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Richard Askey

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Nationality  American
Fields  Mathematics
Role  Mathematician

Name  Richard Askey
Doctoral advisor  Salomon Bochner
Richard Askey wwwmathwisceduaskeyaskeygif

Born  June 4, 1933 (age 82) St. Louis, Missouri (1933-06-04)
Institutions  University of Chicago University of Wisconsin–Madison
Alma mater  Washington University in St. Louis Harvard University Princeton University
Known for  Askey–Wilson polynomials Askey–Gasper inequality
Books  Orthogonal Polynomials and Special Functions
Education  Princeton University (1961), Washington University in St. Louis, Harvard University
Awards  Guggenheim Fellowship for Natural Sciences, US & Canada
People also search for  George Andrews, Mourad Ismail, Tom H. Koornwinder, Ranjan Roy, Salomon Bochner

Doctoral students  James A. Wilson

Richard askey content knowledge for teachers

Richard "Dick" Allen Askey (born June 4, 1933) is an American mathematician, known for his expertise in the area of special functions. The Askey–Wilson polynomials (introduced by him in 1984 together with James A. Wilson) are on the top level of the (q)-Askey scheme, which organizes orthogonal polynomials of (q-)hypergeometric type into a hierarchy. The Askey–Gasper inequality for Jacobi polynomials is essential in de Brange's famous proof of the Bieberbach conjecture.


Askey earned a B.A. at Washington University in 1955, an M.A. at Harvard University in 1956, and a Ph.D. at Princeton University in 1961. After working as an instructor at Washington University (1958–1961) and University of Chicago (1961–1963), he joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1963 as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics. He became a full professor at Wisconsin in 1968, and since 2003 has been a professor emeritus. Askey was a Guggenheim Fellow, 1969–1970, which academic year he spent at the Mathematisch Centrum in Amsterdam. In 1983 he gave an invited lecture at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in Warszawa. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1993. In 1999 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. In 2009 he became a fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society. In December 2012 he received an honorary doctorate from SASTRA University in Kumbakonam, India.

Askey explained why hypergeometric functions appear so frequently in mathematical applications: "Riemann showed that the requirement that a differential equation have regular singular points at three given points and every other complex point is a regular point is so strong a restriction that the differential equation is the hypergeometric equation with the three singularities moved to the three given points. Differential equations with four or more singular points only infrequently have a solution which can be given explicitly as a series whose coefficients are known, or have an explicit integral representation. This partly explains why the classical hypergeometric function arises in many settings that seem to have nothing to do with each other. The differential equation they satisfy is the most general one of its kind that has solutions with many nice properties".

Askey is also very much involved with commenting and writing on mathematical education at American schools. A well-known article by him on this topic is Good Intentions are not Enough.


  • Richard Askey, Orthogonal polynomials and special functions, SIAM, 1975.
  • Richard Askey and James Wilson, "Some basic hypergeometric orthogonal polynomials that generalize Jacobi polynomials", Memoirs of the American Mathematical Society, 54 (319): iv+55, 1985, ISBN 978-0-8218-2321-7, MR 783216, doi:10.1090/memo/0319 
  • George E. Andrews, Richard Askey, and Ranjan Roy, Special functions, Encyclopedia of Mathematics and Its Applications, The University Press, Cambridge, 1999.
  • References

    Richard Askey Wikipedia