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Dom de Caen    

Dominique de Caen (1956 - 2002)

Professor Dominique (Dom) de Caen died suddenly on June 19, 2002 after a long struggle with severe neck pain.

Born in Montreal in 1956, Dom obtained his M.Sc. at Queen's University in 1979 under the direction of Norman Pullman and his Ph.D. in 1982 at the University of Toronto under Eric Mendelsohn. He held an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Waterloo from 1982 to 1983 and was an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University from 1983-1985. In 1985, he was enticed to return to Canada with the award of a prestigious NSERC University Research Fellowship (URF). From 1985 on, he was on staff at Queen's University and was a model for the success of the URF program. Through his scholarship, insightful research and generous support he became the linchpin of the discrete mathematics program at Queen's. He was promoted to Full Professor in 1997.

Dom became well-known for the estimates in his doctoral thesis on Turan's extremal problem for hypergraphs. His interest in extremal graph theory continued throughout his life: in 1999 he obtained an asymptotically sharp estimate with Z. Furedi on the maximum size of a 3-uniform hypergraph not containing a Fano plane. He was also known for his expertise in other branches of discrete mathematics. He had an impressive familiarity with the theory of designs and with algebraic graph theory. His joint work with E. van Dam on association schemes later resulted in his construction of the asymptotically largest known families of equiangular lines in Euclidean space. He also made significant contributions to the theory of tournaments and to the theory of graph decompositions and is known for his lower bound on the probability of a union of events in probability space. He published over 50 papers covering a wide variety of topics in discrete mathematics. His Erdos number was one.

Dom will always be fondly remembered by many of his colleagues for fine conference talks, helpful suggestions, a love of good food, and for cryptic crosswords and many games of scrabble and backgammon. A calm and generous spirit, a respected researcher, an inspiring lecturer and Putnam coach, he is greatly missed.


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