Celebratio Mathematica

Shōshichi Kobayashi

Remembering Shoshichi Kobayashi

Shoshi­chi Kobay­ashi was born Janu­ary 4, 1932, in Kofu City, Ja­pan. He grew up amidst the co­lossal dev­ast­a­tion of World War II. After com­plet­ing a BS de­gree in 1953 at the Uni­versity of Tokyo, he spent the aca­dem­ic year 1953–1954 on a French schol­ar­ship at the Uni­versity of Par­is and the Uni­versity of Stras­bourg. From there he went to the Uni­versity of Wash­ing­ton in Seattle, where he re­ceived a Ph.D. in 1956 for the thes­is “The­ory of con­nec­tions,” (An­nali di Mat. (1957), 119–194), writ­ten un­der the dir­ec­tion of Carl B. Al­lendo­er­fer. There fol­lowed two years as a mem­ber of the In­sti­tute for Ad­vanced Study in Prin­ceton and then two years as a re­search as­so­ci­ate at MIT. In 1960 he be­came an as­sist­ant pro­fess­or at the Uni­versity of Brit­ish Columbia, which he left in 1962 to go to the Uni­versity of Cali­for­nia at Berke­ley, where he re­mained for the rest of his life.

Shoshi­chi pub­lished 134 pa­pers, widely ad­mired not only for their math­em­at­ic­al con­tent but for the el­eg­ance of his writ­ing. Among his thir­teen books, Hy­per­bol­ic Man­i­folds and Holo­morph­ic Map­pings and the Kobay­ashi met­ric in com­plex man­i­folds cre­ated a field, while Found­a­tions of Dif­fer­en­tial Geo­metry, I and II, coau­thored with Nom­izu, are known by vir­tu­ally every dif­fer­en­tial geo­metry stu­dent of the past fifty years. In their art­icles be­low, Shoshi­chi’s stu­dent, Toshiki Mabu­chi at Osaka Uni­versity and former Pro­fess­or Tak­ushiro Ochi­ai at the Uni­versity of Tokyo sum­mar­ize many of Shoshi­chi’s math­em­at­ic­al achieve­ments. Sev­er­al of his stu­dents re­late their ex­per­i­ences of work­ing un­der Pro­fess­or Kobay­ashi’s su­per­vi­sion. Some Berke­ley col­leagues write of their per­son­al ex­per­i­ences with Shoshi­chi.

In this Chapter: