Gary R. Jensen, coordinating editor
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 . 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 , are known by virtually every differential geometry student of the past fifty years. In their articles below, Shoshichi’s student, at Osaka University and former 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.