Paul Trevier Bateman was born in Philadelphia, on June 6, 1919, and he died on December 26, 2012 in Urbana, Illinois. He was an important figure in 20th century analytic number theory, a leader of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), and a long-time department head of the Mathematics Department of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (UIUC). Paul was a member of the AMS for 71 years and of the London Mathematical Society for 64 years.
Paul was the son of Anna and Harold Bateman. He was raised in Philadelphia, where his father did electrical and heating work. Harold Bateman was remembered as a kind and helpful person; at his funeral the minister said that when you borrowed a hammer from Harold, you got Harold as well.
After attending Upper Moreland High School, Paul went to the University of Pennsylvania, both as an undergraduate and graduate student. During World War II, his studies were interrupted when, as a conscientious objector, he worked in a mental hospital. Asked how safe it was to be surrounded by deranged people, Paul brushed off the question with a reminiscence. Once, when he found himself attacked, he quickly recalled that another inmate had earlier decided that Paul was his son. Paul dragged himself and his attacker over to his “father,” who pounded the attacker until he released Paul.
Paul earned his Ph.D. in 1946 under the direction of. After holding post-doctoral positions at Yale and the Institute for Advanced Study, Paul came to UIUC in 1950 and remained there until his retirement in 1989. He was active until the last year of his life.
Paul met his future wife,, also a mathematician, while he was at Yale and she at Rutgers. They married in 1948 and lived together for 64 years; Felice died within 6 weeks of Paul. Their daughter, Sally, was born in Urbana and continues to live there. The couple shared interests in classical music and opera, and they loved to travel, particularly spending summers in the mountains of Colorado. The Batemans did everything together: in addition to their going together to all conferences, both would speak into the phone at the same time, they would split a cup of coffee in a restaurant, etc.
Paul had a brilliant memory — names of people, music scores, foreign languages, places visited, stories — they all stuck. At a beginning-of-the-year party, with some 30 new mathematicians and wives present, Paul knew the name of everyone. Everything Paul encountered reminded him of something. Of greatest professional use, he was a walking encyclopedia; those who wanted information about a person, paper, event (or most any other matter) turned first to Paul.
Paul maintained a large worldwide network of colleagues who returned to campus regularly, includingfrom France; , from Urbana, Ann Arbor and DeKalb; from all over; and many former students.
In addition to academics, the Batemans contributed to life in the Illinois Math Department in many ways. There were, for example, intramural sports, including the P. T. Batmen Softball Team and the cross-country competition in which the Math Runners sported bright orange Math Reviews T-shirts and which ended with a dinner at the Batemans’ home. Then, there was the coveted award for the most tardy submission of term grades. The “prize” was to buy a round of beer after the first colloquium of the next term. It was originally called the Selfridge Award, after its first winner, but soon after Paul won the prize, and it was renamed the Bateman–Selfridge Award. Later, in honor of the reigning pope, it was re-renamed the John-Paul Award.
Paul organized and promoted Illinois number theory conferences, first as regional meetings and then as frequent international events. In recognition of his many contributions, the department celebrated Paul’s 70th birthday and retirement with a three-day meeting at the University of Illinois Conference Center at Allerton Park. His 90th birthday also was an occasion for an international meeting, and a third such conference was held in memory of the Batemans and Heini Halberstam in June 2014.
Paul Bateman was a faculty member at the University of Illinois for over 60 years. His work during this time for the Mathematics Department, number theory, and American mathematics helped shape today’s profession. His passing marks the end of an era.