As you know, one of the reasons for this conference is that Paul Bateman is having a very important birthday this year. Now Paul is very modest - and he really didn't want a lot of fuss made over it. But it's an important occasion. This is, after all, only the second time in his life -- that his age has been of the form p1^4*p2.
Paul, I have a few pieces of wisdom and advice for you to think about as the years go by.
Forget about the past -- because you can't change it.
Forget about the future -- because you can't predict it.
And forget about the present - because I didn't get you one.
Next, always remember what W C Fields said:
"Start every day with a smile --- and get it over with."
Also, Paul, "Don't worry about avoiding temptation - at your age temptation will start avoiding you."
And don't tell your computer when your birthday is because it will tell you that you need an upgrade.
Finally, remember this one about great men and their fates: "What did George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Christopher Columbus have in common?" They were all born on holidays.
In 1958, shortly after the last Ice Age, I got my PhD degree from Columbia, and was hired by the University of Illinois. Ruth and I took the overnight train to get out here and look the place over. I remember that Mahlon Day, then the Chairman, when he met us at the station, insisted on carrying our bags for us. I remember Joe Doob greeting me in an Altgeld hallway with "Hi, Herb; I'm Joe." And he did want me to call him Joe, in stark contrast to my graduate student experience, when none of the faculty had any first names at all. Paul Bateman welcomed me to the group in analysis and number theory, and he and Felice and Sally were warm and helpful to us in every imaginable way.
I remember that my ego, which had shriveled to nothing in graduate school as a result of repeated stomping, stirred itself to life as a result of these simple expressions of welcoming and humanity, and their implicit message that I was to be a colleague. I was human at last.
I was privileged to be in a department with the aforementioned and Lee Rubel, Dick Jerrard, Ken Appel, Bob Bartle, Maurice Heins, Howard Osborn, Irv Reiner, Alex Heller, Don Burkholder, and a cast of 60 or so altogether. I was lucky also in that I was one of only two new appointees that year, so people knew who I was.
I heard a story, from reliable sources, about something that happened 11 years before I arrived on the Illinois scene. It seems that in the year 1948, Paul Bateman and Irv Reiner were both hired. But not everybody was happy. One member of the department was heard to say, in a department meeting, "We really scraped the bottom of the barrel this year." The name of the person who made that remark was Dr. Martin Gale, the renowned probabilist.
This was a wonderful community of people and of scholars for me to be in, and Paul was one of the most hospitable and friendly people in it. After I left Illinois, however, I understand that there was the occasional mushroom cloud over Altgeld Hall. I really can't understand that, though, in view of all of the stories that I've heard about his kindness and soft-heartedness while in that job.
For example, I heard that once in the same year, two faculty members both felt that they were underpaid. One went to see Paul and said that he had heavy family expenses; he was told that raises were based strictly on work in the department, and can have no connection with outside circumstances. The other was a bachelor who talked about his work, after which Paul pointed out that because he was unmarried he didn't really need the money. No names this time.
Another time there was a year in which an unusually large number of people applied for sabbaticals. The Dean told Paul that he would have to prune the list, and the Dean suggested some candidates for elimination. The Dean, however, didn't realize that those that he had singled out for elimination were exactly all the applicants who were foreign born. Paul seized on this in his response, and accused the Dean of prejudice against foreigners. The Dean was left with no good escape, and caved in.
So our birthday honoree today is one tough guy. I'm told that when he had his heart surgery ten years ago, he insisted that it be scheduled on Friday the 13th because nobody else would schedule theirs on that date, so he would get the best doctors.
Happy birthday, Paul, and many happy returns.!!