Lawrence T. (“Larry”) Ratner (1923-2000)

Lawrence T. (“Larry”) Ratner received his A.B. and M.A. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1944 and 1945, respectively. He served in the United States Army from 1945 to 1947, leading statistical test sections at Fort Monroe, Virginia, and Fort Baker, California. Following his military service, he returned to UCLA, where he received his Ph.D. in 1949. His dissertation dealt with multi-valued transformations in topological spaces.

Ratner was appointed assistant professor of mathematics at Vanderbilt University in 1949. He was awarded tenure as an associate professor in 1954.

After introducing the subjects of topology and functional analysis to the Vanderbilt mathematics curriculum and directing dissertations in these areas, Ratner turned his attention to earlier interests in probability and statistics. His work extended to studies and courses in stochastic processes, game theory, mathematical models in the social sciences, and actuarial mathematics. Ratner’s contributions to Vanderbilt University included consulting and guest lectures in various academic departments and in the medical school as well as service on departmental, college, and university committees. He was an advisor both to undergraduate and graduate students and served on doctoral committees for the Departments of Economics, Chemistry, Physics, and Electrical Engineering as well as for the Department of Mathematics. He also served as a statistical consultant for various industries and law firms.

He was a participant in colloquia and symposia in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, and collaborated in research with physicists in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He was a member of the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, Sigma Xi, the American Statistical Association, and honorary societies in mathematics and physics.

Ratner died on May 15, 2000.