Victor Klee

In 1945, Victor Klee (* 18 September 1925 in San Francisco; † 17 August 2007 in Lakewood, Ohio) received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Pomona College "with high honors" and a "double major'' in mathematics and chemistry. In 1949, he wrote his dissertation on questions of topology and functional analysis at the University of Virginia under Professor McShane, which was later awarded the university's President and Visitors Research Prize.

After his doctorate, Victor Klee remained at the University of Virginia until 1953, interrupted only by a one-year research stay at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

In 1953, he then moved to the University of Washington in Seattle, where he became a full professor in 1957 and taught for a long time despite a large number of calls to other outstanding universities in the USA.

As early as the 1950s, as a fellow of the Sloan Foundation, Victor Klee was concerned with structural statements for convex sets; the resulting work brought him worldwide fame. Never satisfied with single aspects of a problem, his "holistic" approach led to groundbreaking work in a wide variety of fields, including topology and functional analysis, discrete and algorithmic geometry, classical and computational convexity, combinatorics, polyhedral combinatorics and graph theory, mathematical optimisation and operations research, and theoretical computer science.

In his work, which has grown to about 250 publications, he has significantly developed all of these areas.

In addition to his fundamental work in the above areas, Professor Klee has also made significant contributions to questions of mathematical economic theory, the application of mathematical methods in the social sciences and mathematical didactics.

His work testifies to an outstanding mathematical flair; often ahead of his time, Victor Klee laid the foundations for a multitude of new developments within mathematics and its applications.

As early as 1959, he introduced access via Bair categories to convex geometry; in 1964, he researched algorithmic questions of discrete optimisation. In 1965 he published a first paper on the run-time behaviour of the simplex algorithm, one of the most important algorithms in linear opimisation. In 1971, Klee worked on matroids; in 1972, he solved essential questions in design theory, and he was also one of the first to work on algorithmic geometry.

This important leadership role within mathematical research has been recognised by a multitude of honours and awards. In addition to two honorary doctorates, Victor Klee was a laureate of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 1980; he received - also in 1980 - the C.B. Allendörfer Award, in 1988 the David Prescott Barrows Award for Distinguished Achievements and in 1992 the Max Planck Research Award.

Klee's works are widely recognised because mathematical discoveries bear his name. Particular mention should be made here of the Klee-Minty cube of linear optimisation, the Kadec-Kiee theorem of functional analysis and the Doehlert-Kiee designs of combinatorics.

In addition to his actual scientific work, Victor Klee had also rendered outstanding services through great involvement in scientific organisations. He was, among other things, President of the Mathematical Association of America, Associate Secretary of the American Mathematical Society as well as a member of the Council of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics and also of the Advisory Panel for Mathematical Sciences of the National Science Foundation.

By awarding him an honorary doctorate, the Department IV of the University of Trier expresses its respect for a mathematician who has contributed significantly to the development of his field over the last half century, but also its gratitude for the cooperation with the mathematics department.