Alonzo Church  

Alonzo Church (1903–1995)


Born  June
14, 1903 Washington, D.C., USA 
Died 
November 8, 1995 (aged 92) Hudson, Ohio, USA 
Residence  United States 
Nationality  American 
Fields  Mathematics, Logic 
Institutions  Princeton
University 1929–67 University of California, Los Angeles 1967–95 
Alma mater  Princeton University 
Doctoral advisor  Oswald Veblen 
Doctoral students  C. Anthony
Anderson Peter Andrews George Alfred Barnard Martin Davis Leon Henkin David Kaplan John George Kemeny Stephen Kleene Michael O. Rabin Hartley Rogers, Jr J. Barkley Rosser Nathan Salmon Dana Scott Raymond Smullyan Alan Turing 
Known for  Lambda
calculus Church–Turing thesis Frege–Church ontology Church–Rosser theorem 
Alonzo Church (June 14, 1903 – August 11, 1995) was an American mathematician and logician who made major contributions to mathematical logic and the foundations of theoretical computer science. He is best known for the lambda calculus, Church–Turing thesis, Frege–Church ontology, and the Church–Rosser theorem.
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Alonzo Church was born on June 14, 1903 in Washington, D.C. where his father, Samuel Robbins Church, was the Justice of the Municipal Court for the District of Columbia. The family later moved to Virginia after his father lost this position because of failing eyesight. With help from his uncle, also named Alonzo Church, he was able to attend the Ridgefield School for Boys in Ridgefield, Connecticut.^{[1]} After graduating from Ridgefield in 1920, Church attended Princeton University where he was an exceptional student, publishing his first paper, on Lorentz transformation, and graduating in 1924 with a degree in mathematics. He stayed on at Princeton, earning a Ph.D. in mathematics in three years under Oswald Veblen.
He married Mary Julia Kuczinski in 1925 and the couple had three children, Alonzo Church, Jr. (1929), Mary Ann (1933) and Mildred (1938).
After receiving his Ph.D. he taught briefly as an instructor at the University of Chicago and then received a twoyear National Research Fellowship. This allowed him to attend Harvard University in 1927–1928 and then both University of Göttingen and University of Amsterdam the following year. He taught at Princeton, 1929–1967, and at the University of California, Los Angeles, 1967–1990. In 1990, he received the Doctor Honoris Causa from the State University of New York at Buffalo in connection with an international symposium in his honor organized by John Corcoran.^{[2]} He had previously received honorary doctorates from Case Western Reserve University (1969) and Princeton University (1985).^{[3]}
He died in 1995 and was buried in Princeton Cemetery.
Church is best known for the following accomplishments:
The lambda calculus emerged in his famous 1936 paper showing the existence of an "undecidable problem". This result preceded Alan Turing's famous work on the halting problem, which also demonstrated the existence of a problem unsolvable by mechanical means. Church and Turing then showed that the lambda calculus and the Turing machine used in Turing's halting problem were equivalent in capabilities, and subsequently demonstrated a variety of alternative "mechanical processes for computation." This resulted in the Church–Turing thesis.
The lambda calculus influenced the design of the LISP programming language and functional programming languages in general. The Church encoding is named in his honor.
Church's doctoral students were an extraordinarily accomplished lot, including C. Anthony Anderson, Peter B. Andrews, George A. Barnard, William W. Boone, Martin Davis, Alfred L. Foster, Leon Henkin, John G. Kemeny, Stephen C. Kleene, Simon B. Kochen, Maurice L'Abbé, Isaac Malitz, Gary Mar, Michael O. Rabin, Nicholas Rescher, Hartley Rogers, Jr., J. Barkley Rosser, Dana Scott, Raymond Smullyan, and Alan Turing. See [1]. A more complete list is at [2] as part of the Mathematics Genealogy Project.
Born  June 14, 1903 Washington, DC, USA 

Died  November 8, 1995 (aged 92) Hudson, Ohio, USA 
Residence  United States 
Nationality  American 
Field  Mathematics 
Institutions  Princeton University 1929–67 University of California, Los Angeles 1967–95 
Alma mater  Princeton University 
Academic advisor  Oswald Veblen 
Notable students  C. Anthony Anderson Peter Andrews George Alfred Barnard Martin Davis Leon Henkin David Kaplan John George Kemeny Stephen Kleene Michael O. Rabin Hartley Rogers, Jr J. Barkley Rosser Nathan Salmon Dana Scott Raymond Smullyan Alan Turing 
Alonzo Church (June 14, 1903 – August 11, 1995) was an American mathematician and logician who made major contributions to mathematical logic and the foundations of theoretical computer science. He is best known for the lambda calculus, Church's thesis and the ChurchRosser theorem.
