People
William Reynolds
Professor Emeritus
Contact Info:
Tufts University
Department of Mathematics
503 Boston Avenue
BromfieldPearson
Medford, MA 02155
Email
Phone: 6176272363
William Reynolds has published 23 scholarly papers in some of the
world's premier Mathematics journals. He has contributed
particularly to three areas in the theory of representations and
characters of finite groups. His study of the relation between
blocks in groups and in their subgroups and quotients is fundamental
to the field. His work on projective representations (of which the
spin representations used in mathematical physics are an example)
extended the theory to algebraic number fields. His explication of
the relation between isometries and characters, a topic arising from
the classification program for finite groups, was subsequently taken
up by other workers in the field who absorbed and generalized his
results. Reynolds' work was funded continuously from 1965 to 1974 by
the National Science Foundation, and was recognized by Tufts in his
appointment as William Walker Professor of Mathematics in 1970.
Professor Reynolds graduated from Boston Latin School and received
his A.B. (summa cum laude) from the College of the Holy Cross in
1950. While there he scored among the top ten nationally one year,
and received honorable mention the next year, in the William Lowell
Putnam Mathematical Competition. He went on to graduate work at
Harvard University, receiving his A.M. in 1951 and his Ph.D. in
1954. He was elected to Sigma Xi, the science honor society, in
1953. His Ph.D. dissertation, entitled "On finite groups related to
permutation groups of prime degree", was written under the direction
of Richard Brauer, widely recognized as one of our century's great
mathematicians.
Tufts University has benefited from the loyal service of William F.
Reynolds, the William Walker Professor of Mathematics, as scholar,
teacher and administrator over a period of 41 years encompassing
enormous changes in our institution, to many of which Professor
Reynolds contributed.
Reynolds began his teaching career as a Teaching Fellow at Harvard
from 1951 to 1954. During 19545 he divided his energy between
acting as Instructor at Holy Cross and as Research Assistant to his
former thesis advisor at Harvard, with whom he wrote an important
paper that appeared in 1958. From 1955 to 1957 Reynolds held a
prestigious C. L. E. Moore Instructorship at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. He came to Tufts in 1957 as Assistant
Professor in Mathematics; he was promoted to Associate Professor in
1960 and to Professor in 1967.
When Professor Reynolds arrived at Tufts in 1957, the undergraduate
body was roughly half its present size, consisting of 1100 Liberal
Arts men, 500 Jackson women, and 575 Engineering students. Freshmen
still wore beanies. The teaching load in the Mathematics Department
was four courses per semester. The first classes of the day began at
8:00 a.m., and Saturday was a class day.
Professor Reynolds set to work modernizing the curriculum in
Mathematics. He replaced outmoded courses in the Theory of Equations
and in Matrices and Groups with the oneyear sequence in abstract
algebra which remains (as Math 1456) a cornerstone of the present
concentration in Mathematics.
Professor Reynolds played a crucial role in the establishment and
development of Tufts' graduate program in Mathematics. The Masters'
program began in 1963 and the Ph.D. program in 1968. Reynolds served
on the department's graduate committee for l5 years, 9 of them as
chair of the committee and director of the graduate program. Three
Masters' theses and one Ph.D. dissertation benefited from his
personal direction.
