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Legendary Mathematician and Former MAA President G. Baley Price Dies at 101

Legendary Mathematician and Former MAA President G. Baley Price Dies at 101

Former MAA President G. Baley Price, who died on November 7, was a legendary mathematician. A soft, gentle-spoken man, Price was known for his keen mind and his recognition in the 1950s that technology would be a major influence in how we learn and how we teach. He and his late wife, Cora, were devoted professors and mentors.

"Wherever he looked," said University of Kansas Chancellor Robert Hemenway, "G. Baley Price saw potential." Long after his retirement from the University of Kansas, Price remained deeply connected to mathematics and to his university.

Price began his mathematical career at KU in 1937, five years after earning his Ph.D. from Harvard University. In 1943 he served with the U.S. Army's 8th Air Force Operational Research Section in England. His duties included improving the accuracy of bomber pilots and antiartillery interception over Britain.

Price was instrumental in the development of the "New Math" nationally and in the purchase of the first computer at KU in 1956, an IBM 650, which was the granddaddy of today?s desktop models. G Baley Price served as president of the MAA in 1957-1958.

In 1970 Price received the MAA's Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics, which recognized him for establishing the Mathematical Reviews, the NSF Summer Institutes for Mathematics Teachers Program, and the School Mathematics Study Group.

Price was involved in many national and international activities, earned many grants and awards, and showed a pattern of conceiving, organizing, finding funding for and implementing new ideas, programs and opportunities at the local and national level.

Price was named the first E. B. Stouffer Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at KU in 1974, and retired in 1975.

During "retirement," Price completed two mathematical monographs. He also turned his interest to documenting the history of mathematics, publishing a history of the KU Department of Mathematics in addition to articles on the contribution of mathematics to the World War II effort and related topics. He was always generous in support of his former university.

Price celebrated his 100th birthday in 2005, and a report on the celebration appeared in the May/June 2005 issue of FOCUS. See that article for photos and more details about Price's life and achievements.

News Date: 
Monday, November 13, 2006