Tim Cochran

Tim Cochran
Tim Cochran Multnomah Falls Oregon July 16 2012.jpg
Tim Cochran at Multnomah Falls in 2012
Born (1955-04-07)April 7, 1955
Died December 16, 2014(2014-12-16) (aged 59)
Nationality American
Alma mater University of California
Known for Cochran–Orr–Teichner (solvable) filtration
Scientific career
Fields Mathematics
Institutions Rice University
Doctoral advisor Robion Kirby
Doctoral students Shelly Harvey

Thomas "Tim" Daniel Cochran (April 7, 1955 – December 16, 2014) was a professor of Mathematics at Rice University specializing in topology, especially low-dimensional topology, the theory of knots and links and associated algebra.

Education and career

Cochran in 1986

Tim Cochran was a valedictorian for the Severna Park High School Class of 1973. Later, he was an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1982 (Embedding 4-manifolds in S5).[1] He then returned to MIT as a C.L.E. Moore Postdoctoral Instructor from 1982 to 1984. He was an NSF postdoctoral fellow from 1985 to 1987. Following brief appointments at Berkeley and Northwestern University, he started at Rice University as an associate professor in 1990. He became a full professor at Rice University in 1998. He died unexpectedly, aged 59, on December 16, 2014,[2] while on a year-long sabbatical leave supported by a fellowship from the Simons Foundation.[3]

Research contributions

With his coauthors Kent Orr and Peter Teichner, Cochran defined the solvable filtration of the knot concordance group, whose lower levels encapsulate many classical knot concordance invariants.

Cochran was also responsible for naming the slam-dunk move for surgery diagrams in low-dimensional topology.

Awards and honors

While at Rice, he was named an Outstanding Faculty Associate (1992–93), and received the Faculty Teaching and Mentoring Award from the Rice Graduate Student Association (2014)[4]

He was named a fellow of the American Mathematical Society[5] in 2014, for contributions to low-dimensional topology, specifically knot and link concordance, and for mentoring numerous junior mathematicians.

Selected publications

  • Four-manifolds which embed in R6 but not in R5 and Seifert manifolds for fibered knots, Inventiones Math. 77 (1984), 173–184
  • Geometric invariants of link cobordism, Commentarii Math. Helvetii 60 (1985), 291–311.
  • Derivatives of links: Massey products and Milnor's concordance invariants, Memoirs of Amer. Math. Soc. 84 no. 427 (1990)
  • Not all links are concordant to boundary links (with Kent Orr), Annals of Mathematics 138 (1993), 519–554.
  • Knot Concordance, Whitney Towers and L2-signatures (with Kent Orr and Peter Teichner), Annals of Mathematics 157 (2003), 433–519.
  • Structure in the Classical Knot Concordance Group (with Kent Orr and Peter Teichner), Commentarii Mathematica 79, no. 1 (2004), 105–123.
  • Noncommutative Knot Theory, Algebraic and Geometric Topology 4 (2004), 347–398.
  • Knot Concordance and von Neumann rho invariants (with Peter Teichner), Duke Math. Journal, 137, no.2. (2007), 337–379.
  • Homology and Derived Series of Groups II: Dwyer's Theorem, (with Shelly Harvey), Geometry and Topology, 12(2008), 199–232.
  • Knot concordance and Higher-order Blanchfield duality (with Shelly Harvey and Constance Leidy), Geometry and Topology, 13 (2009), 1419–1482.
  • Primary decomposition and the fractal nature of knot concordance (with Shelly Harvey and Constance Leidy), Math. Annalen, 351 no. 2, 2011, 443–508.
  • Counterexamples to Kauffman's conjectures on slice knots (with Christopher Davis), Advances in Mathematics, to appear,


  1. ^ Tim Cochran at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ "Rice mourns loss of mathematician Tim Cochran". Retrieved December 20, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "2 Rice mathematicians honored". Retrieved December 20, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "GSA honors those who support grad students at Rice". Retrieved December 19, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society". Retrieved December 18, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links