Dr. Warren Ambrose, professor emeritus of mathematics, died December 4
in Paris. Services were held in Paris on December 11.
Professor Ambrose, who was 81, retired in 1985 and had lived in Paris
since 1989. While in Massachusetts, he lived in Brookline and Boston.
Professor Ambrose was recognized for his research in differential
geometry, partial differential equations and probability theory. He also
was known for his commitment to political and social causes,
particularly in Argentina and Chile in South America when those
countries were ruled by military regimes.
He came to international attention in the summer of 1966 while a
visiting teacher at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina, when he
was severely beaten along with other faculty members and students by
military police. This occurred shortly after a military regime, which
had taken over the government in a bloodless coup, had ordered a
government takeover of public universities.
On returning to Boston, he denied the Argentine government's contention
that he and other professors had prompted the incident by violating
various governmental decrees. And he told The Boston Globe that he saw
the incident as the forerunner of ominous political developments in
"I think that when a government can beat a group of professors and
students without reason and have no desire to apologize we are
witnessing one of the worst things since Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin,"
Professor Ambrose was born in Virden, IL, in 1914. He received the
bachelor of science degree in 1935, the master's in 1936 and the PhD in
1939, all from the University of Illinois.
From 1938 to 1947 he was associated in various capacities with the
University of Alabama, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton,
NJ, Princeton University, the University of Michigan and Yale
Dr. Ambrose joined the MIT faculty in 1947 as an assistant professor,
became an associate professor in 1950 and full professor in 1957. In
1948-49, on leave from MIT, he returned to the Institute for Advanced
Study as a Guggenheim Fellow.
During the summer of 1948 he taught at the University of Brazil and the
University of Buenos Aires, the first of many foreign teaching
assignments that took him, among other places, to Italy, Belgium and
India. He also was an invited participant in conferences sponsored by
the National Science Foundation at Cornell University and the University
of Washington. He was fluent in Portuguese, Italian and Spanish.
For part of 1954, he conducted research for the US Air Force in Paris
He is survived by his wife, Jeannette (Grillet) Ambrose of Paris, two
children from an earlier marriage, Adam Ambrose of Bisbee, AZ, and Ellen
Ambrose of Laurel, MD, and four grandchildren.
Contributions in his name may be sent to the Alzheimer's Disease
Foundation or to Amnesty International.