Csörgő, Sándor

Sándor Csörgő, 1947-2008


We inform you with deep sorrow that our distinguished colleague, Professor Sándor Csörgő passed away on February 14, 2008. To treasure his memory we created this web page.

On March 15, 2008, Professor Sándor Csörgő posthumously received the prestigious Széchenyi Prize. The Széchenyi Prize is the highest honour awarded to researchers by the Government of the Republic of Hungary; it is usually presented by the President, the Prime Minister and Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament on the 15th of March national holiday.

Sándor Csörgő, 1947-2008

Sándor Csörgő, professor of the University of Szeged and preeminent mathematician in the fields of probability and statistics, passed away on Thursday, February 14, 2008 at the age of sixty one. His untimely death is a tragic loss to the university and the Hungarian mathematical community.

Sándor Csörgő was born in Egerfarmos, Hungary on July 16, 1947. He graduated from high school in the city of Eger and went to study mathematics at the University of Szeged where he earned his university diploma. His scientific career is closely linked to the Bolyai Insitute. He became an assistant in 1970, teaching assistant in 1972, assistant professor in 1975, and associate professor in 1978. He was appointed a full professor at the Bolyai Institute in 1987. He completed his doctorate under the scientific guidance of professor Károly Tandori in 1972 with professor Béla Szőkefalvi-Nagy also on his examination committee. He obtained his candidate degree in 1975 at the Kijev State University under the supervision of A. V. Skorohod. He earned the Doctor of Science degree in 1984. Professor Csörgő's research interests covered every major area of probability theory and mathematical statistics. He opened several new fields of research; his work in the theory of limit theorems is his most lasting mathematical legacy. He is the author of one monograph and 163 research articles published in international scientific journals. He was elected a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2001, and a full member in 2007.

There are more than 2,500 citations to works written by Professor Csörgő. He was one of the three most cited Hungarian mathematicians who appeared on the IsIHighlyCited list of the Science Citation Index. This is a very high achievement, especially that only six Hungarian scientists have this honour in all. He was an invited speaker at sixty five international conferences and he gave more than eighty invited seminar talks at various univerisities and research institutes in Hungary and abroad. In the period 1990-1998 he was a professor at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, U.S.A.).

Professor Csörgő was the founder of the stochastics graduate school at Szeged; he was the first to pursue research in probability theory and mathematical statistics at the Bolyai Institute. His school, due to his ground-breaking work, soon won international recognition. As the head of the Stochastics Department of the Bolyai Institute, he designed, developed and maintained all undergraduate and graduate probability and statistics courses at the University of Szeged. Being a dedicated and effective teacher, he had the ability to attract and influence talented students whom he launched early on a successful scientific career. Six of his studens won prizes at the Hungarian National Scientific Students' Associations Conferences. Four university doctorates, one candidate degree and four PhDs were earned under his supervision.

Professor Csörgő was a prominent and active member of the mathematical community. He was a member of the editorial boards of several international journals and he regularly served as a referee of manuscripts and doctoral dissertations. He sat on a number of university and national mathematical education committees. He has been the vice president of the Section of Mathematics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences since 2005.

For his distinguished scientific and educational achievements, he was awarded the Rényi Kató Memorial Prize in 1970, the Grünwald Géza Memorial Prize in 1974, the Erdős Pál Mathematical Award in 1986, the Award of the Academy in 1999, the Szele Tibor Memorial Prize in 2004, the Master Professor Award of the Hungarian National Conference of Scientific Students' Associations in 2005, and the Szent-Györgyi Albert Prize in 2005. In 2007 he was awarded the Grand Prize of the Foundation for Szeged.

His untimely death ended a bright scientific career. He was full of plans until the very end, he continued working with his graduate students even when he became gravely ill. Sadly, his monograph on the St. Petersburg paradox will remain unfinished. His lively personality, good humour and his unfailing sense of justice will be sorely missed at the Bolyai Institute. Although his outstanding mathematical legacy will remain with us, his death is a great loss to the Institute and the whole mathematical community.

A funeral service was held according to the Catholic rite on Friday, February 29, 2008 at 1 p.m. in the Újszeged cemetery (Szőregi út 85, Szeged).

Bolyai Institute, University of Szeged


Farewell Speech by Professor László Kérchy, Head of the Bolyai Institute

On behalf of the Bolyai Institute I wish to say farewell to Professor Sándor Csörgő, Chair of the Department of Stochastics, a distinguished researcher and teacher of probability and mathematical statistics.

He was born in the small village of Egerfarmos in Heves County, where he received part of his elementary education in a one-room school. During his high school years in the nearby city of Eger, Sándor was interested in every subject equally as he was not committed to mathematics yet; that was also the time when he acquired his excellent English knowledge. Inspired by his fifteen years older brother Miklós, an economist turned mathematician who emigrated to Canada in 1956, Sándor entered the József Attila University in Szeged to become a mathematics and physics teacher. Later, in his sophomore year, he changed to mathematics major completely. He was awed by the trio of professors: László Rédei, László Kalmár and Béla Szőkefalvi-Nagy, known later as the second triumvirate of the institute; and he was profoundly influenced by Professor Károly Tandori who eventually became his mentor.

His first papers, written during his student years, were inspired by the stochastics problems posed by his brother Miklós. Thus he committed himself to the mathematical theory of random phenomena, also known as stochastics. This turned out to be an excellent choice, since no one had been doing research in this important subject in the Bolyai Instutite before. In 1972 he earned his university doctorate and, surmounting all the difficulties placed in his way by administrators of the soviet empire, he left for Kiev to pursue his postgraduate studies. In Kiev, his supervisor was the renowned Anatoli Vladimirovich Skorohod, a distinguished probabilist whom Sándor held in high esteem not only for his scientific qualities but also for his personal integrity and his moral stand against the soviet sytem. Sándor also proved his moral character when he withstood the pressure put on him by the authorities who tried to enlist him as a secret agent using his trip to England as a pretext. His harrassment stopped only after one of the influential professors of the Institute had interceded on his behalf.

After obtaining his Candidate degree in 1975, he returned to the Bolyai Institute, which he considered a calm and safe haven in a troubled world and where he felt inspired and also obliged by the excellence of his predecessors. He worked with high intensity and with great enthusiasm producing a steady flow of influential papers that won him international recognition. He rose steadily in the university ranks and was appointed a full professor in 1987.

In the 1980s, he was caught up in the exodus of researchers from Eastern Europe. After brief visits to other universities, in 1989 he accepted a full professorship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he and his family spent the next almost ten years. In Ann Arbor, he was a successful professor surrounded by graduate students; his wife, Zsuzsi, found a highly regarded job, and his children, Zsuzsa and Bálint, also adapted well to the new environment. In spite of these successes, he decided to return to Hungary beacuse he considered Szeged and the Bolyai Institute his true home, and because he did not want his children to be severed from their Hungarian roots.

After his return to Szeged, he started the reform of the stochastics/probability curriculum with great impetus while maintining his research activities at the same high level as before. For his distinguished scientific achivements, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences elected him a corresponding member in 2001 and a full member in 2007. His scientific excellence and charisma attracted many students who, under his supervision, won all existing Hungarian prizes and fellowships. In the end, it saddened him much that he was unable to continue fostering his youngest graduate students who still needed his support, and that he was unable to finish his book on the resolution of the St. Petersburg paradox, one of the oldest problems in the theory of probability. He still wanted to think about one or two of his favourite problems to attempt once more to find their soultions as old age was drawing near. Sadly, this chance was not granted to him. However, what he has completed is a great achievement of both Hungarian and international stochastic researches. His reputation and recognition are also reflected in the the large number of citations his works received and the numerous scientific papers submitted to the journal Acta Scientiarum Mathematicarum in honour of his sixtieth birthday. The fact that today the Bolyai Institute is continued to be held in high regard as a centre of the mathematical sciences is also due to his work and achievements.

His death is not only a loss of a great probabilist but also of a Renaissance man with a wide intellectual horizon and the most colourful personality of our institute. His presence will be sorely missed; it is very painful to accept that we will never see him again walking down our corridors with brisk strides and, despite a heavy workload awaiting him, stopping to have a friendly chat.

Dear Professor Csörgő, dear Sándor, farewell. May you rest in peace.

(Translated to English by Ferenc Fodor)

Dear Laszlo,

this a very sad news. I have known Sandor since 1984 and always admired him as an exceptional scholar and human being. His moral standards were extraordinarily high and he never hesitated to speak up when he believed the cause was just, no matter how unpopular. He was also a great friend of Poland and many Polish mathematicians. T. Ledwina, T. Inglot, A. Weron, J, Koronacki, Z. Rychlik and D. Szynal expressed their grief and a sense of great loss on learning about his death.

He will be remembered and missed.

Jan Mielniczuk

Professor Laszlo Kerchy
Department of Mathematics
University of Szeged

Dear Professor Kerchy:

I am very saddened by the news that Sandor passed away. I will send a card and a note to his wife Zsuzsi. I viewed Sandor as a dear friend. He was a constant source of inspiration I am very proud to have published a paper with him several years ago and I am also very proud to have a paper in the special volume of your journal Acta Scientiarum Mathematicarum (Szeged) dedicated to him on the occasion of his 60th birthday. Sandor strongly supported my professional development even though it is clear that I do not come close to being in his league. The entire probability/statistics community has lost a good friend and a distinguished leader. Over the past year I showed many of my colleagues the article by Sandor describing his experiences in the the U.S.S.R. when he went there in the 1970's to work with Professor Skorokhod. All who read it were deeply impressed.


Andrew Rosalsky
Department of Statistics
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611

Dear Professor Kerchy,

Colleagues and friends of the Department of Mathematics, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Poland, have learned with deepest sorrow of the death of Professor Sandor Csorgo - a great scientist and a wonderful man, who has served your institution faithfully for many years.

We wish to extend to you our sincere sympathy knowing the sorrow you must feel at the loss of such an eminent scientist.

Please convey also our sincere condolences to his family,

Yours sincerely,
Zdzislaw Rychlik
Eligiusz Zlotkiewicz


Dear Laszlo,

It was with considerable sadness that I learned, last weekend, of Sandor's death. I greatly admire his research, and I treasure the experiences we shared in the early 1980s, when he visited Australia for a period of about six weeks. (I think it was in mid 1980 or 1981.) On one occasion my wife and I drove him to Sydney for a weekend, staying overnight with my father, south of Sydney. We went to the zoo on Saturday, and I remember that it was a lovely, pleasantly cool sunny day. To reach the zoo from the south side of Sydney harbour we caught a ferry, and Sandor enjoyed the ride.

From the ferry wharf we took a bus to the zoo's gates. There, one of the first attractions was the reptile house. I'm far from being an enthusiast for snakes, but I wasn't aware until that point that Sandor was even more concerned about them than I. We could not persuade him to enter that part of the zoo. My father enjoyed Sandor's company, and years later he would ask how Sandor was getting on.

Sandor was the consummate professional, and carefully collected all the reprints and preprints he acquired during his visit to Australia. When it came time to leave he decided that the papers were too valuable to entrust to airline baggage handlers, and that they would have to travel in the cabin with him. So the papers were carefully stacked in a rather large carry-on bag, which he kept with him during check-in procedures at Canberra airport. However, when he walked towards the departure gate, one Qantas's ground staff noticed the sharp angle at which he was leaning, laden down by the very heavy weight on one of his shoulders. She approached him, and tried lift the bag herself; she couldn't. So she persuaded him to check the bag. It arrived safely back in Hungary.

I want to extend my warm regards to Sandor's family, who have the most difficult burden to bear at this time. His colleagues, who like me admire his professional achievements, also greatly value his warmth, sincerity and integrity. Therefore we can particularly appreciate the difficult time that his family is enduring. We can all draw strength from the fondness and happy memories that all those who knew him, around the world, are reliving at this time.

Kind regards

Peter Hall

I wrote three papers with Sandor during his time at the University of Michigan. This was at an early stage in my career and I learned a great deal from him about the process of research. Sandor was a kind and generous man and I am very grateful to him for his support. He was also a great friend colleague and I have many fond memories of working with him at Michigan. Some small recollections:

- Sandor wrote his papers in plain TeX. He was very meticulous in his preparation of articles and spent much time in making sure that the appearance of the paper was exactly right.

- Sandor never drove a car in Michigan. He liked American football and the New Yorker magazine. He didn't like barbers - he had his hair cut very short once a year every spring. You could tell the time of year by the length of his hair.

- Sandor was very good at talking. It was always interesting conversation but it was a mistake to go see him if you were in a hurry.

Julian Faraway
University of Bath

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the Department of Probability and Statistics at the Insitute of Mathematics and Informatics of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, we express our sincere condolences for the untimely death of Professor Sandor Csorgo. We know him as a famous mathematician and remember his excellent series of lectures delivered during a Summer School on Probability and Statistics held in Varna in 1987. We understand that his death is great loss to your institution and to the whole mathematical community.

Yours sincerely,

Nickolay Yanev, Chair
Elisaveta Pancheva
Ljuben Mutafchiev

Colleagues from the Department of Probability Theory and Mathematical Statistics of the National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv, Ukraine were very sorry to hear of the irretrievable loss of the great mathematician Sandor Csorgo. He remains in our memory as a very nice person as he has always been, since our acquaintance in Kyiv, where he had been studied in Kyiv University under supervision of A.Skorohod. Please accept our most heartfelt and sincerest condolences.

Yuliya Mishura, the Head of the Department of Probability Theory and Mathematical Statistics,
the National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv,

Dear Professor Kerchy,

We are distressed by the sad news from Szeged - Sandor Csorgo's untime death. He did his research in stochastics during 1972-75 in Kyiv under Professor Skorokhod's scientific advision and we had many opportunities to contact him at that remote time. Later on we met him in many conferences on Probability Theory, listened to his talks in this domain, contacted to him in many aspects of human life. In 2005 he sent us his bright and talanted written reminiscence about his entering the postgraduate position at Kyiv University to be published in the booklet devoted to the jubilee of Anatolii Skorokhod ("Meeting a Free Man: a Snapshot of A.V. Skorokhod").

We shall remember him and think of him cordially and with sorrow that we shall not have a chance to contact him any more...

Anatolii Skorokhod, Valerii Buldygin,
Andrey Dorogovtsev, Dmytro Gusak,
Mykola Portenko, Halyna Syta

Kedves Kollégák!

Mély fájdalommal és megrendüléssel értesültünk Csörgő Professzor haláláról. A család tragédiája mellett pótolhatatlan veszteség érte a magyar matematika, a felsőoktatás ügyét. Vigaszul csak az szolgálhat mindannyiunk számára, hogy eredményei révén örökre beírta a nevét az egyetemes tudomány világába, egyetemi oktatóként pedig rengeteg ember szívébe. Kérjük, hogy a család, a Szegedi Tudományegyetem, a Bolyai Intézet, minden kedves szegedi kolléga fogadja az ELTE Numerikus Analízis Tanszékének őszinte együttérzését. Csörgő Professzor halálát személyes veszteségként éljük meg, emlékét megőrizzük.

Simon Péter

Dear Professor Kérchy,

It is with a very heavy heart that I received the news of the untimely death of my good friend Dr. Sándor Csörgő. I am glad to have met and had known Sándor for 36 years.
Sándor Csörgő came to Kiev, Ukraine in 1972. He entered Kiev State University post-graduate program in Probability Theory and Mathematical Statistics. I was his advisor. In 1975 he defended his dissertation and returned to Hungary. However our communication continued. Sándor attended scientific conferences held in former Soviet Union. Later he came to United States of America where he worked as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, so we met again. I have enjoyed our meetings very much. Later Sándor returned to Hungary.
I will sorely miss Sándor as will many of us who knew him. I would like to express my deepest and most sincere condolences to Sándor's family and to all Hungarian mathematical science. Sándor Csörgő passed away, but he lives in our thoughts, ever and ever, and in our hearts. May he rest in peace.

Anatoli Skorokhod

Dear László,

I am deeply saddened to hear the news that we miss a great scholar: Professor Sandor Csörgő. Sándor had been my mentor since I went to University of Michigan for my Ph. D. study in 1997. For the past 12 years, Sándor is always the source of encouragement and inspiration for my academic and personal life. Sándor basically taught me everything: from TeX and LaTeX to the empirical processes and strong approximation theory.

It is very regrettable that I was not able to visit Sándor, since the Chinese Communist Regine refused to renew my passport because I am practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual movement that the Chinese Communist Regine is persecuting. Last June Sándor wrote to me and shared me with his earlier stories. I learnt a man with great

I am very proud that I have a great mentor. I extend my warm regards to Sándor's family.


Wei Biao Wu
The University of Chicago
5734 S. University Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637, Tel 773 702 0958

Tisztelt Bolyai Intézet!


Nagy megrendültséggel értesültünk Dr. Csörgő Sándor akadémikus úr haláláról. Személyében nagyformátumú, kiemelkedő felkészültségű tudóst és tanárt veszítettünk el.
Professzor úr személyében mi is gyászoljuk egykori nagyra becsült tanárunkat.
Engedjék meg, hogy magam és munkatársaim nevében kifejezzem intézetünk őszinte, mély és együttérző részvétét.
Kérjük a Mindenhatót, hogy a fájdalom könnyeit törölje le arcunkról, s tudjuk Őt megköszönni, hogy velünk volt, hogy barátunk és társunk lett, s tanítása nyomán mi magunk is többek lehettünk.

Tisztelettel és együttérző részvéttel munkatársaink nevében is.

Szombathely, 2008. február 25.

Dr. Péntek Kálmán PhD
intézetigazgató főiskolai tanár

Dr. Gyönye Zsuzsanna PhD
főiskolai docens

Dr. Németh István PhD
főiskolai docens

Nyugat-magyarországi Egyetem
Savaria Egyetemi Központ
Matematika és Fizikai Intézet


SZTE TTIK Matematikai Tanszékcsoport - Bolyai Intézet
Prof. Dr. Kérchy László egyetemi tanár, tanszékcsoport-vezető

Tisztelt Professzor Úr!

Mély megrendüléssel értesültem Prof. Dr. Csörgő Sándor akadémikus úr, tanítványainak megbecsült tanára, az iskolateremtő tudós megrendítő haláláról. Akadémikus úr halálával komoly veszteség érte mind a hazai felsőoktatást, mind a tudományos életet.

Fogadja mély együttérzésünket magam és az Egyetem vezetősége nevében. Akadémikus úr emlékét, szellemi hagyatékát kegyelettel megőrizzük.

Szeged, 2008. február 20.


Szabó Gábor
az SZTE rektora

I will miss Sandor greatly, as will my wife and three daughters, who got to know him when Sandor, with his family, spent some time in Chapel Hill. For me, it has been nearly two decades of professional, collegial, and personal relationship.

While I greatly value my professional activity with Sandor, I shall continue to remember and value the personal contact with his family: his wife, Zsuzsi, and his daughter and son, little Zsuzsi and Balint, respectively. The hundreds of email messages that I have received from Sandor over the years are richly sprinkled with comments from Sandor about his family members. He was very proud of them, and shared this part of his life with his colleagues.

In a personal note to me, his wife Zsuzsi wrote, "He was full of life and hope up until the last day." Indeed, that was the way he lived his life -- every day!

Gordon Simons

I would like to add my comments, in the sad passing of Sandor....

I had the great pleasure in knowing Sandor Csorgo. It was an honor to work in the same area of mathematics, even though my work couldn't compare to his. I took immense pride in showing everyone I could, his joint paper with Gordon Simons in which they cited several of mine. We both shared a fascination with the St. Petersburg Game. I was trying to push Sandor into organizing a conference, hopefully in St. Petersburg on the three-hundredth anniversary of its origin. Now, if there is such a conference it won't be the same without Sandor. I will miss him.

Andre Adler
Illinois Institute of Technology
Department of Mathematics
10 West 32 Street
Chicago, IL 60616

Dear Laszlo,

My friendship with Sándor arrived at a crucial period in my life as if by an act of God. He and his wife, Zsuzsi, were extraordinarily kind and welcoming to me and my former wife when we came to Szeged in the summer of 1983 and stayed for six months. My close collaboration with Sándor began then and it fundamentally changed both of our mathematical lives.

During that stay, while working also with his brother Miklós and his student Lajos Horváth, we came up with a weighted approximation to the uniform empirical and quantile processes by a sequence of Brownian bridges, which has since proved to have wide ranging applications in mathematical statistics and classical probability. Sándor told me that in recent years he had begun to refer to it in his lectures as the Szeged Approximation.

Sándor and I first met at a conference in Veszprém in 1982. I visited him in Szeged on 6 separate occasions: 1983-84, 1985, 1986, 1989 supported by a Fulbright Grant, 2005 and finally in June 2007 to participate in his 60th birthday conference. I spent at least 10 months total working with him in Hungary. We also were together at numerous conference, workshop and university venues in Europe and North America: Szeged, Debrecen and Pecs, Hungary; Berlin, Munich and Oberwolfach, Germany; Bad Tatzmannsdorf and Vienna, Austria; Paris, France; Leiden, Netherlands; Leuven, Belgium; Vilnius, Lithuania; Ottawa, On; Newark, DE, Boston, MA, Baltimore, MD, and Chapel Hill, NC.

In the 10 year period from 1985 to 1994 we published 19 joint papers. Our collaboration placed us both firmly on the mathematical statistics/probability landscape in Europe.

My friendship with Sándor greatly enriched my life. Among other important lessons, he taught me the civilization of mathematics and the art of writing research papers.

Sándor was an academic of the kind that one does not encounter often in the United States. He conducted himself as a standard bearer and keeper of high culture. For instance, very early on in our friendship he introduced me to the wealth of Hungarian history, music, literature and art. I believe that one of the main motives behind his decision to give up a highly paid professorship in the USA and return to Szeged was that he felt that his proper place was in Europe and his duty was to contribute to the future of Hungary-not only mathematical.

I was grateful to be able to join those many others that met in Szeged to pay their respects to Sándor's memory at his funeral. His departure leaves an immense gap in my life.

With kind regards, David Mason

Dear Professor Kerchy,

Even though we all knew that Sándor's chances of recovery were diminishing, it still came as a shock when he passed away. I have known Sándor for over 25 years and we spent time together in many different places in the world. We both liked a good chat, so when we spent a semester in Chapel Hill in adjoining offices, most problems of this world got thoroughly discussed. Sándor had a great sense of humor, but he would be serious when serious matters were concerned. He was a mathematician with excellent taste, and also a cultured person. He was a great help in publishing the Annals of Statistics in the late nineteen eighties. I am proud to have known this charming and wise man, and saddened that he is no longer with us.


Willem van Zwet
Leiden, the Netherlands

I am very sad to learn today from David Mason that Sandor Csorgo has left us. I think of him as the charming young guy who visited us at UBC in Vancouver, it must have been in the '70's. I picked him up at the airport leaving my car in a very temporary metered spot. He insisted in putting on his sweater before leaving the terminal, thinking Vancouver was cold. Well, I got a parking ticket because of those few minutes, and I was not very pleased. But Sandor was a lively and interesting visitor. Later he was a big contributor of results at meetings of the stochastics bunch in Canada. It is hard to believe that this wonderful young probabilist is gone so soon.

Cindy Greenwood

Dear Professor Kerchy,
I am very sadened by the death of Professor Sandor Csorgo. He was both a wonderful mathematician and human being. I met him at the MSRI at Berkeley. I will never forget his friendly, energetic personality. I am very sorry to hear about his untimely death. I will miss him. He was an outstanding mathematician and a great colleague.

Sincerely yours,
Miguel A, Arcones
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Binghamton University
Binghamton, NY 13902

Dear Professor Kerchy,

With deep sorrow and sadness I learned about Sandor Csorgo's recent and untimely death. Although I had heard that he was suffering from a serious illness, I was shocked to hear that he passed away so soon. I got to know Sandor via his brother Miklos, with whom I spent a postdoc year at Carleton University, Ottawa. The first time I met Sandor was at the 1982 Vezprem conference on "Limit Theorems in Probability and Statistics", where he not only impressed me by his simultaneous translation of Skorokhod's invited lecture from Russian into English, by also by his great personality and deep knowledge of probability and statistics in a very broad sense. We definitely lost a great scientist and a good friend. I feel deeply sorrow for his family, his wife Zsuzsi and his children Zsuzsa and Balint, and also for Miklos and his family. I am sure that Sandor will remain with us, in his comprehensive scientific work and in our vivid memories.

Josef Steinebach

Dear Professor Kerchy,

I am very sad about the death of Sándor Csörgö. I have known him for almost 20 years. He helped me a lot when I started out my career by writing numerous letters of support for me. It was always stimulating to meet him at conferences and I benefitted a lot from his exceptional memory by getting references etc Even if one did not speak about mathematics with him, one could learn a lot from him about history, literature and even sport. He told us many interesting stories like the one when he was travelling in the Paris metro and a pillow was stolen which was supposed to be the present for his host. I am glad that I was able to attend the conference last year in Szeged which was in honor of his 60th birthday. Even though he already knew about his illness at that time, he was an exceptional host during that conference.

As many other colleagues have expressed, we will remember him as an
excellent mathematician and a most pleasant person.

Uwe Einmahl, Free University of Brussels, Belgium

Dear Professor Kerchy,

I am very sad to learn about Sandor's serious illness and his untimely death.

I first met Sandor in the spring of 1984 at Oberwolfach. We have been in professional contact ever since. What means more to me than having had the opportunity to write papers with such an eminent mathematician is to have known such a truly outstanding person.

I will never forget my visits to Szeged in the late eighties when Sandor showed me the treasures of your library, among them the beautifully handwritten lecture notes of Alfred Haar.

When Sandor came to Giessen in the middle of the nineties he put certain things into perspective here during a hallway conversation by telling one of the local big shots, "The problem with you German professors is that you think that you are all little Hilberts, and none of you really is." I don't think I ever enjoyed a professional conversation more than that one.

The best epitaph I know is this quotation from Hamlet, "He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again". It surely applies to Sandor.

Sincerely yours,

Erich Haeusler

I am shocked by the sad news about our colleague Sándor Csörgő and I would like to express my sincere condolences to his wife and children. Sándor an I have about the same age and we knew each other from the beginning of our careers. Our first meeting must have been in 1977 in the former Soviet Union at the occasion of the Second Vilnius Conference. Since then we were always delighted to see each other again at numerous conferences all over Europe and also in the US. His work on empirical processes, quantile processes, censored data still has a great influence on my own work and I have always admired him for his mathematical talent and his open mind and humor in sharing this with me and so many other colleagues. A truly great personality!

Noël Veraverbeke
Universiteit Hasselt, Belgium

It was with great sadness that I learned that Sándor Csörgő has passed away. I remember the happy days Sándor spent at Carleton University. It was a great privilege to get to know him and experience at first hand his warm and energetic personality and wonderful lectures. Sándor made deep and important contributions to probability and statistics which have inspired many people around the world. It is tragic that his life was cut short at such a young age. My deep condolences to his family and colleagues.

Donald Dawson
Carleton University

Kedves Miklós!

I have just been informed of the most terrible news. It is on such occasions I fully realize how precious a friend is, and how poor the words can be to express what one feels.

I remember meeting Sándor for the first time in Ottawa in 1997 (at ICAMPS'97), where we had some long discussions about whether Paul Lévy was as an important mathematician as Kolmogorov - we did not share the same opinion at that time. Later on, we met on many occasions, mostly in Hungary. At a conference in Eger (it was in 2001 I believe) of which Sándor was in the organizing committee, we celebrated his election as an academician. On the same occasion, I discovered with surprise that Sándor's papers were cited by people from all kinds of horizons, and not even necessarily within the mathematical community. I will always keep in mind of the time when Hungary joined the European Community: it was on May 1st 2004, accompanied with a message by Sándor reciting Schiller's Ode to Joy. He will be missed and remembered by all of us who have had the chance of knowing him.

With best wishes,
Zhan Shi

Dear Miklós,

this is the saddest news. Indeed, I have not known yet about this. Please take my deep feelings of regret and feeling with you. Sándor was a wonderful colleague, a great scientist and a dear and sincere friend. I will definitely miss him, not only for his deep and always fair reports he has written as AE of METRIKA.

Ursula Gather

Dear Professor Kerchy,

it is with great sadness that I learnt that Professor Sándor Csörgő has passed away. Sándor was one of the great probabilists and mathematical statisticians of our time; his untimely death is a terrible loss to the mathematical community in Hungary, and indeed in the entire world.

I met Sándor for the first time in 1982 during the Veszprem conference, and I still vividly remember his brilliant performance as translator of Professor Skorohod's talk. Since that time, we have met at many conferences all over the world. Sándor's talks were highlights of every meeting, both for his deep mathematical insight as well as for his entertaining way of communication.

Sándor and I shared a special interest in the life and work of Daniel Bernoulli (1700 - 1782). Sándor's interest arose through his scholarly work on the St. Petersburg problem, to which Daniel Bernoulli had contributed in the early 18th century. My interest was local history, as Daniel Bernoulli was born in the town of Groningen, where I lived for many years. Sándor enjoyed my activities as lobbyist for a plaquette on Bernoulli's birthplace, which was finally unveiled in the year 2000 on the occasion of Daniel's 300th birthday.

I greatly admired the mathematical creativity and power of Sándor Csörgő. But at least as much as for that, I will always remember Sándor for his stimulating enthusiasm, his gentle sense of humor, his positive attitude towards the work of others and for his most generous support for younger colleagues.

Sincerely yours,
Herold Dehling

Dear Miklós,

I have only just now found out - from the ISI Newsletter - that Sándor passed away in February, and I am extremely sad to hear it. It seems like no time since the Gini-Lorenz conference in September 2006, and he seemed well then; I was very glad to talk with him at some length and will treasure that memory (I'm very grateful to you for inviting me). Sándor was nearly four years younger than me and was far too young to leave this world. It's a very great shame, as he had so much more to give. Our main point of contact was common interest in the Lorenz-Gini area. He was always very kind about my own contribution there, and I was glad to have provided some sort of impetus for his extensive and authoritative work in that direction. Though younger, Sándor was a role model to me in that his enthusiasm, energy, enjoyment and commitment were all qualities I felt impelled by his example to emulate. During the Carleton meeting I asked him about growing up in Hungary in what was one of the most repressive of the Soviet satellite regimes, and I heard from him a partial account of what it was like; it's clear he overcame huge obstacles.

You will have lost a younger brother whom you would have expected to outlive you, given the age gap, so his passing must leave a huge gap, and I extend my sympathy to you and to others in the family.

My very best wishes,
Charles M. Goldie.

Dear Miklós,

I followed the last stages of your brother's illness and learned of his untimely death. The truncation of such a rich and intense life filled me with sorrow. And more because he was a dear friend and a very good probabilist.

We had corresponded on probability issues, had had very good times smoking cigars together and had refereed each others papers. We had talked about math, life, politics. I will always remember him.

Somehow, I neglected sending you my condolences, and I wish to redress this neglect with this email. I accompany you in your sorrow and sense of loss.

Kind regards,

Evarist Giné

Dear Zsuzsi,

Please accept my sincere condolences. My thoughts are with you and with Sándor. I will always remember him, and I will remember in particular the last time I saw him (and first time I saw you) at Oberwolfach three or four years ago. He was a very good person, full of life, and a very good probabilist. He will be missed by the whole probability community.

Truly yours,

Evarist Giné

Dear Professor Kérchy,

Members of the University of Michigan community and former students remember Professor Csörgő as being among the finest of scholars, educators, and friends. He set a great example and a high standard toward which we all aspired. We were inspired by the depth of Professor Csörgő's passion, impressed by the breadth of his knowledge, and touched by the humanity of his friendship. Always rigorous, always intense, and always patient, Professor Csörgő influenced and contributed tremendously to our education and development. For me, he was the best teacher that I ever had.

My condolences go out to Professor Csörgő's family and friends. The world has lost a great man.

Chris Proulx
Department of Economics
University of Michigan

Tisztelt Bolyai Intézet!

Csörgő professzor úr tanítványa voltam egyetemista koromban, néhány évvel ezelőtt. Mély fájdalommal értesültem haláláról. Engedjék meg, hogy késve ugyan, de kifejezzem részvétem Önök felé. Egyik legkedvesebb tanárom volt egyetemi pályafutásom alatt. Előadásain nagyon sokat kaptam tudásból és a kapcsolódó matematikatörténelemből, stílusa számomra utánozhatatlan és feledhetetlen, élvezet volt hallgatni. Az órák után rendszeresen kapható volt egy kis kötetlen beszélgetésre, ezeket szintén sosem fogom elfeledni. Emlékeimben örökké él majd, embersége és hatalmas tudása miatt igazi példakép minden korábbi hallgatója számára.


Demeter László
(matematikus, egykori SZTE hallgató)

We were former students in the University of Michigan and Professor Csörgő was our teach on Probability and Measures. Even the material of this class is challenging, Prof. Csörgő made the class scripts into music notes and he played the song for us. He did not only talk about mathematics, but also combined his knowledge in philosophy and literature to tell stories for each theorem. After many time of relocation and so many years of working in applied fields, we carefully preserved Prof. Csörgő's extremely elegant hand written notes. It reminds us the days that we enjoyed so much in the world of probability.

Probability is only one of the things Prof. Csörgő cared about. He cared about his student's feeling and never reserved his energy in helping out in their difficult times. When Hong was sick for a period of time, he recorded his lecture using a mini-cassette for her and also added additional comments in his notes to help her. His decency as a professional and a human being is a legacy to us and encouraged us to get things done right.

This is a late note, but we don't think Prof. Csörgő would mind as the time we are late for homework, especially knowing this will set peace in our mind.

Guoxing Soon and Hong Lu


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