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Richard Davis Anderson Sr., 1981-1982 MAA President

Born: February 17, 1922, Hamden, Connecticut
Died: March 4, 2008, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Richard Davis Anderson Sr. was a mathematics professor at Louisiana State University known for his research in infinite-dimensional topology and service to professional organizations.

Presidency: 1981-1982

Anderson said in an interview with K.A. Ross, "During my leadership, the MAA broadened its responsibilities in precollege education and, in particular, strengthened its relationship with NCTM [the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics]."

A new MAA publication, MAA FOCUS, was started while Anderson was president. He wrote the first article in the inaugural, March 1981 issue, on "The Challenges of the Eighties."

Anderson gave his retiring presidential address at the 1984 national meeting on "Reflections on the Mystique of R.L. Moore."

Education and Career

Anderson completed his undergraduate studies in two years at the University of Minnesota (1941). His years as a graduate student working with R.L. Moore at the University of Texas at Austin overlapped with those of E.E. Moise and G.S. Young, who also became MAA presidents. Anderson received his Ph.D. in 1948.

Anderson spent 1950-56 at the University of Pennsylvania, with 1951-52 and 1955-56 at the Institute for Advanced Study. He took over the supervision of L.K. Barrett's 1954 thesis after her advisor J.R. Kline had a heart attack. Anderson claimed her as his first Ph.D. student.

Anderson joined the Louisiana State University faculty in 1956. On the occasion of Anderson's retirement from the Louisiana Systemic Initiatives Program in 2004, Richard Schori called him the father of infinite-dimensional topology, for his most notable mathematical result: the topological equivalence of two differently defined infinite-dimensional spaces.

Anderson was vice president of the American Mathematical Society in 1972-73 and won the MAA's Gung and Hu Distinguished Service to Mathematics Award in 1978. He contributed to several MAA activities, serving on the board of governors, the finance committee, and the Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics, and chairing a number of other committees. Anderson was active in the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences.

External Resources

MAA FOCUS obituary (pdf)

MAA FOCUS In Memoriam (pdf)

LSU In Memoriam

Richard Anderson is Newest Member of the Icosahedron Society (pdf)

Gung and Hu Distinguished Service to Mathematics Award citation

Students of R.L. Moore

The Mathematics Genealogy Project

"New MAA President Takes Office," MAA FOCUS, Volume 1, Number 1, page 5