The son of a famous mathematician, I began taking coursework for a BA at Harvard University after less than seven years of prior formal education.
Then, I studied mathematical physics at Cambridge University before switching to study abstract algebra under Philip Hall.
Though I never obtained a Ph.D. (let alone a M.S.), I spent my entire research and teaching career at Harvard.
During WWII, I focused on "engineering" mathematics, developing the mathematics of radar aiming and ballistics, including the bazooka.
My non-war mathematical contributions focused on abstract algebra, lattice theory, computing theories, and the representation of smooth curves via cubic splines.
Though I published more than 200 papers and supervised more than 50 Ph.Ds., my best memories include my work and relationships with great mathematicians such as John Von Neumann, Marshall Stone, and Saunders Mac Lane.
Garrett Birkhoff (1911 – 1996)