About the Project
About the Project

Tom M. Apostol

Photograph of Tom M. Apostol

Tom M. Apostol (b. 1923 in Helper, Utah, d. 2016) was Professor Emeritus in the Department of Mathematics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, California, until his death on May 8, 2016. Apostol is survived by his wife, Jane Apostol; his stepson, Stephen Goddard; his sisters, Kay Navrides and Betsie Strouzas; and his brother, John Apostol.

Apostol was born on August 20, 1923. He received his bachelor of science in chemical engineering in 1944 and a master’s degree in mathematics in 1946, both from the University of Washington, Seattle. In 1948, he received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1950, he arrived at Caltech as an assistant professor; he was named associate professor in 1956, professor in 1962, and professor emeritus in 1992.

He was a visiting professor at the University of Patras in Greece in 1978, and was elected a Corresponding Member of the Academy of Athens in 2001 (where he delivered his inaugural lecture in Greek).

He was internationally known for his textbooks on calculus, analysis, and analytic number theory, which have been translated into five languages, and for creating Project MATHEMATICS!, a series of video programs that bring mathematics to life with computer animation, live action, music, and special effects. The videos captured first-place honors at a dozen international video festivals, and have been translated into Hebrew, Portuguese, French, and Spanish. He was also a coauthor of three textbooks written to accompany the physics telecourse The Mechanical Universe …and Beyond. His complete list of publications contains numerous articles and research papers (fifty of them published since he became Emeritus in 1992), as well as sixty-one books, sixteen videotapes, and nine DVD’s.

In 1982, Apostol received an award for teaching excellence from the Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology. In 1998, the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) awarded him the annual Trevor Evans Award, presented to authors of an exceptional article that is accessible to undergraduates, for his piece entitled “What Is the Most Surprising Result in Mathematics?” (Answer: the prime number theorem). In 2005, 2008, and 2010, he was awarded MAA’s Lester R. Ford Award, given to recognize authors of articles of expository excellence. In addition, he was the co-author of New Horizons in Geometry, published by the MAA, which received the CHOICE “Outstanding Academic Title” award in 2013. Tom Apostol and his wife Jane were inducted into the MAA’s Icosahedron Society in 2010. He additionally served as a visiting lecturer for the MAA, and as a member of the MAA Board of Governors.

Apstol was named as one of the inaugural class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society in 2012.

Apostol is author of the following DLMF chapters

Apostol served as a Validator for the original release and publication in May 2010 of the NIST Digital Library of Mathematical Functions and the NIST Handbook of Mathematical Functions.