Mikael Passare 1959-2011

Mikael Passare, Professor of mathematics at Stockholm University, passed away on the 15 September 2011 in a tragic accident. Passare received a doctorate in mathematics in 1984 from Uppsala University. He had been deputy director of the Institut Mittag-Leffler, chairman of the Swedish Mathematical Society, and member of the Swedish National Committee for Mathematics at the Royal Academy of Sciences. He conducted research in the theory of residues in several complex variables and in the last years mainly on the theory of amoebas and partly on their links to tropical geometry.
Passare was known among young mathematicians for his positive and encouraging attitude. He had many contacts all over the world and participated in and organized many social activities. He was a member of the EMS Committee for Developing Countries


Martin Raussen's picture

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It is with the utmost sadness that we learnt of the untimely death
of our friend and colleague Mikael Passare.
Mikael officially joined the Committee for Developing Countries of
the European Mathematical Society in 2008, but many of us knew him as
a treasured colleague for much much longer. In spite of his very busy
schedule he always had time for CDC business. He was our Treasurer,
and following our tradition but unlike treasurers of other commitees, was
relaxed about what we spent, since he believed in our work. He
attended all our meetings, greatly contributed to the serious but
genial atmosphere. As we all know, he was a great linguist and he
used to speak French with our francophone colleagues, much to their
Even before Mikael joined us, we all heard of his great
travelling. Although many of our members do travel a lot, we all
believe that Mikael surpassed us all. In spite of his experience in
meeting people, Mikael was actually quite shy, and even to the extent
of appearing diffident. But that was only an appearance, because
where work in development was concerned, he was not shy to express his
opinions, which were so useful to us.
It is not for us to speak of his work in mathematics, nor of his
great contribution to ISP. His other colleagues will testify to that
We just want to repeat, because this is from our hearts, what a
tragedy it is. Somehow one feels that it is not fair that such a rich
and useful life should be cut short at its prime.
We send our deepest sympathy to Mikael's family and his close
colleagues. We feel deeply their loss, which is also ours.

Tsou Sheung Tsun (chair)
Michel Waldschmidt (vice-chair)
and all members of EMS-CDC.

Admin's picture

Comment by Anders Wändahl: Obituary presented at the 50th Anniversary of the ISP
Our friend and colleague Professor Mikael Passare is no longer with us. For many of us, this is an indescribable loss, and our hearts go out to the family he left behind.
Certainly Mikael was an eminent mathematician and scientist, but the man we mourn today is not the professional. We mourn Mikael as a colleague, a friend and a person of unique personality.
Mikael had big ideas. So do many people! But Mikael also had the rare ability to transform his ideas into realities. An example is the Stockholm Centre for Mathematics, the cooperative research and education programme between Stockholm University and the Royal University of Technology, which was initiated only last year, with Mikael as director. Another is the Pan-African Center for Mathematics, which Mikael dreamed of and worked for together with Professor El Tom.
Insurmountable obstacles didn’t exist if Mikael decided to do something. He was possessed of determination and enthusiasm bordering on foolhardiness, and these traits contributed to his great talent for drawing other people into his many projects.
Many people will recognize this description of Mikael as a driving force because they worked with him as professional colleagues. But, in fact, he approached all aspects of his existence—not just his work—with the same attitude. Whether pursuing solar eclipses, travelling abroad, skiing, or studying foreign languages, enthusiastically and with determination was the only way Mikael ever engaged with life.
We shall miss Mikael Passare’s contagious energy, his humor, his goodwill. For many of us, his death leaves an empty space that cannot be filled.
We would like to conclude with an example of Michael’s crazy pranks. In the picture below, taken in 2007 in St. Petersburg, Mikael and Clas Löfvall from Stockholm University sit outside Grigori Perelman’s apartment block. They were hoping that Grigori just possibly might show up so that they could invite him to Stockholm. They waited a long time, but Perelman never came.
Paul Vaderlind and Anders Wändahl, EMS-CDC