ORONO, Maine — A well-known University of Maine professor and mathematician will be laid to rest during a ceremony on Tuesday.
Henry Pogorzelski, a professor and founder of the Research Institute for Mathematics, died Dec. 30, 2015, at a Bangor hospital. The 93-year-old was better known by students and colleagues as “Pogo.”
Pogorzelski spent 42 years as a member of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. He left the university in 2011 at age 88.
A celebration of his life will be held noon Tuesday, May 17, at the Research Institute for Mathematics at 383 College Ave. in Orono. A graveside service will follow.
Pogorzelski, a New Jersey native, served in the U.S. Army during World War II.
He earned a doctorate at the City University of New York in 1969. In 1986, he started the Research Institute for Mathematics, the vehicle he used to conduct and publicize his research. In the 1990s, the Research Institute for Mathematics became the only entity in the state with authority to grant doctoral degrees in mathematics.
Much of Pogorzelski’s work focused on semiological mathematics and Goldbach’s Conjecture, an unproven mathematical theory that states “at least it seems that every number that is greater than 2 is the sum of three primes.” Pogorzelski claimed to have found a proof, but the amount of work and writing he compiled on the proof was so vast and esoteric that other mathematicians weren’t capable of verifying it, Pogorzelski told the Bangor Daily News in 1988.
He was known for his obsession with the problem, and his eccentric, dogged efforts to find an answer and convince others to accept it.
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