Joseph L. Ullman

Joseph L. Ullman, professor emeritus of mathematics, died Sept. 11 in Chelsea. He was 72.

Ullman joined the U-M as an instructor in 1949. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1954, associate professor in 1962 and professor in 1966. In 1970–71, he was associate chair for graduate students, and for many years was the chair of the Master’s Committee in the Department of Mathematics.

Ullman’s research area was classical analysis, with specific focus on approximation theory. His papers on the asymptotic behavior of orthogonal polynomials with arbitrary measures drew international attention. He published 46 research papers and directed eight doctoral theses.

“Prof. Ullman was valued by his colleagues for his love of mathematics inquiry, his encyclopedic knowledge of classical analysis and his willingness to share his knowledge,” says mathematics Prof. Paul G. Federbush.

“His long-time colleagues remember ‘Joe’ as omnipresent in the Commons Room, a constant source of challenging mathematical problems; as possessing of a sense of humor; and not avoiding controversy on matters of principle. He was a colorful friend and will be sorely missed.”

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., Ullman earned a B.A. from the University of Buffalo in 1942. His graduate study was interrupted by service in the U.S. Army during World War II as an instructor of mathematics at an Army school in Czechoslovakia and Biarritz, France. He received a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1949.

Ullman is survived by his wife, Barbara; four daughters, Esther Ullman of Ann Arbor, Ruth Michelson of California, Sara Emberton of Australia and Katie Ullman of California; six grandchildren; and his sister, Judith Chernoff of Massachusetts.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.


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