Israel Gel’fand (1913-2009)

Via The Pontiff, noted mathematician Israel Gel’fand has passed away at age 96.  He was truly a remarkable mathematician who took an interest in mathematics education.  In fact he often let his research and teaching influence each other as described here (quoting from two written papers):

One of the characteristic features of Israil Moiseevic’s activities has been the extremely close bond between his research work and his teaching. The formulation of new problems and unexpected questions, a tendency to look at even well known things from a new point of view characterises Gelfand as a teacher, regardless of whether at a given moment he is holding a conversation with schoolchildren or with his own colleagues.

In 1994 he was awarded a MacArthur “Genius Award” for his work in mathematics education, particularly in relation to correspondence education.


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