Gene H. Golub

Gene H. Golub
Gene H. Golub

For his preeminence in numerical analysis, building algorithms that laid the foundation for high-speed scientific computing.

Gene H. Golub was born in 1932 and grew up in Chicago. He earned his bachelors, masters, and PhD, all in mathematics, from Illinois. Even though he graduated from Illinois, it was not his first-choice school; Gene transferred to Illinois during his senior year of college. 

Upon arriving at Illinois, he fell in love with the University and living in a small town. He enjoyed the change of pace from growing up in the city. Gene attributed his hospitality and the endless number of parties he hosted at his home to the welcoming and open culture he experienced during his time on campus. 

He worked part-time for a physicist at the accelerator center on campus. In his final semester, he took a programming course in mathematics, where he learned how to program for the ILLIAC supercomputer. 

In 1959, Golub received an NSF Fellowship and worked at the Mathematical Laboratory at University of Cambridge for 15 months. He worked for several companies, Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, and Space Technology Laboratories before he returned to academia. In 1962, Golub joined the faculty of Stanford as a visiting assistant professor in the Computer Science Division. He was chairman of the department from 1981 to 1985.

Golub was a pioneer in numerical analysis, creating algorithms and software that allowed researchers to run large engineering and science calculations effectively on computers. His contributions to the engineering and computer science field were internationally recognized. He was the recipient of 10 honorary degrees from institutions around the world and was an honorary member of numerous societies. He co-authored 18 books and about 250 papers during his lifetime. In 1981, he was elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was elected into the National Academy of Engineering in 1990. Golub received the B. Bolzano Gold Medal for Merit in the Field of Mathematical Sciences in 1994. 

He was most proud of the 30 PhD students he advised and all of their accomplishments. He never pointed out a publication or award as what defined his career, but rather talked about people by praising the students and colleagues that made him a better person. 

He passed away in 2007 but his legacy continues. He was very outgoing and especially kind to newcomers in his field. Gene will always be remembered as a mentor both in research and in life.


  • BA, 1953, Liberal Arts and Sciences in Mathematics 
  • MA, 1954, Statistics
  • PhD, 1959, Mathematics
  • Honorary degree, 1991