Sad news

Jirka Matousek had died yesterday (Monday, March 9, 2015) after a long illness at age 52. Today would have been his birthday. Not only was Jirka an amazing researcher, but he had written several important books, from his wonderful book on discrepancy, to his equally great book on discrete geometry, to his book on the Borsuk-Ulam theorem, and his (coauthored) introductory book on discrete math. See his webpage for more information about his books and papers.

I feel inadequate to summarize Jirka’s research. From his work on partitions trees, discrepancy, embeddings, topology, linear-programming, derandomization, cuttings, approximation algorithms, discrete geometry and much much more.

Quoting from the email I got with this sad news: “He will further live with us through our memories and in his excellent books and papers.”

May he rest in peace.

  1. Really sad news.

  2. I didn’t know that Jirka’s health was so tenuous; this comes as a great shock. Jirka’s remarkable work and his gift for mathematical writing were a profound inspiration to me (and, I’m sure, to many others). I would visit his page often, as there was reliably a new gem to be found there. He didn’t travel much, and my first reaction was to wish I had known him better. But truthfully, I knew him far more intimately through countless hours reading his words than I could have hoped to know him in person.

  3. I didn’t know Jirka Matousek, but according to some Jewish sources people who die at their birthday are virtuous. That would be according to a the Jewish calendar, but I’m sure it’s close enough.


  4. Shattering news… Such a rare and special person.
    A great and unexpected loss to Mathematics, to
    Czech Republic, to all of us.

  5. It is a very sad news. I love all his books very much. I also remember that he is a great speaker who can make the audience laugh every one or two minutes in a long talk on a rather technical topic.

  6. Very sad news and a big loss! Jirka was a hero to me too, with his beautiful results, and elegant and lucid mathematical writing. During graduate school I have learned more from his books than from any other single resource. It was a great honor to work with him on a paper over the last year, even until a few days ago!

    He will be missed! May he rest in peace!