Robert Piziak, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
B.A. in mathematics, Cum Laude, Amherst College, 1964
M.A. in mathematics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1966
Ph. D. in mathematics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1969
Academic Interests and Research
Dr. Piziak's research is in the areas of lattice theory, matrix theory, Hilbert spaces and foundation of quantum mechanics.
Dr. Piziak was born 17 January 1943 in Hadley, Massachusetts, the only child of Walter and Veronica Piziak. Walter missed his son's birth since he was in the South Pacific with the Army Signal Corps. Dr. Piziak was educated in the Hadley Public School system graduating from Hopkins Academy in 1960. He went just a few miles down the road to attend Amherst College where he majored in mathematics. He then went across town to earn his M.A. and Ph. D. at the University of Massachusetts. His dissertation was written under the direction of Dr. David J. Foulis. While at UMass, he met is wife Veronica Anne Kelly, who was working on a Ph. D. in Biochemistry. They married in Vineyard Haven 13 August 1966 on Martha's Vineyard Island.
Dr. Piziak and his wife took their first jobs at the University of Florida in Gainesville in the fall of 1970. Mrs. Dr. Piziak discovered she didn't like working in the sub-basement of the medical school at Florida so she applied to medical school and was accepted by the University of Kentucky in 1973. Mr. Dr. Piziak took a position at Centre College in Danville Kentucky where he remained 8 years while his wife completed all her training to become a sub specialist in Endocrinology. In 1981, she took a position at Scott and White Hospital and Clinic in Temple, Texas. Mr. Dr. Piziak took a temporary position at Baylor. He stayed a lecturer for several years but eventually was put on tenure track and worked his way through the ranks to become a tenured full professor. He served as interim department chair for two and a half years after Ed Oxford stepped down. He retired from teaching June 1, 2008. He hopes to continue to be active in the life of the department.
Dr. Piziak was introduced to functional analysis as a graduate student by Dr. D. J. Foulis. The focus was on Hilbert space theory with a view towards the foundations of quantum mechanics. This entailed learning the theory of orthomodular lattices and more general ordered structures. His thesis looked at Hilbert space from an algebraic viewpoint and he generalized a number of theorems in a more algebraic context. More recently, under the influence of Dr. Pat Odell, he became interested in matrix theory. This led to a coauthored book, Matrix Theory: from generalized inverses to Jordan form published by Chapman &Hall/CRC in 2007. Dr. Piziak continues his writing on matrix theory.