Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University
Theory of rings and modules
April 28, 1927 – January 12, 2014
A resident of Princeton, since 1960, Carl Faith died on Sunday, January 12, 2014 of heart failure at Princeton Hospital.
Carl Faith was born in a house on Fifth Street near the Ohio River in Covington, Kentucky. He was raised in Covington’s Peaselburg neighborhood, where he and his late brother Fred went to the 5th and 7th District Schools and Holmes High School.
He was drafted into the U.S. Navy in 1945, trained to be a radio technician, and graduated with the rank of Aviation Technician Mate, third class, in August 1946.
With the help of the GI Bill, he attended the University of Kentucky in Lexington, graduating magna cum laude with Honors in mathematics. In 1955 he received his PhD in mathematics from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, where he studied with the late Dr. Sam Perlis. He then taught at Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, and Michigan State University, and was a Fulbright-NATO post-doctoral fellow at Heidelberg University in Germany. He was appointed full professor of mathematics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick and Piscataway, New Jersey, in 1962, and taught there until his retirement in 1997.
He was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow and a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) from 1960-1962. He also was a visitor at IAS in 1973-74, 1977-78, and summers 1960-79. In 1970 he attended Tulane University’s Algebra Year, and in 1965-1966, he was a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley.
In 1968, Faith was a consultant for the National Science Foundation and the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in India, lecturing in New Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Calcutta, and Jaipur. In spring 1986 and fall 1989, Dr. Faith was a visiting professor at Centre Reserca Matematica in Barcelona, where he worked with the late Professor Pere Menal and his students Drs. Jaume Moncasi, Pere Ara, Dolors Herbera, and Rosa Camps.
In May 2003, he was honored by his alma mater in Covington and inducted into the Holmes High School Hall of Distinction.
In 2007, Professor Faith and Professor Barbara Osofsky of Rutgers, his PhD student, were feted at an international conference in Zanesville, Ohio in celebration of his 80th and her 70th birthdays.
Faith’s mathematical research was in abstract algebra, Galois theory, ring theory, and module theory; he is the author of numerous publications and books, including Rings and Things and a Fine Array of Twentieth Century Associative Algebra, American Mathematical Society, 1999; FPF Ring Theory, with S.S. Page, London Mathematical Society, 1984; Simple Noetherian Rings, with J.H. Cozzens, Cambridge University Press, 1975; and a definitive two-volume Algebra, Spring-Verlag, 1973, 1976.
Dr. Faith’s hobbies included travelling, multi-media art, photography, and poetry. He studied art at the Baker-Hunt Foundation in Covington and later at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as at the Princeton Art Association. Two of his works were selected for a juried show at McCarter Theater.
A book of poems, The Seduction of Hummingbirds and other Poems, and a memoir of his first nineteen years, The Sun Shines Bright: A Kentucky Boyhood during the Great Depression and World War II, were published by Xlibris, and are accessible at his website: carlfaith.com.
Dr. Faith is survived by his wife, Molly Sullivan; his daughter Heidi Faith of Mt. View, CA; four adopted sons: Zeno Wood, of Brooklyn, N.Y., Dr. Japheth Wood, of Kingston, N.Y., Malachi Wood, of Princeton, and Dr. Ezra Wood, of Amherst, Mass; and their respective spouses, Jill Dowling, Mariel Fiori, Dr. Jhilam Iqbal, and Dr. Simi Hoque. He is survived by 8 grandchildren: Clio Dowling Wood, Leila Yorek Sundin, Tarquin Iqbal Wood, Maya Iqbal Wood, Vesper Woodhoque and her twin siblings, Esme and Quinn, and Daphne Wood-Fiori. He is also survived by his first wife, Betty Compton Selberg.
Friends are welcome to join his family at the burial on Friday, January 17, 2014 at noon in Princeton Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Princeton Public Library or a charity of choice.
A memorial will be held at Rutgers in April or May. Date TBD.