Thursday, December 15, 2005

Letter to Haaretz

The following letter was sent to Haaretz in response to an article published on Sunday:

It is astounding to read these opening words in Tamaara Traubman's article on Professor Robert Aumann's receiving the Nobel Prize in Economics for his mathematical research into game theory: "At the yeshiva high school where he studied, he was told he was not very good in mathematics, and they advised him to choose something simpler, like auto mechanics."

In fact, in a long interview published earlier this year in Macroeconomic Dynamics, a scholarly journal, Professor Aumann was asked at the outset to identify "the milestones on your scientific route." He responded "My interest in mathematics actually started in high school - the Rabbi Jacob Joseph Yeshiva on the lower east side of New York City. There was a marvelous teacher of mathematics, by the name of Joseph Gansler. The classes were very small; the high school had just started operating. He used to gather the students around his desk. What really turned me on was geometry, theorems and proofs. So all the credit belongs to Joey Gansler."

He has said much the same on other occasions.

Dr. Marvin Schick
Rabbi Jacob Joseph School