Andrew Ranicki

Andrew Alexander Ranicki (born Andrzej Aleksander Ranicki; 30 December 1948 – 21 February 2018) was a British mathematician who worked on algebraic topology. He was a professor of mathematics at the University of Edinburgh.

Andrew Ranicki
Andrew Ranicki.jpg
Andrew Ranicki at Oberwolfach in 2006
Born(1948-12-30)30 December 1948
Died21 February 2018(2018-02-21) (aged 69)
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge
Spouse(s)Ida Thompson
Scientific career
InstitutionsTrinity College (Cambridge)
Princeton University
University of Edinburgh
Doctoral advisorsAndrew Casson
John Frank Adams


Ranicki was the only child of the well-known literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki[1] and the artist Teofila Reich-Ranicki; he spoke Polish in his family. Born in London, he lived in Warsaw, in Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg, and attended school in England at the King's School, Canterbury from the age of sixteen.[2][3][4]

Ranicki studied Mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge, and graduated with a BA in 1969.[4] At Cambridge he was a student of topologists Andrew Casson and John Frank Adams.[5] He earned his doctoral degree in 1973 with a thesis on algebraic L-theory. Ranicki received numerous awards and honors for his scientific achievements during his studies. From 1972 to 1977 he was a Fellow of Trinity College.[6]

From 1977 to 1982, he was Assistant Professor at Princeton University. In 1982 he began at the University of Edinburgh as a lecturer; in 1987 he was promoted to Reader. In 1992, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.[7] Since 1995, Ranicki has been the Chair of Algebraic Surgery at the University of Edinburgh.[8] Several times he stayed as a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Bonn, most recently in 2011.[9]

Personal life, death, and legacyEdit

Ranicki was married to American paleontologist Ida Thompson in 1979; they have a daughter. Ranicki suffered from leukemia; he died peacefully in the presence of his wife.[10]

A conference celebrating his legacy was held at the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (Edinburgh) in summer 2020.[11]

Published worksEdit

  • Exact sequences in the algebraic theory of surgery, Princeton University Press, 1981.
  • Lower K and L Theory, London Mathematical Society Lecture Notes, Vol. 178, Cambridge University Press. 1992.
  • Algebraic L-Theory and Topological Manifolds', Cambridge Tracts in Mathematics Vol. 102, Cambridge University Press, 1992.
  • Algebraic and Geometric Surgery, Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • High dimensional knot theory , Springer, 1998.
  • with Bruce Hughes: Ends of Complexes , Cambridge Tracts in Mathematics Vol. 123, Cambridge University Press, 1996.
  • with Norman Levitt and Frank Quinn: "Algebraic and geometric topology" (Rutgers University conference, New Brunswick, 1983), Springer 1985, Lecture Notes in Mathematics Vol. 1126.
  • Editor with David Lewis and Eva Bayer-Fluckiger: "Quadratic forms and their applications" (Conference Dublin 1999), Contemporary Mathematics Vol. 272, American Mathematical Society, 2000.
  • Publisher: Noncommutative Localization in Algebra and Topology , London Mathematical Society Vol. 330, Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  • Editor with Steven Ferry and Jonathan Rosenberg: "The Novikov conjectures, index theorems and rigidity" (Oberwolfach, 1993), London Mathematical Society Lecture Notes, Vol. 226, 227, Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  • Editor: The Hauptvermutung Book, Kluwer, 1996.
  • Editor with Sylvain Cappell and Jonathan Rosenberg: Surveys on surgery theory. Papers dedicated to C.T. C. Wall.


  1. ^ "Marcel Reich-Ranicki: Widely admired literary critic". 2013-09-22.
  2. ^ Emilia Smechowski: „Er hatte die Wucht eines Niagara-Falls“, Interview in TAZ, 13. September 2014, S. 32 f.
  3. ^ Volker Hage, Martin Doerry: Spiegel-Gespräch: „Ich habe nie gefragt“, Der Spiegel, May 26, 2014
  4. ^ a b 'Cambridge Tripos: English; Medical Sciences; Mathematics', Times, 20 June 1969.
  5. ^ Andrew Ranicki at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  6. ^ Curriculum Vitae, Andrew Ranicki
  7. ^ Directory of Fellows Archived 2016-10-20 at the Wayback Machine, page 33.
  8. ^ Chair of Algebraic Surgery, University of Edinburgh, Communications and Marketing.
  9. ^ Johannes Seiler: "Mathematics is a drug!" A conversation with Andrew Ranicki, Bonner General-Anzeiger from January 8-9, 2011 on the website of the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics Bonn
  10. ^ Thomas Anz: Obituary of Andrew Ranicki,, February 22, 2018.
  11. ^ "Manifolds and K-theory: the legacy of Andrew Ranicki".