In memoriam STEFAN ZNAM

From BICA (10) 1994

STEFAN ZNAM 1936-1993
Alex Rosa, J. Siran

Štefan Znám, Professor of Mathematics at Comenius University in Bratislava and a leading Slovak graph theorist and number theorist, passed away suddenly July 17, 1993.

After obtaining his first degree in mathematics in 1959, Štefan Znám started his scientific career working in number theory. His results on covering systems of congruences have become a classic. Later in the sixties, partly through working on Zarankiewicz's problem, he became more and more interested in graph theory which was at the time becoming a rapidly expanding discipline. His main interest was in extremal problems, but very soon he was contributing substantial papers in other areas, such as graph decompositions. He was an author or co-author of well over 50 original papers· on these and various other subjects. Several of these papers, including one which settles completely the spectrum problem for maximal partial Steiner triple systems, are yet to appear. His results and papers are quoted frequently in books, monographs, and papers.

Štefan Znám was very successful in popularizing mathematics in general, and combinatorics and graph theory in particular. He wrote more than 20 popular articles on mathematics as well as 5 books and several texts for students. He prepared several television shows popularizing mathematics
and mathematics education.

He was very good at attracting to graph theory young talented students, many of whom attained their degrees under his supervision. Several of his former students went on to distinguish themselves and are today well respected graph theorists.

When Anton Kotzig left for Canada in 1969, Štefan Znám together with Juraj Bosak took over the leadership of the Bratislava graph theory seminar. He continued to lead this seminar after Bosa.k's death in 1987; this seminar has become one of the most productive seminars in Slovakia. In addition to many administrative functions and duties, Štefan Znám served as editorin-chief of the journal Acta Mathematica Universitatis Comenianae.

Štefan Znám was well known personally to many mathematicians in North America. Apart from a brief stay in Canada during the Calgary conference in 1969, he spent a term in 1984 at the University of Waterloo, and again in 1991 at McMaster University where he made many personal friends. As recently as in the spring of 1993, he visited the University of Newcastle, NSW, in Australia.

The sudden passing of Professor Štefan Znám is a great loss for his friends students, and the entire mathematical community. We shall remember him for his friendliness and devotion, and, at the same time, high standards that he demanded of himself, his students, and his surroundings. We shall miss
his enthusiasm for mathematics and graph theory with which he managed to attract so many to our beloved science.


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