Saunders Mac Lane
Award Name : National Medal of Science
Year of Award : 1989
Award for : Mathematics
Location : Taftville, Connecticut, United States
Saunders Mac Lane was an American mathematician. He was born on August 4, 1909 in Taftville, Connecticut, United States. In 1931, having earned his master's degree and feeling restless at Chicago, he earned a fellowship from the Institute of International Education and became one of the last Americans to study at the University of Gottingen prior to its decline under the Nazis. His greatest influences there were Paul Bernays and Hermann Weyl. By the time he finished his doctorate in 1934, Bernays had been forced to leave because he was Jewish, and Weyl became his main examiner. At Göttingen, Mac Lane also studied with Gustav Herglotz and Emmy Noether. Within days of finishing his degree, he married Dorothy Jones, from Chicago, and soon returned to the U.S. Mac Lane was vice president of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and president of the American Mathematical Society. While presiding over the Mathematical Association of America in the 1950s, he initiated its activities aimed at improving the teaching of modern mathematics. He was a member of the National Science Board, 1974–1980, advising the American government. In 1976, he led a delegation of mathematicians to China to study the conditions affecting mathematics there. Mac Lane was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1949, and received the National Medal of Science in 1989. He died on April 14, 2005 in San Francisco, California, United States.