A member of BC's Mathematics Department since 1970, Margolis was an expert in the field of algabraic topology and in 1984 authored an important book on the subject titled Spectra and the Steenrod Algebra.
Margolis taught a very popular class called "Ideas in Mathematics" and was at work on a textbook for the course, which was designed to explain advanced conceptual and theoretical mathematics to students from other disciplines.
"Harvey really tried to give people the sense that they could understand these concepts," said Assoc. Prof. Charles Landraitis (Mathematics). "He wanted to explain to people why math is interesting and what mathematicians are concerned with. It will be his legacy."
Landraitis said that he admired his friend's courage and selflessness in the face of an illness that caused him to rely on a wheelchair for the last two years.
"He never dwelt on his infirmities, even after he could not walk," said Landraitis.
In 1971 Margolis was appointed a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies and later won a Mellon Grant to help support his research. Margolis also won a number of National Science Foundation grants.
After receiving his doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1967, Margolis taught for a short period of time at Northwestern University before arriving at Boston College as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 1974.
Margolis leaves his wife, Nell (Lowenberg) and his daughters, Amelia, Caroline and Annabel, all of Boston, and his mother, Isobel (Dawson) of New York City.
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