Gabriel Stolzenberg died on November 19, 2019 at the age of eighty-two in Watertown, Massachusetts, following a long struggle with a neurological disease. We will be collecting reminiscences for a future memorial and we welcome hearing from you. In the meanwhile, we share this brief obituary here.
Gabriel leaves behind him a loving and beloved wife, Nancy Kopell, two children, Nomi and Daniel Stolzenberg, their spouses, David Myers and Mara Kolesas, and five grandchildren: Tali, Noa, Sara, Milo and Lina. Gabriel Stolzenberg was born in 1937 in Brooklyn to Aba Stolzenberg, a gifted Yiddish poet, and Bluma aka Florence Stolzenberg; he had one sibling, Ethel Stolzenberg Tessman.
He attended Stuyvesant High School until entering Columbia University on a Ford Foundation Scholarship at the age of sixteen. In 1954, he took a year's leave to live on a kibbutz in Israel. He graduated from Columbia in 1958, shortly before marrying his first wife, Judith Levine. After receiving his PhD in mathematics from MIT in 1961, he was Benjamin Pierce Instructor at Harvard and then professor at Brown, and Northeastern Universities, with visiting positions at Berkeley and Paris. He was a renowned mathematician as well as a devoted teacher and pedagogical innovator. He spent the later years of his career exploring the philosophical foundations of mathematics and human knowledge, as an exponent of constructivism.
His commitment to a vision of science based on the values of fairness and civility led him to engage in the “science wars” of the 1990s. Gabriel will be remembered for his playful sense of humor, his love of storytelling, and unique take on the world as well as his brilliant mind and loving heart. He will also be remembered for his exceptional generosity and kindness to those in need.
Donations in his name can be made to Pine Street Inn in Boston.
The family will observe shiva, the Jewish mourning tradition, at the Stolzenberg-Kopell home, 1 Richdale Avenue, Unit 11, Cambridge Massachusetts. Visiting hours will be between the hours of 2:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, and between 6:00 and 8:00 in the evening on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. A brief service will commence each evening at 6:15 PM.
Details regarding the continuation of shiva in California will be shared shortly.