Robert O'Malley

Professor Emeritus
Robert O’Malley


In Memoriam

Remembering Professor Bob O'Malley

Professor O'Malley studied Electrical Engineering and Mathematics at the University of New Hampshire where he received his baccalaureate degree in 1960 and his master's in 1961. He then studied differential equations and singular perturbations at Stanford University where he received his doctorate in Mathematics in 1966. After brief appointments at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Bell Telephone Laboratories, the Courant Institute (New York University), and the Mathematics Research Center (the University of Wisconsin, Madison), Professor O'Malley returned to New York University in 1968. He remained there, doing research on asymptotic methods and singular perturbations with J.B. Keller and a number of other stimulating colleagues and students. Professor O'Malley spent a year at the University of Edinburgh, where his lecture notes formed the basis of his book, Introduction to Singular Perturbations (Academic Press, 1974). In 1973, he moved to the University of Arizona (Tucson) where he later organized a successful interdisciplinary program in applied mathematics, and where he applied singular perturbation ideas in control theory. After a sabbatical at Stanford University, Professor O'Malley moved to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, New York) in 1981. At Rensselaer, he headed a math sciences department which emphasized applied mathematics and computer science. There, he was active in campus affairs and served as the Chairman of the Faculty and the Ford Foundation Professor. Soon after a sabbatical at the Technical University of Vienna, where Professor O'Malley studied asymptotic methods in semiconductor modeling, he moved to Seattle, where he is now enjoying the restaurants, chamber music, and the (generally) pleasant climate.

Professor O'Malley has been especially active as a member of SIAM, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. He was president of SIAM in 1991 and 1992, and has been vice-president in charge of their publication program which encompasses ten journals and several book series. Among his other positions with SIAM has been that of program chair for several meetings including ICIAM `91, the second international industrial and applied mathematics conference, which drew 2,200 participants.

Dr. O'Malley serves on a number of boards, including advisory committees for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Electric Power Research Institute, and Argonne National Laboratory, and more generally as a spokesperson for applied mathematics.