Susan Cohn Boros, three grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Published in The New York Times on July 27, 2014.