Robert W. Carroll

In Memoriam: Robert W. Carroll

Robert CarrollRobert Wayne Carroll, 82, died Dec. 8, 2012, at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. He was born May 10, 1930, in Chicago to Walter Scott Carroll and Dorothy Helen LeMonnier.

He received his undergraduate degree in applied mathematics at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) in 1952. He was an aeronautical research scientist (GS9) at Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory in Cleveland, which was part of NACA (now NASA) between 1952 and 1954. He served for three years with the U.S. Army Security Agency as a linguist in Russian, Polish, German, and French.

He returned to the States in 1957, received his Ph.D. degree in mathematics from the University of Maryland in 1959, and became an NSF postdoctoral Fellow at Nancy, France. He was an assistant professor (1960-1963) and associate professor (1963-1964) at Rutgers University. He became an associate professor in 1964 at the University of Illinois. He was promoted to full professor in 1967 and held that position for 30 years until his retirement in 1997.

Professor Carroll specialized in partial differential equations, ordinary differential equations, mathematical physics, and global analysis. His work considered topics such as soliton theory, transmutation theory, inverse scattering and integrable systems. He was the author of 12 books and several hundred papers in the above areas. During his career, he held visiting positions at the University of Maryland, the University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), Academia Sinica (Taiwan), Hiroshima University (Japan) and the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota. He gave invited talks at more than 80 conferences and lectured in England, Holland, France, Italy, and Japan. He also served as an associate editor for the journal Applicable Analysis.

He remained active well past retirement. He was awarded the Majorana Prize in 2010 from the Electronic Journal of Theoretical Physics for the Best Special Issue Paper, "Quantum potential as information: a mathematical survey."

He is survived by his wife, Denise Bredt. He is also survived by two sons, David and Malcolm (from his first marriage to Berenice Carroll), and four grandchildren, Katherine, Annette, Sophie and Max Carroll. He will be buried next to Joan Miller, to whom he was married from 1979 until her death in 2001.

Professor Carroll had a number of hobbies. He enjoyed traveling and learning languages leading to varying degrees of skill in Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish. He was an enthusiastic bridge player and was an avid tennis player for most of his life. Other interests included ping pong and music.

Condolences may be sent to 2120 S. Vine St., Urbana, Ill., c/o David Carroll. Any donations in the name of Robert W. Carroll should be made to the American Cancer Society.