Osborn, Harold M. (1899-1975) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Osborn, Harold M. (1899-1975)

Historical Note:

Howard Osborn was a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Illinois from 1956 until 1993, and Professor Emeritus after his retirement. He was also an accomplished musician with a long career as a violist and violinist at the Champaign-Urbana Symphony.

Howard Osborn was born May 16, 1928, in Evanston, Illinois, to Harry and Florence Osborn. He earned an A.B. degree in Mathematics from Princeton University in 1949. Osborn completed his graduate studies at Stanford University, receiving a Ph.D. in Mathematics in 1954. Howard Osborn was a Research Associate at Project Matterhorn, Princeton University, in 1951-1952, and at the University of Chicago in 1953-1954. After graduating from Princeton, from 1954 to 1956, Osborn worked as Instructor at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1956 he was employed as Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Howard Osborn also worked as a consultant for the Rand Corporation from 1954 until 1964 and published several reports with them during that time period. Over the course of his career, Osborn received research grants from the National Science Foundation and held sabbatical appointments at the University of Strasbourg in France in 1960 and 1962-1963, and at Stanford University in 1973. He published extensively, including more than thirty articles and several books. Among Howard Osborn's most prominent publications are The Existence of Conservation Laws, based on his doctoral dissertation and published by the Applied Mathematics and Statistics Laboratory at Stanford University in 1954, as well as Vector Bundles, published by Academic Press in 1982.

Howard Osborn was also widely recognized as a very talented musician. He began playing the violin at the age of 7 and switched to viola at the age of 12. Osborn studied the viola at Northwestern University throughout junior high and high school. During his freshman year at Princeton, he auditioned with William Primrose and was offered a full scholarship to attend the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Osborn eventually decided to pursue his passion for mathematics at Princeton, but continued playing music. Osborn was a founding member of the Champaign-Urbana Symphony where he played from 1960 until 2007. He was also active in chamber music and attended summer chamber music camps in Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine.

Howard Osborn died on August 21, 2019 at the age of 91.

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