A very good mathematician, and a great guy.
Gareth Ainsworth and David Treeby, both now teaching at Scotch, and both former students of Robert (and me), have emailed quick reminiscences.
This is sad news indeed. I credit Robert with sparking my pursuit of higher level mathematics at university.
Robert was always very generous with his time in helping me with my honours project. Marty, you’ll be appalled to know that the only thing I remember though, was when in the margins of a newspaper he showed me how handheld calculators never perform division.
3 Replies to “Robert Bartnik”
Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time…
He was my lecturer for a subject called topology and integral transforms at Monash University. I wasn’t the strongest student by any stretch, but I always felt like he had time for me. Definitely a great guy.
Rest in peace
Robert’s quasilocal mass work was revolutionary and speaking with him had a huge impact on me personally. He was a true legend.
I had no mathematical interaction with Robert, and only heard him speak on a few precious and sometimes informal occasions. But I still wish to offer, besides my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends, my memory of an occasion at Monash where, in response to somebody having floated the idea of a well-known mathematician – the name does not matter here – be attracted to the department, he pointed in calm words to the importance of what he called a “pyramid” structure in a department in general. I definitely remember Robert’s use of that word, and am confident that he wanted to express that there was no point in trying to have a department purely consisting of megastars, which seemed to be essentially the direction that the (non-mathematician) higher-ups had resolved to take. This is all the more endearing because of Robert’s own eminence, of which I had been aware. The remarks by Robert gave me back a sense of some sanity in an academic environment that was, and would further be, shaken by momentous developments from 2010 on.