Department of Mathematics

some math pictures

Items about former faculty and staff are listed on this page. It contains items received since July 2010. For an archive of news items posted before then, click here.

Click here to contribute an item.

Javier ARSUAGA, Associate Professor, accepted in 2014 a professorship in mathematics at the University of California, Davis.

William FINZER is Senior Scientist at KCP Technologies in Emeryville, California, where he leads the Fathom Dynamic Data development team. Fathom is a software system for teaching statistics. Finzer was a lecturer in our Department for several years around 1980, closely associated with Prof. Diane Resek.

Newman H. FISHER, Professor Emeritus, was honored at the May 2013 commencement services of the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. The University was celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of its PhD degree program. Newman was one of its first three graduates.

Grazina Ula FURMAN served the Department as assistant office manager around 2010. She left to accept a position as Faculty Recruitment Administrator at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. There, she has already won its Heart Award for exceptional service.

Annette KIEWIET De JONGE served the Department as assistant office manager around 1997, while she was a graduate student here in biology. Annette is now Criminalist Supervisor for the California Department of Justice.

David B. MEREDITH (1942–2012) died on 11 December from complications during heart surgery in San Francisco. He had just completed the SFSU early retirement program. A native of San Carlos, California, David studied mathematics and philosophy at Stanford, then earned a PhD from Brandeis University in 1969 in algebraic geometry, supervised by Paul Monsky. He came to our Department in 1972, after postdoctoral positions at Harvard and MIT. David created the mathematical software package X(PLORE), which has been widely used worldwide. He spurred the development of our graduate program, and served as our Chair, 2002–2006. Always heavily involved in academic affairs, he served as Chair of the SFSU Academic Senate, 2006–2007. David married Idell Weydemeyer in 1973 and spent many summers working her family farm in Montana. He participated in many activities related to his sons’ schools. In recent years he took up sailing, and helped the disabled participate in that sport. Our University is establishing a scholarship fund in his honor.

Susan NARUCKI was appointed Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego, in 2008. She is currently its Associate Chair. Susan was our Department’s assistant office manager around 1982, while she was a music student here, concentrating on vocal performance. Our old-timers may recall her operatic rendition of Happy Birthday, in Western Onion garb and embellished by material from Handel, at an informal party for lecturer William FINZER. The Grammy-Award-winning soprano has earned international acclaim as a singer of luminous tone, superb musicianship and distinctive artistry. She has presented over one hundred world premieres in opera, concert and recording, enjoying close collaborations with many of the world's leading composers. She is one of the leading interpreters of contemporary music of her generation.

Siegfried F. NEUSTADTER (1924–2012) (Fred) was born in Neumarkt, in central Germany. During his school years there he saw the figure of Christ in the schoolrooms replaced by that of Hitler. Because of his Jewish ancestry, Fred was forced to sit apart from his classmates, and often beaten up as he walked home from school. In 1938 his family came to San Francisco, where he attended Lowell High School. An outstanding student, he received a scholarship to attend the University of California, Berkeley. During his three years as an undergraduate he completed majors in mathematics, physics, and chemistry, often taking thirty units per semester. He chose to pursue mathematics as a graduate student and completed the PhD in 1948 with a dissertation on certain Riemann surfaces, supervised by Griffith C. Evans. Fred was honored by a three-year appointment as Benjamin Pierce Fellow at Harvard University, then took positions as applied mathematician at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory and consultant for the Sylvania Corporation. Fred joined our Department in 1958 and retired in 1993. He was a codeveloper of our applied-mathematics program and a frequent consultant to colleagues throughout the College of Science and Engineering. His last published research was on the solution of the wave equation with a moving boundary. —Contributed by Newman Fisher, Professor Emeritus. For photographs, contributed by Robert J. Douglas, Professor Emeritus, click here.

Albert POLLATCHEK (1944–2012) joined our faculty as a lecturer in 1976, and served here until his retirement in 2005. His family had emigrated to the United States from Vienna shortly before World War II, and settled in San Francisco. His father held a doctorate in chemistry. Pollatchek attended Washington High School and the University of California at Berkeley. He earned the PhD in mathematics there in 1975 with a dissertation on combinatorics and semigroups, supervised by John L. Rhodes. Pollatchek was also an expert on late-nineteenth-century American pocket watches.—Contributed by Newman Fisher, Professor Emeritus.

James T. SMITH is editing this news page. He is retired from teaching at SFSU. His 2010 paper, “Definitions and nondefinability in geometry,” won a Lester R. Ford award for exposition in mathematics, from the Mathematical Association of America.

Mariel VAZQUEZ, Associate Professor, accepted in 2014 a professorship in mathematics and in microbiology and molecular genetics at the University of California, Davis.   

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