## *Whiskeytown talk info* by Andrew Phelps

Date: Mon, 1 Sep 1997 12:51:30 -0700 (PDT)

From: Andrew Phelps <phelps@emf.net>

To: Jeff Haag <jh1@axe.humboldt.edu>

Subject: **Whiskeytown talk info**
## State of Jefferson Math Congress

##### Whiskeytown, October 4, 1997

### Personal Reminiscences of the New Math and Implications for Today

#### __Abstract__

The New Math was a response to Sputnik, where the "level" of
mathematics instruction nationally was to be upgraded. The first
stage was to change the textbooks. Using the School Mathemtics
Study Group, this was accomplished sucessfully by the late 60s.
The second stage was to have been retraining the nation's math
teachers My father as Head of the Institutes Section of the
N.S.F. was responsible for managing this. Overtaken by political
events, this phase was a catastrophe. The succeeding generation of
math students was trained by teachers who weren't prepared for the
textbooks they were using. Lessons from this history are applied
to today's version of the problem of upgrading mathematics education.
The role of the computer revolution among other factors is
considered.
#### __Personal Biography__

Andrew Phelps did his mathematics graduate study at U.C. Berkeley
in the 60s (M.A. 1967, admitted to candidacy for Ph.D. 1969).
Collaterally impacted by the New Math catastrophe which devastated
his family, he studied at Berkeley and received a 2nd B.A. in
psychology in 1977. After further training in cognitive science
and artificial intelligence, he turned to mathematical control theory.
He received his Ph.D. in nonlinear observer theory from U.C. Berkeley
under the direction of A.J. Krener in 1987. He has been teaching
mathematics since 1983. His current assignment is at the College
of the Redwoods and Humboldt State University.