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Joachim Lambek (1922-2014)

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Submitted by Richard Zach on Sat, 06/28/2014 - 7:54am

More sad news, via the Studia Logica list:

We sadly inform that Professor Joachim Lambek (Jim for friends) passed away on June 23, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. in Montreal.

Joachim Lambek was born in Leipzig on December 5, 1922. His parents moved to Leipzig from a small town near Krakow (Poland). In the late 1930-ties the family left Germany for England. After the outbreak of the SWW, he spend two years in an internment camp in Canada, then entered McGill University in Montreal. He earned Ms.C. in mathematics in 1946. This university has remained his affiliation throughout his academic career; in the years 1963-1993 he was a professor at the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and occupied the Peter Redpath Chair, then a professor emeritus at McGill. He has visited many universities and research centers in Europe and America.

J. Lambek's scientific interests focused on algebra, category theory, mathematical logic, mathematical linguistics and number theory. In category theory he developed categorical logic, e.g. he has shown close connections between cartesian closed categories and typed lambda calculi. In mathematical linguistics, Lambek's Syntactic Calculus, introduced in 1958 (nowadays called Lambek Calculus), is a basic logic for modern type grammars. This calculus and its different variants are extensively studied also in algebraic logic as the basic substrutural logics. In the last decades J. Lambek developed an algebraic approach to grammar, involving pregroups. He also studied some algebras of physics (quaternions) and published books on the history of mathematics.