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Dr. David Buchsbaum

Dr. David Buchsbaum, 91, died of heart failure at his home on January 8, 2021. Born November 6, 1929 in New York City, he graduated from Bronx Science high school earning his B.A. and PhD from Columbia University. A renowned mathematician, Buchsbaum was a pioneer in applying homological techniques to the mathematical fields of commutative algebra and representation theory.   After sojourns at Princeton, Chicago and Brown Universities, he chose to bring his intellect and deeply Jewish identification to the nascent Brandeis University. Arriving there in 1961, David remained passionately committed to building a first-rate Mathematics Department. Three times chair of that Department and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, David retired from Brandeis as the Berenson Professor of Mathematics in the spring of 1999.  A worldwide mentor to students and postdocs, David loved travel, especially to Italy. By the late 1970’s at least 75% of the algebraic geometors chairing Italian university math departments had been through David’s Brandeis/Italy exchange program. His career and contribution to Italian mathematics were celebrated throughout Italy in 1998. David’s love affair with Italy’s expressive culture mirrored his capacity for relishing all aspects of living. So vast and deep was his appreciation for language, music, art, literature, athletics, food, wine, nature, Judaism, politics, he was the Google- before -Google (complete with editorial comments!) in the lives of so many. Classmates in first grade, David and his wife Betty met again in college where the kindness emanating from David’s dimpled smile instantly won her heart. Betty graduated from Barnard, earning a PhD in English/ American Literature from Brandeis. Following a long career as poet, professor and college administrator, she retired from serving as Vice President of Mass. College of Art and Design in 2000. Married at 19, their union allowed for both independent pursuits and rich intimacy.  David played an active role raising their daughters in Newton, MA, facilitated by his capacity to “just think” while sitting with his ubiquitous yellow pad and fountain pen  during the intervals waiting to “chauffeur” daughters to and from activities. David’s unfailing capacity to listen and accept (or not!) was rivaled only by an irrepressible playfulness and unbounded love of family. In addition to many nieces and nephews, David is survived by his wife Betty, his daughters Helen (David), Susan (Karl) and Marion (Jeff), grandchildren Jessica (Kennedy), Max (Sarah), Raphaela, Gabriel (Leigh), Eva, Kyla, Katie, Sophie, and four great- grandchildren. Donations may be made to: or


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