[ALGTOP-L] Passages: Akio Hattori
Megumi.Harada at math.mcmaster.ca
Wed Sep 11 10:18:27 EDT 2013
In remembrance of Akio Hattori
Akio Hattori (professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo Department
of Mathematics) passed away on August 25, 2013, at the age of 84.
Professor Hattori had obtained his Ph.D. in 1959 from the University
of Tokyo. He remained at the University of Tokyo as a faculty member
until his retirement in 1990, upon which he took a position at the
Meiji University Department of Mathematics. He had also spent the 2
years of 1966-1968 at Yale University and Johns Hopkins University as
a visiting faculty member and was the president of the Japan
Mathematical Society from 1989 to 1991.
During his career, Professor Hattori was a central figure in the
development of topology research in Japan. His main area of research
was in geometry, with a focus on the topology of manifolds and
transformation groups. In algebraic topology, his name is forever associated
with one of its classical results: the Hattori-Stong theorem. In the
field of geometry, the conference proceedings, edited by Professor
Hattori, of the first major international conference in geometry held
in Japan (``Manifolds Tokyo'' in 1973) is well-known and often cite
to this day. Professor Hattori penned 3 textbooks total, and his
530-page text titled ``Topology'', which carefully and solidly builds
the general theory from the foundations and includes many original
arguments for some of the key steps, is still a crucial component of
the education of every Japanese graduate student aspiring to be a
topologist. Professor Hattori also served as the chair of the
editorial board of the vast Encyclopedia of Mathematics, a publication
of the Japan Mathematical Society, during the preparation of the
encyclopedia's 4th edition (released in 2007). The preparation of this
edition was a Herculean effort due to both the recent acceleration of
mathematical research and the push towards digitalization of
information (including the encyclopedia itself), but Professor Hattori
spearheaded the effort with both grace and poise.
Throughout his life, and in the era before e-mail and internet,
Professor Hattori continually kept himself abreast of the latest
developments in mathematical research both in and outside of Japan.
His students remember with respect and fondness how manuscripts
overflowing with new ideas would find their way to their desks,
accompanied with a smiling comment: ``This is intriguing!'' His open
mind and free-spirit personality made him well-loved by all.
Professor Hattori was fighting cancer in the last period of his life.
Nevertheless, undaunted by medical challenges, he continued to pursue
his love of mathematics. His last preprint was posted on the ArXiv on
August 12, 2013; it is available on-line at
His example continues to inspire and encourage those
around him. May he rest in peace.
-- Mikio Furuta (Univ. of Tokyo)
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