Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Passing of a Prodigy

My friend and I were arguing over whether his Contracts book author contributed to the Restatement. This then led to the debate, me saying the guy was probably alive. So I googled it, and up it comes: Farnsworth died January 31, 2005, of prostate cancer. Talk about a coinky-dink given our conversation. This man has led the most distinguished life that I've ever read.

Edward Allan Farnsworth was born on June 30, 1928, in Providence, R.I., where his father was a professor of physics at Brown University. He received a degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1948; a master's degree in physics from Yale in 1949, and a law degree from Columbia in 1952.

The elder Prof. Farnsworth suggested that his son, with his strong analytical skills, apply to law school. Prof. Farnsworth chose Columbia because the school gave mid-term grades. Thus, if he discovered he couldn't handle the work, he could withdraw without paying for the second semester.

In 1954 he joined the Columbia faculty, becoming the youngest member of the law school's faculty.

Can you believe he joined the faculty only 2 years after he graduated from the law school?? This means he became a faculty member at the age of 26.

At the time of his death, Cases and Materials on Contracts, the most popular casebook on the subject in the country, was selling 10,000 copies annually, according to Foundation Press, the book's publisher.

The Law School named him the Alfred McCormack Professor of Law in 1970, a chair he held at the time of his death.