Background
Wolfowitz, Jacob was born on March 19, 1910 in Warsaw, Poland. Son of Samuel and Helen (Pearlman) Wolfowitz.
mathematician statistician university professor
Wolfowitz, Jacob was born on March 19, 1910 in Warsaw, Poland. Son of Samuel and Helen (Pearlman) Wolfowitz.
In the mid-1930s, Wolfowitz began his career as high school mathematics teacher and continued teaching until 1942 when he received his Ph.D. degree in mathematics from New York University.
He was the father of former United States Deputy Secretary of Defense and World Bank Group President Paul Wolfowitz. While a part-time graduate student, Wolfowitz met Abraham Wald, with whom he collaborated in numerous joint papers in the field of mathematical statistics. This collaboration continued until Wald's death in an airplane crash in 1950.
In 1951, Wolfowitz became a professor of mathematics at Cornell University, where he stayed until 1970. From 1970 to 1978 he was at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He died of a heart attack in Tampa, Florida, where he had become a professor at the University of South Florida after retiring from Illinois.
Wolfowitz's main contributions were in the fields of statistical decision theory, non-parametric statistics, sequential analysis, and information theory. One of his results is the strong converse to Claude Shannon's coding theorem. While Shannon could prove only that the block error probability can not become arbitrarily small if the transmission rate is above the channel capacity, Wolfowitz proved that the block error rate actually converges to one.
As a consequence, Shannon's original result is today termed "the weak theorem" (sometimes also Shannon's "conjecture" by some authors).
Member National Academy Sciences. Fellow American Academy Arts and Sciences, Institute Mathematics Statistics (past president, Rietz lecturer, Wald lecturer), Econometric Society. Member American Mathematics Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (Shannon lecturer 1979), International Statistical Institute.
Married Lillian Dundes, March 3, 1934. Children: Laura M. (Mistress Tsvi Sachs), Paul D. Associate.