Person: Begle, Edward Griffith
Edward Begle was an American mathematician and educator who was important in developing school mathematics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- In his thesis Begle started with the concepts of a realization and a partial realization of a finite complex on a space which had been defined by Lefschetz in a 1936 paper.
- Begle gave new definitions of these concepts which allowed him to use other techniques and simplify the study of generalized manifolds.
- Following the award of his doctorate, Begle taught for the year 1940-41 at Princeton.
- In the last mentioned paper, Begle generalised the Vietoris homology theory of compact metric spaces to the bicompact Hausdorff spaces by considering their finite open coverings instead of the metric.
- Out of this grew Begle's elementary calculus text, which was unique at the time in that it contained serious mathematics written not for colleagues but for the students themselves ...
- This textbook was Introductory Calculus, with Analytic Geometry which Begle published in 1954.
- In the reviewer's opinion Begle's book does make such a contribution and should be examined carefully by all instructors of beginning calculus.
- Begle also played major roles in what one might refer to as the 'administration of mathematics.' In 1951 he was elected secretary of the American Mathematical Society and undertook the duties associated with this important position with great diligence for the next six years.
- Begle was offered the position of director of the SMSG which he accepted with enthusiasm.
- The project was based at Yale, where Begle was based, and he was able to quickly bring together many of differing opinions all of which he channelled in a positive way with his skilful chairmanship.
- In 1961 Begle left Yale to become both a professor in the Department of Mathematics and a professor in the School of Education at Stanford University.
- how, you may ask, have we in the UK viewed Professor Begle's achievements as head of that (to us) vast organisation of the School Mathematics Study Group?
- Among the many notes Begle wrote on mathematical education, let us mention: The School Mathematics Study Group (1958), Comments on a note on "variable" (1961), Remarks on the Memorandum 'On the Mathematics Curriculum of the High School' (1962), A Study of Mathematical Abilities (1962), The Role of Axiomatics and Problem Solving in Mathematics (1967), and SMSG: The first decade (1968).
- Edward Begle was an independent man.
- Begle received many awards for his contributions to mathematical education including election as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1960) and the Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics made by the Mathematical Association of America (1969).
- The mathematical and scientific part of American life in the middle third of this century may well be judged to have been outstanding; if the history of it is ever properly written, E G Begle's role therein will clearly have an exceptional place.
- Begle died of emphysema at the age of 63 while working on a review of research in mathematics education.
Born 27 November 1914, Saginaw, Michigan, USA. Died 2 March 1978, Palo Alto, California, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive