Lange, Lester Henry (1924-2010)


Lange, Lester Henry (1924-2010)

Date Updated




Academic Rank

Professor/Dean of the School of Science

Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

University of Notre Dame, 1960 Ph.D.

Stanford University, 1950 MS

Valparaiso University (Indiana), 1948 AB

University of California at Berkeley, 1943‑1944

Teaching Experience

San Jose State University, 1960-1988

(Head of SJSU Mathematics Department, 1961-1970)

(Dean of Science, SJSU, 1970-1988)

Founded the Society of Archimedes (The College of Science Society), 1982

Elected Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, 1985

Notre Dame , 1956-1960

Valparaiso, 1950-1956

Selected Publications

Elementary Linear Algebra, New York: Wiley, 1968.

Co‑authored the obituary of George Polya for the Bulletin of the London Mathematical Society, 1987.

More than 50 articles in books and journals in the USA, France, Italy, Japan, Thailand, China, and England.

Five papers have become parts of anthologies in algebra, geometry, applied mathematics, calculus, and linear algebra.

Two papers won national prizes from the Mathematical Association of America for distinguished expository writing: The L. R. Ford Sr. Award in 1971, for a geometry paper in Mathematics Magazine and The George Polya Award in 1992 for a paper on permutations, eigenvalues, and convergence of Markov chains in The College Mathematics Journal.

Personal Commentary

Since retiring, he has been serving a consortium of seven CSU campuses as Special Advisor to the Director of the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) on Monterey Bay.

In 1996, with personal funds, Les and Bey have established the ARCHIMEDES SCHOLARSHIP for students of the College of Science. Each year, beginning in the year 2000, a faculty committee will choose a student who is to be known as the Archimedes Scholar for that year and will enjoy the unrestricted use of at least $2000. There will be a different Archimedes Scholar each year.

My wife is an alumna of SJSU with a 1950 Stanford MS in Chemistry. In earlier days, as a member of a major team at the Stanford Medical School investigating the pharmacology connected with human cancer, she was listed as a contributor on at least eight scientific papers.

My career has not been that of a research mathematician, though I have been privileged to discover some beautiful theorems in my time. I learned that we should each do what we do best. I have had a rewarding career marked by a perceived effectiveness in dealing with people, a steady devotion, I hoped, to academic quality, and a certain administrative firmness, all in the service of the common goal of helping SJSU be a quality university where professors and students can do their best. To have had others note my success as an expositor of quality mathematics surely fits in with what I have tried to do. That's all been a real kick‑‑but all who know me do know very well that my wonderful family has been my first love and highest priority all along . ... And it must be added that I am very grateful for having survived the (1944‑45) Battle of the Bulge in Belgium as a jeep driver for an infantry captain‑‑and I am furthermore grateful to the people of the USA for having paid to have me educated in universities. I have tried to pay back‑‑and I have tried to have others, too, remember with their treasure that none of us became educated without the help of others.

Date Completed: 5/96

Adapted from: Biographies of Retired Faculty San Jose State University 1997: A Project of the Emeritus Faculty Association of San Jose State University. San Jose, CA: The University, 1997.


Lange, Lester Henry (1924-2010)