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Professor W.W. Sawyer

Biography

W. W. Sawyer was born in 1911. He won scholarships to Highgate School and St John's College, Cambridge, where he specialized in relativity and quantum theory. After some years lecturing in British universities, he became head of mathematics at Leicester College of Technology. With the help of his colleagues he studied the applications of mathematics to industry, and developed in detail a method by which engineering apprentices learnt mathematics by handling actual physical objects. In 1948 he became the first head of the mathematics department in the University of Ghana (then Gold Coast). From 1951 to 1956 he lectured in Canterbury College, New Zealand, and from 1957 to 1964 he worked in the USA where he publicly criticized many aspects of the modern math movement. In 1965 he was appointed Professor jointly to the Departments of Mathematics and Education in the University of Toronto, where he worked until 1976, when he retired to Cambridge (England).

He has run many mathematics clubs, both for secondary and primary school pupils. From 1976 until 1996 he worked on Saturday mornings with four or five secondary school boys and girls who were keen on mathematics. They joined the group at about the age of fourteen and continued until they left school, by whìch time they were usually well into university work.

He has written eleven books in all, Mathenatician s Delight (1943) being the first. Since retiring he has written
A First Look at Numerical Functional Analysis, showing practical applications of modern mathematics. He has also written two booklets, with topics for the quicker secondary school pupils to work on once they have finìshed the regular exercises.


Copyright © W. W. Sawyer & Mark Alder 2000

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Version: 22nd March 2001

  

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Professor W.W. Sawyer