I went to the University of Illinois for my undergraduate studies primarily because it was reputed to have a strong mathematics department. I was already interested in number theory, and by blind luck I found myself in a place with a strong program, which, under the leadership of Paul Bateman, included my favorite flavor of number theory.
After excellent introductory honors math courses, in the second semester of my sophomore year I found myself taking Bateman’s problem seminar course. I was in way over my head! I spent 20 hours a week on that course alone while taking a full academic load, but it was worth every minute. I learned about inclusion-exclusion, summation by parts, abelian and tauberian theorems, generating functions, various kinds of convergence and the interchange of double limits, linear recurrences, theapproximation theorem, the summation formula, and uniform distribution — to name just a few of the topics covered. I still refer to my problem seminar coursepack and find it very valuable.
Subsequently I took further courses from Bateman, one on Diophantine approximation and the geometry of numbers, and another on analytic number theory. The latter course featured a proof of the Prime Number Theorem forprimes.
Bateman arranged for visits from several outstanding mathematicians during my time as an undergraduate. Thus I got the opportunity to take a course fromon diophantine equations, and a problem-solving course from and .
Paul had the idea of nominating me for a Marshall Scholarship, and he secured a letter from [e1].offering to take me as a student if I reached Cambridge. My good luck (and Paul’s strong support) stayed with me, as I won the scholarship and got to work with Davenport. Unfortunately, Davenport had died by the time I finished my thesis; but around then Paul suggested that I send the thesis to Springer for their Lecture Notes series. It was accepted and published as SLN 227
Paul nominated me, a newly minted Ph.D., to serve as a member of the organizing committee of the large 1972 symposium on analytic number theory, held at St. Louis University. This was one of several early opportunities for me which became available through Paul’s doing.
Paul continued to be helpful and supportive in many different ways over the subsequent years. A concrete instance of this took place just a few years ago, when I served on the Putnam problems committee. When we were struggling to devise good problems at the A-1 or B-1 level, Paul communicated several solid candidates, drawn from his personal collection.
I am indebted to Paul for the continuing interest he took in my career, and the initiative he exercised on my behalf.