We remember Distinguished Professor Emeritus János Aczel

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

We are sad to share the news that János Aczel passed away on January 1, 2020 following a brief illness only six days following his 95th birthday. János became a professor in the Department of Pure Mathematics in 1965 after holding positions at the University of Cologne, Lajos Kossuth University, University of Miskolc, and University of Szeged.

Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1924, János completed his bachelor and master’s degrees at the University of Budapest, as well as his doctorate in mathematical analysis.

János founded the journal Aequationes Mathematicae, first published in 1968, and remains its honorary editor-in-chief. Issues of the journal Aequationes Mathematicae were dedicated to Aczél in 1999, 2005, and 2010, in honor of his 75th, 80th, and 85th birthdays. His career included over 300 articles and 10 books.

In addition to honorary degrees from Karlsruhe University, the University of Graz, Silesian University of Technology, University of Miskolc, and the University of Debrecen, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1971. In 1990 he became a Foreign Fellow of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and in 2008 he became an honorary member of the Hamburg Mathematical Society, the oldest active mathematical society in the world. He was the 1988 winner of the Santiago Ramón y Cajal Medal and in 2004 he won the Kampé de Fériet Award of the annual Information Processing and Management of Uncertainty conference, "for his pioneering work on the theory of functional equations, with applications in many fields, such as information measures, index numbers, group decision making, aggregation, production functions, laws of science, theory of measurement and utility theory."

“János was a man of service during his time at the University of Waterloo, both on campus and in the math community,” said David McKinnon, Chair of the Department of Pure Mathematics. “He chaired several committees, organized conferences and represented the university as an invited speaker around the world.”

Daughters Catherine Aczel Boivie (Stellan) and Julie More (Michael) invite friends to share their memories of János at the University of Waterloo on Friday, April 17 at 2:00 pm (please RSVP by email).

The Aczel family believes that his passion for mathematics will continue through the talented graduate students who continue to push forward the boundaries of mathematics and pure reason. Their future discoveries will result in far-reaching benefits for Canada at home and abroad. To this end, they have established the Susan and János Aczel Graduate Scholarship at the University of Waterloo. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the Susan and János Aczel Graduate Scholarship (specifying the scholarship fund) or by calling 1-800-408-8715.