Who am I?

It seems to be the norm to add a few words on one's web page giving a mini-biographical sketch of one's self... So here goes:

It all began in the dying days of winter, 1951 - I was born ...
Skipping over the tedious years of child- (and teen-) hood, we get to the beginning of my adult career as an academic: I spent 4 years at McGill doing a B.Sc. (with honours in maths). Professionally speaking, the main themes of my future work were laid down during those years, especially as it was then that I was first introduced to Category Theory (by Michael Barr) and Categorical Proof Theory (by Jim Lambek). One of my greatest recent professional pleasures has been to co-edit festschrift volumes for distinguished friends/collegues (Barr, Lambek, and most recently, Mihály Makkai).
Sadly, Jim Lambek died in 2014; a Tribute essay appeared in the Bulletin of the CRM, Spring 2015 issue.

I then spent 5 years in Cambridge (England), with a year in the middle as a visitor at l'Université de Montréal. (One of the odder events of my time in Cambridge was being goaltender for the Cambridge University Ice Hockey Team for two years. You can find me in the alumni list for 1973 and 1974. We did not win very often then...) (BUT we have won at times!)
In addition to working with my thesis supervisor, Adrian Mathias, I learnt a lot from Gonzalo Reyes (at Université de Montréal) and Dana Scott (at Oxford) - together with Michael Barr and Jim Lambek (McGill), I regard these as my primary teachers, to whom I am grateful for my education, and from whom I inherited a rich genealogical heritage. (Or check out the"official" genealogy chart with only Adrian Mathias' ancestors.) (Look for some "familiar" names, such as (in no particular order): Agricola, Oresme, à Kempis, Erasmus, Cramner, Barrow, Newton, Copernicus, Leibniz, Boltzmann, Bernoulli (several!), Kant, Wolff, Mersenne, Euler, Galileo, de Roberval, Lagrange, Laplace, Hegel, Artin, Whitehead, Quine, Bessel, Huygens, d'Alembert, Gauß, Conway, Church, Moore, Littlewood, Poisson, and many more.)

I eventually managed to complete my Ph.D. at Cambridge, with a thesis on some topics in Categorical Proof Theory. (This has been published as two of my earliest [nos 1 and 3] publications.) After that, I returned to McGill, for 2 years as a post-doc, before settling down to teaching at a college on the western extremity of the Island of Montreal (John Abbott College), as well as continuing research in pure mathematics as an Adjunct Professor (aka Research Associate, a pure-research non-teaching position) at McGill. (There are links to relevant things connected with these activities on my web page.)
I retired from John Abbott in the summer 2020 (a COVID retirement!).

In my personal life, I am married to an avid quilter (many of her quilts are illustrated on my web page); we have two adult offspring, with whom we share interests in music, reading, science and detective fiction, and good films of several genres (including romantic and "screwball" comedies, British films from the "classic era", and comedies of manners). I am also a Beatles fan, as will be apparent from my home page. One of my minor boasts is that I was able to attend the first of their (only) two concerts in Montreal. Only concerts by (the late) David Munrow had a greater influence on my musical development. In recent years I have also finally discovered jazz, especially the music of Bill Evans.

Return to RAGS web page


Early in 2001, the Chronicle, a West Island (of Montreal) newspaper, did a brief photo feature on me, of which a facsimile may be found here.
In the autumn of 2004, the Westmount Times did a profile of Lis.   She retired in 2018
I'm a long-time cat lover, and over the years some of the cats who've shared our living quarters have also joined in with some of my professional interests, especially where they have overlapped with their own (usually r'n'r and nutrition). So the late Mug helped with a population growth assignment given to my calculus students; more recently, our (now also late) cat Dusty developed an interest in logic, which he shared with his friends on Facebook.