Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Gilbert Hunt,a world-class mathematician has died at age 92 at his Princeton home. He was recognized worldwide for his work in the fields of probability theory and analysis.his foundational work on Markov processes, a random system in which knowledge of the past gives no more information about the future than does knowledge of the present.Hunt made contributions to mathematics that allow for forecasts in any complex system, from weather to quantum mechanics. The "Hunt Process," a key mathematical model used in probability theory, bears his name.Hunt was a member of the Princeton University Department of Mathematics faculty from 1959-62, then taught at Cornell University for three years before returning to Princeton in 1965. He chaired the university's mathematics department from 1966-68, retiring from teaching in 1986.He was born in Washington, D.C. on March 4,1916, to Gilbert Hunt, a renowned engineer and bridge-builder, and May Jane Winfield Hunt a homemaker. He was an only child.Hunt suffered from macular degeneration and starting losing his sight in the 1960s at the height of his mathematical powers.He attended the Masschusetts Institute of Technology for two years, but left to play tennis, a sport at which he had excelled since he was a child.Recently, he visited John Conway, Princeton's John von Neumann Professor of Applied and Computational Mathematics, in Fine Hall. He had read one of Conway's books by listening to a recording for the blind.