May 4, 1916–December 3, 1983
BY GEORGE H. WEISS
ELLIOTT W. MONTROLL was born on May 4, 1916, to Adolph B. and Esther I. Montroll in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father, an immigrant from Poland, and his American-born mother encouraged him from an early age to pursue his interests in chemistry, which he did in high school as well as in his undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh. However, after receiving his bachelor's degree in chemistry, Elliot switched fields as a graduate student, receiving his Ph.D. in mathematics at the age of twenty-three. A forerunner of his later interests, Elliot's thesis was on application of the theory of integral equations to the evaluation of integrals that appear in the analysis of imperfect gases.1 The techniques developed in his thesis were based on linear operator theory and Fourier integrals. These tools were to prove the cornerstone to a significant portion of Elliot's future work.
Following the receipt of his doctorate, Elliott spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow working for a year at Columbia with Joseph Mayer, followed by a year as a Sterling fellow at Yale with Lars Onsager, and finally spending a year with John Kirkwood at Cornell. After this period of study, he accepted an instructorship at Princeton in 1942.