You are here

Author and Longtime MAA Member Constance Reid Dies at 92

October 20, 2010

Constance Reid, the highly respected author and biographer of mathematicians, died at her home in San Francisco on October 14, 2010, after a long illness. She was 92.

Her books included From Zero to Infinity (1961); A Long Way From Euclid (1963); Hilbert and Courant in Gottingen and New York (1970); Neyman (1982); More Mathematical People (1986); The Search for E.T. Bell: Also Known as John Taine (MAA, 1993); and Julia: A Life in Mathematics (MAA, 1996).

Born in St. Louis in 1918, Reid majored in English at San Diego State University, received a master's degree at the University of California at Berkeley, and taught in San Diego’s school system until her marriage in 1950.

Reid was a member of a well-known mathematical family. Her sister, Julia Robinson, was the first woman mathematician to have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Her brother-in-law, R. M. Robinson, was professor of mathematics at Berkeley.

A longtime member of the MAA, Reid spoke at numerous local and national mathematical meetings, and was a regular contributor to MAA publications, notably The College Mathematics Journal (CMJ). One of her lighter articles was “Mathematicians in the Movies” (Math Horizons, Spring 1994, pp. 18-19).

Reid won many awards for her mathematical exposition, including the George Pólya Award for the article "The Autobiography of Julia Robinson," published in The College Mathematics Journal, and the Beckenbach Book Prize in 1996 for The Search for E.T. Bell, Also Known as John Taine.

She was awarded the 1998 Joint Policy Board for Mathematics Communications Award for the body of her work, which brought mathematics and mathematical information to a nonmathematical audience.

Additional Resources:

Start Date: 
Wednesday, October 20, 2010