Ioannis Farmakis, Ph.D., a well-traveled scholar of mathematics who had a knack for making complex topics accessible, died of a heart attack on April 20 at the Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, New York. He was 72.
This semester, Farmakis, a native of Greece who called Brooklyn home, was teaching two sections of Math for Business: Calculus, a required course for first-year students in the Gabelli School of Business.
Melkana Brakalova-Trevithick, Ph.D., chair of the Mathematics Department, said Farmakis was an erudite, caring, hard-working, and devoted teacher. An accomplished mathematician and prolific writer, he split his time between Fordham and Brooklyn College, where he’d been teaching as an adjunct since 2007. He’d been an adjunct at Fordham since 2013.
“He had a unique style of putting different areas of mathematics together and making them accessible to a larger audience,” she said.
“His contributions and impact in the field were important to him. He loved what he did, and he did it well.”
Farmakis earned a B.S. in mathematics at the University of Athens in 1972. After completing further studies at the University of Paris, he worked in Paris, including a stint from 1980 to 1984 as technical director for the French newspaper Liberation.
In 1991, he moved to New York City, and in 2006, he earned a master’s degree in mathematics at Hunter College in 2006. He earned a master’s degree in philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center in 2007 and two years later, he earned a Ph.D. in mathematics there. His dissertation was titled Cohomnological Aspects of Complete Reducibility of Representations (Lambert, 2010).
He specialized in algebra, differential geometry, topology, and lie groups and their representations. He and Martin Moskowitz, Ph.D., his dissertation adviser at CUNY, co-authored Fixed Point Theorems and Their Applications, (World Scientific, 2013), and most recently, they co-wrote A Graduate Course in Algebra: Volume 1, and A Graduate Course in Algebra: Volume 2 (World Scientific, 2017).
His son Vadim Farmakis, who was 3 when the family moved to the United States, recalled his father as man who was close to his family, both figuratively and literally, as Vadim and his older brother Oleg live in the same Crown Heights apartment complex as their father.
“He was a great mathematician, a great father, and a great grandfather,” he said. “That’s the most important thing.”
In addition to Vadim and Oleg, Farmakis is survived by three grandchildren, Graciela, Brianna, and Osiris Farmakis. The family will be holding private funeral services, and a burial will take at a later date place in Greece.
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