Paul Sally ’54, MS’56 (seated), a mathematics professor at the University of Chicago who studies representation theory, spoke in McGuinn 334 on December 3 to an audience of state and local educators, textbook developers, and Boston College faculty and students. His subject was eighth-grade algebra. In 2002, Sally launched the Algebra Initiative, a one-year course of study for middle school mathematics teachers offered at three Chicago universities. His aim was to enable algebra instruction at a high standard for promising eighth graders in Chicago’s public schools, and his strategy centered on “turning math teachers into mathematicians,” said Sally, who challenged his McGuinn audience with several sample problems. John Boller (at blackboard), a senior lecturer in mathematics at the University of Chicago, assisted in the presentation.

The lecture was part of the Mathematics Education Seminar series, a joint undertaking of Boston College’s mathematics department and the Lynch School of Education. The program brings distinguished math educators to campusâ€”six in this, the seminar’s first year, according to Solomon Friedberg, the mathematics chairâ€”to provide a forum for discussions of math, education, and math pedagogy.