(NPR) A Math Teacher’s Life Summed Up By The Gifted Students He Mentored

Eventually [Vamsi] Mootha headed off to Stanford University, then Harvard medical school where he works today.

A half-dozen or so years ago, Mootha found out he had a lot of company in being mentored by George Berzsenyi.

“I share an office with somebody named Joel Hirschhorn,” Mootha tells me. Hirschhorn is a geneticist at Harvard and the Broad Institute. Mootha and Hirschhorn were trying to solve a math problem related to their work.

“Joel is up at the board, he’s drawing out some equations,” Mootha recalls. “After we worked on the problem, we’re just reminiscing about our high school days in mathematics.

“So I start to tell Joel about how I got this letter after winning a science fair,” Mootha says, “and before I could actually finish that sentence, he actually asked me, ‘Wait. Did that letter come from somebody named George Berzsenyi?’ And I said, ‘Yes, how do you know?’ And he said, ‘I used to communicate with George Berzsenyi also.’ ”

Hirschhorn would send in solutions to problems in a math newsletter Berzsenyi edited.

Read it all.


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