Mieczyslaw Altman was born in Poland in 1916. After finishing his secondary school in Lódz in 1935, he studied mathematics at the Warsaw University from 1937 until the beginning of World War II in 1939. In 1940 he enrolled at Lwów University and worked directly under the tutelage of Stefan Banach.
After the Nazi invasion of USSR in 1941, Altman was forced to flee, eventually settling at the University of Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg) in 1941-1942, and then in Tashkent, USSR (now Uzbekistan). There, he first obtained his Master in Mathematics in 1944 and he finished his Ph.D. in Mathematics in 1948.
Upon his return to Poland in 1949, he learned that his entire family, including seven brothers and sisters, perished in the Lódz Jewish ghetto during the war.
Altman moved to Warsaw and held several positions at the Institute of Mathematics at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw from 1949 to 1969, first as an Assistant Professor, 1949-1957, then as an Associate Professor, 1957-1958, and finally as a Full Professor and Director of the Numerical Analysis Department from 1958 to 1969.
In 1953, he married Wanda Kusal, M.D., and they had two children, Barbara (in 1956) and Tom (in 1958). For two years (1959-1960) Professor Altman took visiting positions at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and the Courant Institute in New York. Due to political pressures, in 1969 the Altman family left Poland and eventually settled in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where M. Altman worked as a Professor of Mathematics, Louisiana State University, from 1970 until his retirement in 1987.
A man of many talents, Professor Altman had published his mathematical papers in several languages, including Russian, Polish, French, German, and English. He even coined a new French word “contracteur" in his paper “Contracteurs dans les algebres de Banach”, C.R. Acad. Sci. Paris, 274 (1972), 399-400. He passed away in Pittsburgh, PA on December 14, 1997.
In 2000, Tom Altman and his family established the _Mieczyslaw Altman Scholarship _to honor the memory of his father and to assist students in mathematics and computer science at the University of Colorado Denver, where Tom is a member of the faculty.