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In Memory of Krzysztof P. Wojciechowski (1953 - 2008)
Krzysztof P. Wojciechowski was born in Szczecin, Poland in 1953.
Dr. Krzysztof Przemys.aw Wojciechowski, Professor of Mathematical Sciences, was born in Szczecin, Poland on October 15, 1953. From an early age he displayed a great affinity for learning; reading in his youth numerous books on travel, history, mathematics, and many other subjects, all at an astounding pace. One book he encountered was a training manual written by a professional body builder which led to a lifelong passion for exercise and, in particular, for judo. This passion slowly transformed a scrawny Krzysztof, often picked on as a child, into an imposing athlete; his dedicated training culminating in a first place victory at the World Master Athlete Judo Championships (for over 45 year olds) in the summer of 1999 in Welland, Canada.
After finishing high school in Szczecin, Krzysztof moved to Pozna., about 150 miles to the southwest, for his undergraduate studies. There his love of mathematics, as well as of judo, deepened and he met his future wife El.bieta who shared his pursuits. Their daughter, Agnieszka, was born in January of 1978 while Krzysztof was serving a mandatory term in the Polish army. Shortly thereafter, the family relocated to Warsaw where Krzysztof began his graduate studies at the University of Warsaw.
In Warsaw, Krzysztof found his main mathematical interests to be in differential geometry, topology, and analysis; in particular, the mathematics involved in and inspired by the Atiyah-Singer index theorem. Krzysztof and Elzbieta's son, Radoslaw, was born in January of 1980 while Krzysztof worked on his dissertation under advisor, Bogdan Bojarski. Around this time, Krzysztof began his collaboration with Bernhelm Boo?-Bavnbek at Roskilde University in Denmark. The relationship would last and they jointly authored many papers and the book "Elliptic Boundary Problems for Dirac Operatorsi", published in 1993 and now a standard reference for the index theory of boundary value problems. He received his Ph.D. in 1982 from the Polish Academy of Sciences.
In the fall of 1987, Krzysztof moved to the United States to accept a visiting position at Stony Brook. His family followed in the winter of 1987, and they remained at Stony Brook until the end of the spring semester of 1988. In the fall of 1988, the family settled in Indianapolis where Krzysztof accepted a visiting position in the IUPUI Department of Mathematical Sciences. He became an Assistant Professor in 1989 and was eventually promoted to Professor of Mathematical Sciences in 2000. Krzysztof was very involved in the department, both in organizing conferences and workshops and in teaching undergraduate and graduate courses. He was very honest and outspoken, never afraid to express an opinion. He remained active in his research; his generosity and enthusiasm for mathematics drawing new collaborators from all over the world. As one co-author phrased it, it was a privilege to see "mathematics being manipulated with the same easy uninhibited joy that one naturally admires when seeing a musician play."
While working on mathematics and judo, Krzysztof traveled extensively, visiting, amongst other places, Korea, Japan, Italy, Columbia, Singapore, and Australia. He was very passionate about literature, politics, movies, the arts, and most of all music which led to a consuming fervor for stereo equipment and the drive to build the "perfect system." No matter what hobby he occupied himself with Krzysztof would develop an encyclopedic knowledge on the subject and pursue it with child-like enthusiasm and joy. But always, he was an extremely loving husband and father, compassionate and generous, never hesitating to give of himself when able.
In the fall of 2004, following what ultimately turned out to be painful trips to Australia and Poland, Krzysztof was diagnosed with stage IV adenocarcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer. The average life expectancy of a patient with this diagnosis is six months to a year and a half. Despite this, Krzysztof lived for nearly four years during which he enjoyed many good times with friends and family. He remained active in the department, teaching several graduate courses and organizing a conference in the spring of 2007. He was also well enough to attend a conference held in his honor in May 2005 near Roskilde, Denmark: "Krzysztof Wojciechowski - 50 Years." As usual, he was the life of the party every night. His courage and determination to continue did not wane even at the end. He died on the afternoon of June 28, 2008 and is missed severely by those who knew him.