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Archives Spotlight: Two Audio Collections

Two Audio Collections

By Carol Mead

The following article, featured as part of the Archives of American Mathematics Spotlight, was published in the February/March 2010 issue of MAA FOCUS. The full issue is available here (pdf).

The Archives of American Mathematics (AAM) at the University of Texas at Austin is pleased to announce that two recently donated collections are now available to researchers: the Math Medley Radio Show Collection and the Finite Simple Group Theory Oral History Collection.

The Math Medley Radio Show Collection

The Math Medley Radio Show Collection was donated to the AAM by Pat Kenschaft, who conceived the show and acted as its primary host. The collection consists of approximately 300 recordings on audiocassettes and CDs.

"Math Medley" was on the air weekly, from May 1998 to June 2004. It focused on education, parenting, equity, and environmental issues as well as mathematics itself.

The show began after the publication of Kenschaft's book Math Power: How to Help Your Child Love Math Even If You Don't. It was self-funded, with additional support from advertisers and the American Mathematical Society.

Among the guests were the presidents of major mathematical organizations such as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Mathematical Association of America, the American Mathematical Society, and the World Congress of Mathematicians. Other guests included teachers of mathematics at all levels and people who used mathematics in environmental and financial fields.

A sampling of the shows

January 23, 1999: interviews with Ann Koblitz, author of A Convergence of Lives: Sofia Kovalevskaia: Scientist, Writer, Revolutionary, and Constance Reid, author of Julia: A Life in Mathematics

March 18, 2000: Guillermo Mendieta, "Why I Am Threatening a Hunger Strike Over Mathematics Education"

January 6, 2001: Rebecca Goldburg, "Genetic Engineering, the Environment, and Risk"

September 21, 2002: Valerie DeBellis, "Emotions on Mathematics: Affective Influence on the Learning of Mathematics"

July 26, 2003: Sue White, "Families Learn Real Mathematics Nationwide"

February 7, 2004: Fred Azcarate, "The Mathematics of Health Care and Other Economic Issues."

For a complete listing of the shows and more information about the collection, please see the finding aid for the Math Medley Radio Show Collection. Additional information can be found at Kenschaft's website.

Finite Simple Group Theory Oral History Collection

The second audio collection is the Finite Simple Group Theory Oral History Collection. In 1981 and 1982, Joseph Gallian conducted interviews with five prominent figures in the area of finite simple group theory: Jonathan L. Alperin, Michael Aschbacher, Daniel E. Gorenstein, Robert L. Griess, and Ronald Solomon. The collection consists of the audiocassettes of the interviews and transcripts. All recordings and edited transcripts are available for researchers, with the exception of Robert Griess's transcript. The collection also contains recordings of several lectures Gallian attended in the 1980s. There are no transcripts for these recordings.

For a listing and more information about the Finite Simple Group Theory Oral History Collection, please see the finding aid.

The Archives of American Mathematics (AAM) is a unit of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. Individuals interested in conducting research or donating materials or who have general questions about the AAM should contact Carol Mead, Archivist:, (512) 495-4539.

Revised on July 12, 2010.