William S. Mahavier


Bill Mahavier

A Few Comments by a Former Student and Close Friend

Jim Lemke

Three people had profound influences on my intellectual life and development: John Lentz, a physicist at IBM Watson Scientific Computing Laboratories at Columbia University, who convinced me to abandon my quest to be an electrical engineer and pursue physics instead; John Neuberger at Illinois Institute of Technology, who furthered my experiences in Inquiry Based Learning through his graduate courses in integral equations; and Bill Mahavier, also at IIT, who initiated me into the ways of IBL and ignited my ability to do independent research.

The first two years with Bill were terrifying, exhilarating, and joyous. Terrifying because we had all agreed to use no books for two years and what we were asked to do we didn't know how to do. Exhilarating when I proved my first theorem and, on balance, the most enjoyable experience of any courses I had ever taken.

Bill and John taught me how to use language correctly and effectively. We became close friends and we enjoyed many adventures together, including spelunking in Missouri. In 1994 Bill and his wife, Jean, rode on one of Bill's motorcycles from Emory University in Atlanta to our place in Bigfork, Montana, where Ann and I joined them on my Harley for a 1,000-mile tour of Montana spectacles.

For over fifty years Bill and Jean and John and his wife, Barbara, have been very dear to us. I owe them a lot.

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Latest revision: 26 April 2011