Biography of Roger C. Lyndon

Roger Lyndon, born on Dec. 18, 1917 in Calais (Maine, USA), entered Harvard University in 1935 with the aim of studying literature and becoming a writer. However, when he discovered that, for him, mathematics required less effort than literature, he switched and graduated from Harvard in 1939.

After completing his Master's Degree in 1941, he taught at Georgia Tech, then returned to Harvard in 1942 and there taught navigation to pilots while, supervised by S. MacLane, he studied for his Ph.D., awarded in 1946 for a thesis entitled The Cohomology Theory of Group Extensions.

Influenced by Tarski, Lyndon was later to work on model theory. Accepting a position at Princeton, Ralph Fox and Reidemeister's visit in 1948 were major influencea on him to work in combinatorial group theory. In 1953 Lyndon left Princeton for a chair at the University of Michigan where he then remained except for visiting professorships at Berkeley, London, Montpellier and Amiens.

Lyndon made numerous major contributions to combinatorial group theory. These included the development of "small cancellation theory", his introduction of "aspherical" presentations of groups and his work on length functions. He died on June 8, 1988.

Biography of Paul E. Schupp

Paul Schupp, born on March 12, 1937 in Cleveland, Ohio was a student of Roger Lyndon's at the Univ. of Michigan. Where he wrote a thesis on "Dehn's Algorithm and the Conjugacy Problem". After a year at the University of Wisconsin he moved to the University of Illinois where he remained. For several years he was also concurrently Visiting Professor at the University Paris VII and a member of the Laboratoire d'Informatique Théorique et Programmation (founded by M. P. Schutzenberger).

Schupp further developed the use of cancellation diagrams in combinatorial group theory, introducing conjugacy diagrams, diagrams on compact surfaces, diagrams over free products with amalgamation and HNN extensions and applications to Artin groups. He then worked with David Muller on connections between group theory and formal language theory and on the theory of finite automata on infinite inputs. His current interest is using geometric methods to investigate the computational complexity of algorithms in combinatorial group theory.