In Memoriam - Professor Henry C. Pinkham

The Arts and Sciences community mourns the passing of Professor Henry C. Pinkham

August 30, 2023

The Arts and Sciences community mourns the passing of Professor Henry C. Pinkham, a longtime member of the Department of Mathematics and former Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, who passed away in June.

A devoted teacher, scholar, and academic leader, Professor Pinkham was part of the Columbia University community for almost 50 years.  He arrived on campus in 1974 shortly after earning his PhD in Mathematics from Harvard University.  He initially served as Ritt Assistant Professor, then as Associate Professor, becoming full Professor in the Department of Mathematics in 1985. Professor Pinkham also spent time as a visitor at the École Polytechnique and was an Alfred P. Sloan fellow.  Later in his career, he held academic appointments at the Institut Henri Poincaré and in the Economics Department at Sciences Po.

His research interests were broad, covering fields ranging from algebraic geometry to computer graphics, the mathematics of economics, and representation theory.  He published widely in these areas and others and was the recipient of several NSF-funded grants. As an academic administrator, Professor Pinkham served two terms as Chair of the Department of Mathematics and also led the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as its Dean from 2001 until 2010.

Beyond his research and service, Professor Pinkham was an accomplished teacher, mentoring numerous PhD students, teaching courses in linear algebra, algebraic curves, introduction to modern analysis, and Music Humanities, among others.  In recognition of his impact on his students, he received the Mark Van Doren Teaching Award in 1999, which recognizes a faculty member’s humanity, devotion to truth, and inspiring leadership.

We share our deepest condolences with Professor Pinkham’s family as we honor the loss of our colleague.  A memorial service is planned for Friday, November 17, 2023, from 11:00 am -2:00 pm at Faculty House.  RSVPs should be sent to [email protected].