It is with sadness that we report the passing of Alfred Aeppli in September 2008. Alfred was born in the region of Zurich, Switzerland, and studied at the E.T.H. (Polytechnic) there. He received his doctorate under the direction of Beno Eckmann (who was a student of Heinz Hopf), working in the area of modifications of manifolds. After a short visiting position at Cornell University, he came to Minnesota where he taught for 37 years. He had several students, of whom the most distinguished is Jim Milgram at Stanford, and collaborated with Larry Markus.
The "McCarthyism of the 1950's" (alas not totally eradicated in eastern Minnesota) and the violent militarism of the 1960's (especially the Vietnam war) left many professors searching for answers outside the ivory towers of academe. Like so many others, Alfred turned to activism, although it is to his credit that he remained positive and avoided all forms of extremism. He was active in the Presbyterian Church on a local and national level , as well as the world federalist movement. He was the author of a successful resolution, on the national level, which called for peaceful resolution of differences between nations, rather than war. He was twice active in (unsuccessful ) efforts to create a faculty union. He was also active in the Minnesota Streetcar Association and the Twin Cities Swiss American Association.
Alfred loved music. He was active in music in his church and served for some years on the board of the Music in the Park Series (in his neighborhood: St. Anthony Park). The first concert in that series-Fall 2008-was dedicated to Alfred. He will be missed.