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September 2021
In Memory of Washek Pfeffer

Our colleague Washek Pfeffer passed away on January 3, 2021, at age 84. Václav Frantiček Pfeffer, born in Prague on November 14, 1936, changed his name to Washek Pfeffer on becoming a US citizen in 1970. He joined the UC Davis Department of Mathematics in 1966, retiring in 1994.

Washek exemplifies the ideal of the quirky cosmopolitan intellectual who would be at home at any university, anywhere in the world. One of Washek's middle school classmates who later rose to prominence, Václav Havel, the famous playwright and President of Czechoslovakia (1989-1992) and of the Czech Republic (1993-2003), became a close friend in the 1950s.

Washek's zest for life translated into mathematical productivity: He published over 100 research articles, including one last year. I urge you to take a moment to read Richard Gardner's obituary.