I’ve only known Paul Halmos for 50 years, but of course I knew about him before we met. In those days, before the war (not the Spanish American War) there weren’t many graduate students in mathematics, the American Mathematical Society meetings were much smaller affairs than nowadays, and younger mathematicians almost always stayed in the dormitories of the University where the meeting was held. We all gawked at the famous mathematicians attending the meeting (have you ever wondered what Sierpinski looked like, or Caratheodory, or Fubini?), and we gossiped and ate and drank beer together. So I knew that Joe Doob’s student Paul Halmos was one of the 90 or so people in the U.S. to receive Ph.D. degrees in mathematics in 1939.
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