Professor Ben Cox passed away peacefully on Saturday September 28, 2019 surrounded by his family. Ben earned his Ph.D. at UC San Diego, under advisor Thomas Enright, where he worked on algebraic methods in representation theory. He and his wife, math department chair Liz Jurisich, joined the College of Charleston in 1999 and he spent the remainder of his career here, after having held permanent positions at the University of Montana and Lulea University of Technology in Sweden and visiting positions at the University of Saskatchewan, UC San Diego, and UC Santa Cruz. Ben was a prolific research mathematician and mathematical physicist, publishing over 40 papers in his career. Through Ben’s generosity in sharing his love of mathematics with others, he supervised over 30 students in independent research, fostered numerous collaborations, and was awarded a five-year Simons Collaboration Grant in 2014 for his collaborative work in conformal field theory. Early in his career, Ben was awarded a Young Investigators Grant from the National Security Agency and served as a Consultant with the Center for Communications Research in La Jolla, CA. He led our M.S. in mathematics for seven years and just last year, he was awarded a conference grant, together with co-investigators Anna Calini and Bob Mignone, in Topological Methods in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
Ben was much more than a mathematician, teacher of mathematics, and colleague. In his quiet and unassuming way, Ben was a talented artist, an avid surfer and swimmer, a devoted husband to Liz and loving father to their daughter Gwen. With his wry sense of humor, gentle nature, and strong commitment to his purposes in life, Ben always brought laughter and a smile to any room he entered.
A reception to celebrate Ben’s life will be held at Liz and Ben’s home on Saturday, October 5 from three to seven p.m. Instead of flowers, the family welcomes donations in Ben’s name to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, South Carolina Chapter.