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Satoshi Suzuki was brought up a Japanese Buddhist. He completed his secondary education in 1949 and entered the University of Kyoto. He enrolled in the Faculty of Science and the main topic of his undergraduate course was mathematics. In 1953 he began graduate studies at the University of Kyoto, nominally working under Yasuo Akizuki but in practice his research ideas were developed without any assistance. For five years, from 1953 to 1958, Suzuki attended graduate level courses but in 1958 he left the university to take up a teaching position. Bythis time he had already written a paper Note on the existence of rational points which was published in the Proceedings of the Japan Academy in 1958.
Suzuki taught at Kyoto Women's University during the academic year 1958-59 and he then taught at Momoyama Gakuin in Sakai, Osaka until 1961. After this he returned as a lecturer at Yoshida College of the University of Kyoto. He submitted his doctoral thesis Some results on m-adic differentials in June 1964 to the University of Kyoto and was awarded the degree. Even before he submitted his doctoral dissertation, in 1963, Suzuki had been promoted to associate professor and he became a full professor in 1970. Suzuki married Suzuyo and they had two daughters, Harue and Masae.
Although he was on the staff at Kyoto University for his whole career, Suzuki spent several years working at other universities. He spent a few months at Florida State University in Tallahassee, USA, in 1960. He taught mathematics courses at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA, from August 1965 to August 1967 and then at Queen's University, Kingston, Canada for the academic year 1967-68. Ribenboim writes :-
I met Suzuki when he came to Queen's University in 1967, as a Visiting Associate Professor, with very good recommendations from Professors S S Abhyankar and J Lipman. He spent the academic year at Kingston and at that time I saw him, his wife Suzuyo and his two little daughters Harue and Masae, with a certain regularity. I was very interested in his work on differentials, especially the higher order differentials and I attended his lectures with profit. At my suggestion, Suzuki wrote up his lecture notes ...
These notes, based on Suzuki's lectures at Queen's University, Kyoto University and Florida State University, were published as Differentials of commutative rings by Queen's University in 1971. Among the papers which Suzuki published before these lecture notes are: On torsion of the module of differentials of a locality which is a complete intersection (1964); Note on formally projective modules (1966); On the flatness of complete formally projective modules (1968); Differential modules and derivations of complete discrete valuation rings (1969); and Modules of high order differentials of topological rings (1970).
Among other places where Suzuki taught are Rutgers University, New Brunswick, USA, where he spent six months in 1971 and another six months in 1988. A few years before the second of these two visits he had spent the summer of 1985 at the Darien Foreign Language College in China.
Suzuki's later work includes Higher differential algebras of discrete valuation rings (1974); Some types of derivations and their applications to field theory (1981); and On extensions of higher derivations for algebraic extensions of fields of positive characteristics (1989).
The events leading to his death are described by Nagata in :-
Since March 1991 he felt something wrong on his chest and he visited some medical doctors. In May pancreas cancer was found and the pancreas was soon taken out. In late June he had some melena and hematemesis twice while he was in hospital. In the middle of July he had an attack of fever. Although the medical doctor in charge of him tried several different antibiotics, the fever did not go away completely. His illness was not just fever; troubles with blood pressure, appearance of cyanosis and so on. .. After his death the medical doctor found that the real cause of his illness had been an infection with MRSA. I deeply regret that he was not given adequate care by the medical doctor.
Nagata also describes Suzuki's character in :-
A strong impression which I felt of Suzuki's personal character was that he spoke quite frankly. Usually when someone wants to say something, he considers the circumstances and decides if he should speak or not. I am pretty sure that Suzuki did the same, but his judgement was a little different. Anyway, many people were surprised by what Suzuki said at meetings or in casual conversations. I should emphasise that Suzuki was frank and honest.
Ribenboim sums up his description of Suzuki as follows:-
An able, persistent and sincere researcher, who contributed to the understanding of the algebraic theory of differentials.
Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson
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