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James Norman Damon

James Damon

1945 - 10/05/22

Jim Damon was born in 1945. He was educated at Dartmouth and Oxford and received his PhD at Harvard University in 1972 under the supervision of John Mather. He had his first academic position at Tufts University , then spent a year in Chile at the Universidad Technica del Estado, and two years at Queens College, CUNY. In 1976 he joined the Department of Mathematics at UNC, where he became a full professor in 1983. He retired in 2016.

During his tenure at UNC, Jim had the opportunity to serve as a visiting professor at several prestigious universities and research institutes, including University of Liverpool, University of Warwick, the Newton Institute in Cambridge, Universite de Provence, and IM&A Minneapolis. He nearly always travelled with his beloved wife, Joanne.

Jim's research revolved around singularity theory and its diverse applications. Singularity theory is a fascinating field that encompasses connections to various branches of mathematics, including geometry, topology, algebra, and computer vision. It deals with the study of singular points or phenomena where mathematical objects behave in exceptional or non-generic ways.

Jim played a significant role in the development of singularity theory, being one of its founders. He contributed to establishing the core principles and fundamental concepts that form the basis of modern singularity theory. His groundbreaking work paved the way for researchers in the field for many years to come, providing them with valuable insights and directions for further exploration.

Among his many recognitions we mention Fulbright Lectureships and Research Scholarships, and the Simons Fellowship. He was a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society. His research was honored by several NSF, DARPA, UNC Interdisciplinary, and Insight2+ grants.

Jim taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate classes at UNC and was the supervisor of five PhD and seven master's students. Students appreciated his inspiring and rigorous lecturing style. They were never in danger of falling asleep in Jim's lectures, neither because of the rich content, nor the volume of delivery.

Jim Damon passed away on October 5, 2022. He was a long servicing member of the Newman Center, on UNC campus. His family and friends will remember him as a kind, loving, generous, and humble man and will be forever missed. He is survived by wife Joanne, their son Jimmy, and two grandchildren.