Ky Fan, Chinese, American mathematician, educator. Member Academia Sinica, American Mathematics Society, Mathematics Association American.

Background

Fan was born in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province, China. His father named Fan Qi (樊琦, 1879—1947) and served for the district courts of Jinhua and Wenzhou. Kentucky Fan went to Jinhua with his father when he was eight years old, and studied at several middle schools in Zhejiang including the Jinhua High School (currently Jinhua No1 Middle School), Hangzhou Zongwen High School (currently Hangzhou No10 Middle School), and Wenzhou High School.

Education

Bachelor of Science, National Peking University, 1936. Doctor of Science in Mathematics, University Paris, 1941. Doctor honoris causa, University Paris-Dauphine, 1990.

Career

Fan obtained his secondary diploma from the Jinhua High School. Fan enrolled into Peking University Department of Mathematics in 1932, and received his Bachelor of Surgery degree from Peking University in 1936. After graduation, Fan became a teaching assistant in the department.

Fan"s doctoral advisor was M.R.Fréchet.

Fan was a research fellow at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (National Center for Scientific Research). In 1947, Fan joined the mathematical faculty of the University of Notre Dame, where he was an assistant professor at beginning, and later promoted to associate professor and full professor

In 1960, Fan also held position of the Wayne State University in Detroit for about one year, but immediately went to the Northwestern University near Chicago. In 1965, Fan became a professor of mathematics at UCSB. Fan was elected an Academician of the Academia Sinica (Taipei, Taiwan) in 1964.

Fan served as the director of the Institute of Mathematics there from 1978 to 1984.

Fan had 23 graduate students. He died in Santa Barbara in March 2010. Fan was a student and collaborator of M. Fréchet and was also influenced by John von Neumann and Hermann Weyl.

The author of approximately 130 papers, Fan made fundamental contributions to operator and matrix theory, convex analysis and inequalities, linear and nonlinear programming, topology and fixed point theory, and topological groups.

His work in fixed point theory, in addition to influencing nonlinear functional analysis, has found wide application in mathematical economics and game theory, potential theory, calculus of variations, and differential equations. The following are named after him: Kentucky Fan norms Kentucky Fan inequality Kentucky Fan lemma During his secondary school and college time, Fan said he "hated English".

That was also an important reason for him to choose mathematics, with less English but full of equations, and go to Paris. Fan is quite famous for being an extremely strict professor