# Who is Robert H. Cowen, the eponym of Cowen's Lemma?

Context: I have arrived at Section $$7$$ of chapter $$4$$ of Smullyan and Fitting's Set Theory and the Continuum Problem during my ongoing self-study odyssey.

This section raises and proves Cowen's theorem but gives no historical background apart from providing the citation:

Cowen, R.H. (1971), 'Superinductive classes in class-set theory', Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 12(1) 62-68

Checking this out, we have Robert H. Cowen who reports as being a student of Ray Smullyan at the time he wrote it (1969).

From what I can tell, he is not the same Cowen as the eponym of the Cowen-Thomson Theorem, as that one seems to be attributed to C. Cowen.

However, he probably is the eponym of the Cowen-Engeler Lemma

Apart from other papers attributed to Robert Cowen in the same field of study, I have been unable to find any biographical details for him: birth date, birthplace, nationality (American assumed), etc.

Anyone out there able to help?

• There is a very very short biographical notice in "Raymond Smullyan on Self Reference", here shorturl.at/bcAMT at page 19 Jun 19 at 8:40
• He worked at Queens College, CUNY, for 40 years and retired in 2008, now emeritus. He had a blog with contact information and an autobiographical post. His webpage is expired, but Wayback Machine saved a snapshot from 2015. List of publications up to May 2022. Jun 19 at 11:02
• Jason Rosenhouse (ed.), "Four Lives -- A Celebration of Raymond Smullyan", 2014, p. 139: Robert Cowen received his AB from Princeton in 1961. It was during this time at Princeton that he first met Raymond Smullyan. He received his PhD in mathematics from Yeshiva University in 1967. From other sources you already know that Smullyan was Cowen's PhD advisor at Yeshiva University. Data from public records aggregation companies available online for free suggests that Robert Cowen was born in 1941. Jun 19 at 18:50
• @PrimeMover The data from the public record aggregators seems plausible, stating his birth year as 1941 and his wife Ilsa's as 1943. The personal data in the book by Rosenhouse was presumably furnished by the contributors themselves. Also, the Math Genealogy page for Cowen says PhD in 1967 at Yeshiva University advised by Smullyan. The AB Princeton in 1961 (at presumed age of 20) seems plausible given that his daughter Leonore (math professor at Tuft) entered Yale at age 16. Jun 19 at 20:14
• @PrimeMover A 2007 letter to the editor of the Princeton Alumni Weekly confirms Cowen's graduation in 1961: It seems to me that you are, for the most part, covering those Princetonians who are involved in making war in Iraq. How about some articles on those of us who are actively opposing this war and feel that doing so truly expresses “Princeton in the nation’s service”? ROBERT COWEN ’61 Queens, N.Y. Jun 20 at 5:49