Elliott Waters Montroll, an educator and scientist, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on May 4, 1916, the son of Adolph Baer and Esther (Israel) Montroll. He received a B.S. degree in chemistry in 1937 and a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1940. He married Shirley Abrams on May 7, 1943, with whom he had ten children: Wendy, Brenda, Nicholas, Heidi, Mark, John, Toby, Andrew, Kim, and Charles.
The scope of Elliot Montroll's interests and accomplishments makes it rather difficult to categorize him academically. His research interests spanned statistical mechanics, the theory of probability, mathematical physics, and mathematical modeling of biological and sociological phenomena. During the period 1951 to 1960, he was a research professor at the University of Maryland Institute for Fluid Dynamics and Applied Mathematics (later incorporated into the Institute for Physical Science and Technology). From 1961 to 1968, he held a part-time appointment at the University of Maryland. Montroll was the Einstein professor of physics and chemistry and director of the Institute of Fundamental Studies at the University of Rochester from 1966 to 1981, after which he returned to the University of Maryland as a professor in the Institute for Physical Science and Technology, the position he held at the time of his death. His academic career also included professorships at Princeton (1942-1943), the University of Pittsburgh (1946-1948), the University of Grenoble, France (the summer of 1953), and the Lorenta Professorship of the University of Lieden in the Netherlands (1968).
Elliot Montroll was appointed to many positions of service in the federal government, such as Head of the Physics Branch at the Office of Naval Research (1948-1950) and the Vice President for Research of the Institute for Defense Analysis (1963-1966). He also served as a consultant to various private corporations, including a stint as Director of General Sciences for the IBM Research Center at Yorktown Heights, New York (1960-1963). He was the founding editor of the Journal of Mathematical Physics (1960-1970) and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Among the prizes and fellowships that Elliot Montroll received were a Fulbright fellowship in 1959 and the Lanchester Prize of the Operations Research Society of America in 1959. Elliot Montroll died in 1983.