Archives of American Mathematics Endowment
Dr. Thomas F. Banchoff specializes in geometry and topology of smooth and polyhedral surfaces in three- and four-dimensional space as well as the use of computer graphics in teaching and research. He received his undergraduate degree from Notre Dame and his masters and PhD under Professor Shiing-Shen Chern from the University of California, Berkeley. His post-doctorate experience included two years at Harvard University and one year at the University of Amsterdam.
In 1967, Banchoff joined the faculty at Brown University until his retirement in 2014 with a distinction of professor emeritus of mathematics. His illustrious teaching career includes positions around the world. He won the Mathematical Association of America’s Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics (1996), a Lester R. Ford Award (1978) for expository writing, the Joseph Priestly Medallion from Dickinson College (1987), the National Science Foundation’s Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholar (2004), and honorary degrees from Rhode Island College and Fairfield University. Even after retiring, Dr. Banchoff has continued to serve as a visiting professor, most recently as the first Paul Halmos Visiting Professor at Santa Clara University in 2018.
He was president of the Mathematical Association of America from 1999 to 2000, where he initiated the donation of the organization’s records to the Briscoe Center’s Archives of American Mathematics. The experience was his first serious immersion into the archival process, helping to structure storied material so that it becomes accessible for scholars and students who want to tap into the records about the creation and presentation of mathematical ideas and the lives of the people who create and profess them. He has since donated his own papers to the archive.
Banchoff made the lead gift to establish an endowment to benefit the Archives in perpetuity. Others have followed his lead in supporting the Archives for American Mathematics Endowment. Banchoff currently serves on the Briscoe Center’s Archives of American Mathematics Endowment Steering Committee which is dedicated to building the endowment principal through additional gifts from other donors so that it can support an archivist focused on building and managing the collections and providing research services to mathematics students, scholars, and other interested researchers. Dr. Banchoff said, “Supporting an endowment for the Archives of American Mathematics is critical to ensuring historically valuable materials are preserved and accessible for generations of scholars to discover the stories of those who have gone before us as well as the stories of those of us still involved in the process. It is my pleasure to contribute to this important endeavor.”
He continues to be active with the Mathematical Association of America as a board member and is currently chair of the Joint Committee on Archives of the Mathematical Association of America and the American Mathematical Society.
Dr. Banchoff’s interests include the life and work of Edwin A. Abbott, and he co-wrote Flatland: An Edition with Notes and Commentary with William F. Lindgren after decades of research. He is also fascinated in connecting mathematics and art. He lectures about the fourth dimension and shares his personal anecdotes about Salvador Dali.