# Tom Wolff

Thomas Hartwig Wolff was a noted mathematician, working primarily in the fields of harmonic analysis, complex analysis, and partial differential equations. As an undergraduate at Harvard University he regularly played poker with his classmate Bill Gates. While a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley from 1976 to 1979, under the direction of Donald Sarason, he obtained a new proof of the corona theorem, a famously difficult theorem in complex analysis. He was made Professor of Mathematics at Caltech in 1986, and was there from 1988–1992 and from 1995 to his death in a car accident in 2000. He also held positions at the University of Washington, University of Chicago, New York University, and University of California, Berkeley. He received the Salem Prize in 1985 and the Bôcher Memorial Prize in 1999, for his contributions to analysis and particularly to the Kakeya conjecture.

60 years ago today, Liberty Bell 7 prematurely blew its hatch after splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean. For decades, a myth persisted (largely due to Tom Wolff's "The Right Stuff") that astronaut Gus Grissom panicked and blew the hatch early. Now, new evidence shows static electricity is to blame.