Jan. 23, 2003 – Vol. 22 No. 8

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    Wirszup Lectures resume on campus Jan. 30 with mathematics discussion

    By William Harms
    News Office

    The popular lecture series initiated by Izaak and Pera Wirszup when they were Resident Masters of Woodward Court will resume Thursday, Jan. 30, when Izaak Wirszup returns to give a lecture at 7 p.m. in the Max Palevsky East Commons, 5630 S. University Ave.

    Wirszup, Professor Emeritus in Mathematics, will discuss “Making a Difference: Education and National Policy,” a review of his work to initiate one of the nation’s major reforms in mathematics education, the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project.

    The lecture is free and open to the campus community. Other distinguished lecturers will be invited to continue the Wirszup Lecture Series by Martin Stokes, Associate Professor in Music and the College, and Lucy Baxandall, Resident Masters at the Max Palevsky Residential Commons.

    The Wirszups were Resident Masters at Woodward Court from 1971 to 1985 and started the lecture series as a way to help advance closer social relations between faculty and students. A total of 200 Woodward Court lectures were given in 14 years, and in 1986, a former student of Wirszup endowed the Wirszup Lectures at Woodward Court.

    Wirszup joined the faculty in 1949 and soon became a national leader in mathematics education.

    His 1979 report to the National Science Foundation that revealed a crisis in mathematics and science education in the United States gained the attention of President Carter. The President then ordered a re-evaluation of U.S. science and engineering education policies.

    UCSMP was established in 1983 and has since influenced major changes in the teaching of mathematics in the United States. Wirszup continues to work on University projects for the improvement of math teachers in the Chicago Public Schools.