Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
Joined Connecticut College: 1972-2001
B.Ch.E., Renssalear Polytechnic Institute; M.S., Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology
Stanley Wertheimer retired from teaching in 2001. He was chair of the Mathematics Department from 1982 to 1988.
Professor Wertheimer was involved with both mathematics and computer science for much of his time at the college.
When he first arrived, his major interest was point set topology. That rapidly changed to applied mathematics, which had always been an interest and became a concentration, as much for the department as himself.
In 1974 he was the first Director of Academic Computing, a post held jointly with his academic rank and later with chairmanship of the department, until 1994. He began collaboration with a local R&D firm in 1978 that lasted until 1985. Most of his research was involved with problems particular to submarines, although he did a fair amount with artificial intelligence and computer science. He continued pursuit of these interests during a two-year affiliation with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, especially in natural language processing.
Most recently, he was interested in the conjunction of mathematics and the arts, and the history of mathematics.
"One cannot teach at a liberal arts college for almost 30 years without coming to some conclusions about what the learning experience should be, however tentative. I did not give an in-class examination for many, many years; I did not give any examinations ("Answer the following questions...") for at least five years. My idea of the ideal learning situation was that it be a joint effort of all participants.
"Sure, in a college the professor is usually the one with the most knowledge and experience. But the only way to get students' minds working at the same pace as the instructor is to get them to fully participate at all times. Perhaps a vain hope, but I believed a worthwhile goal. Thus, I relied on papers (in mathematics?!), journals, portfolios, notebooks, problem sets, presentations, and class discussions."
I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand. (Chinese proverb)