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Wilfred Kaplan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

professor of mathematics at the University of Michigan for 46 years, Wilfred Kaplan

from 1940 through 1986. His research focused on dynamical systems,

the topology of curve families, complex function theory, and

differential equations. In total, he authored over 30 research papers and

11 textbooks.

For over thirty years Kaplan was an active member of the American

Association of University Professors (AAUP) and served as president

of the University of Michigan chapter from 1978 to 1985.

Contents

1 Early life

1.1 Education

1.2 Personal life

2 Work Wilfred Kaplan, circa 1960

2.1 Teaching and research Born November 28, 1915

2.2 AAUP

Boston, Massachusetts,

2.3 Additional clubs/Memberships

3 Awards US

4 Retirement Died December 26, 2007

5 Selected bibliography (aged 92)

6 References

Ann Arbor, Michigan,

US

Nationality American

Early life

Alma mater Harvard University

emeritus of

Wilfred Kaplan was born in Boston, Massachusetts to Jacob and Anne mathematics

Kaplan.[1] He attended Boston Latin School[1] and furthered his President of

education at Harvard University, where he was granted his A.B. in University of

mathematics in 1936 and graduated summa cum laude.[2] Later that Michigan Chapter

same year he received his master's degree at Harvard.[3] Kaplan of the AAUP

received a Rogers Fellow scholarship to study in Europe from 1936-

Spouse(s) Ida Roetting (married

1937, during his second year of graduate school.[3] He was based out of

Zrich, Switzerland where many of the mathematicians working on the 1938)

applications of topology to differential equations were located.[3] He Children Roland Kaplan

also spent a month in Rome to work with famous mathematician Tullio Muriel Kaplan

Levi-Civita.[3] Upon returning to the United States, Kaplan accepted a Parent(s) Jacob Kaplan

yearlong teaching fellowship at Rice Institute for the 1938-1939 school

Anne Kaplan

year, thus completing his graduate program.[2] He received his Ph.D.

from Harvard in 1939 under the advisement of Hassler Whitney. His

dissertation covered regular curve families filling the plane.[4]

Personal life

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9/28/2017 Wilfred Kaplan - Wikipedia

While attending lectures at the Eidgenssische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zrich he met a fellow

mathematician, Ida Roetting, whom he nicknamed Heidi and would eventually marry in 1938.[3] The couple

lived in Houston for a year after their wedding while Kaplan taught at the Rice Institute. The Kaplans had two

children, Roland and Muriel.[1] Wilfred Kaplan died at the age of 92 after a short illness.[2]

Work

Teaching and research

After Kaplans short teaching position at Rice Institute, he went on to teach at the College of William and Mary

in Virginia for one year.[3] In 1940 he was invited by T. H. Hildebrandt to join the faculty at the University of

Michigan, after he had previously attended the Topology Congress.[5] The mathematics department at this time

was diminishing due to the effects of World War II. Enrollment was down and some of the faculty had been

granted leaves to do military research.[5] When asked to record his contribution to the war effort, Kaplan

mentioned teaching math exclusively to Air Force pre-meteorology students in the spring and summer of 1943,

as well as teaching Navy V-12 and Army ASTP students for the majority of the academic year 1943-44. In June

1944, Kaplan worked at Brown University as a researcher in an Applied Mathematics Group for the Taylor

Model Basin, the Watertown Arsenal and the Bureau of Ordnance of the Navy Department. He continued his

research at Brown for 17 months. In May 1947 he outlined a curriculum for a new Lectures on Mathematics

Project sponsored by the Office of Naval Research.[3]

His early research focused primarily on dynamical systems, and the topology of curve families. In 1955, he

became especially interested in complex function theory and made a significant contribution to mathematics in

his study of a special class of Schlicht functions, for which he showed that the Bieberbach Conjecture held.[2][6]

His later research took on a more applied approach as he returned once more to differential equations, this time

engaging in a more global analysis. In total, Wilfred Kaplan authored about 30 research papers.[2][3]

Kaplan was named assistant professor in 1944, associate professor in 1950 and full professor in 1956.[3] His

lectures were characterized by clarity and directness, a skill which allowed him to write several popular

mathematics textbooks.[2] An updated version of his Advanced Calculus textbook is still used widely today. A

selection of Kaplans books can be found in the bibliography.

Kaplan taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses during his time at Michigan, and further advised

eight doctoral students.[4] Kaplans skillful teaching won him respect among students and coworkers. Donald

Lewis, chair of the mathematics department and co-author said,[2] "First and foremost, Wilfred Kaplan was a

teacher. He enjoyed conveying the beauty and usefulness of mathematics, and his students responded

enthusiastically. He was a superb expositor, and his ability to elegantly convey mathematical ideas explains the

enormous impact of his textbooks. When we were writing our joint texts, he never came to a meeting without a

new idea to be incorporated."

One of Kaplans primary goals as an educator was bridging the gap between pure and applied mathematics. He

sympathized with the plight of engineers who felt the pressure to master more and more math concepts and

then master the additional skill of applying it to their field. Kaplan wrote math textbooks specifically for

engineers, such as Advanced Mathematics for Engineers (1981), because he believed teachers needed to work

on presenting mathematical knowledge more efficiently to this group.[3] Furthermore, he argued that science

students in general, but specifically engineers, needed to be given other resources such as textbooks and articles

to further their study outside of lectures along with the tools to employ those resources appropriately. He urged

other textbook authors to use clear and simple language whenever possible, in order to make the more

advanced material accessible to those with limited background.[3]

He also taught a class called "Mathematical Ideas in Science and the Humanities," which focused on the use of

math as an instrument to organize thinking about complex problems.[3] More than just learning specific math

content, Kaplan believed math was a medium through which to teach conciseness and how to recognize

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9/28/2017 Wilfred Kaplan - Wikipedia

analogies, determine logical consequences of assumptions, and learn what questions need to be asked to tackle

a given problem in any field.[3]

AAUP

Wilfred Kaplan became a member of the national American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in

1946.[6] He served as the vice president of the Michigan Conference AAUP from 1966 to 1968 and as president

from 1969 to 1970.[7] From 1973 to 1978, Kaplan served on the executive committee of the University of

Michigan Chapter of the AAUP and took over as president in the years from 1978 through 1985. He continued

being an active member even in his retirement, serving as executive secretary from 1985 to 2002.[3] Kaplan

received grievances from faculty members and supported collective bargaining (although the University faculty

was never unionized). One of his primary concerns was retired professors on fixed incomes who were suffering

under rising inflation. He sought to obtain a grant to provide the required financial aid. He also argued that

retirees should receive more information about the health care options available to them, and he secured

increases in maximum coverage and the annual reinstatement amounts allowed to retirees under the university

health plan.[3]

In the 1980s, Kaplan wrote an extensive proposal for a study of higher education in the United States. He

argued that there should be more research of the inevitable challenges that would arise and that the University

of Michigan would be a great case study whose results would be relevant for many public universities. In the

proposal he outlined a variety of topics to be explored in the study: the historical background of higher

education including tuition rates, enrollment rates, and changes in social customs; a study of changing

demographics; the economic need for college-trained people for the betterment of society; and a thorough

account of the present resources available to higher education and how these could be modified for greater

efficiency.

In the 1990s, Kaplans correspondence and reports focused heavily on the "grave difficulties" between faculty

government leaders (members of the Senate Assembly) and the top administration offices, specifically

President Duderstadt and Provost Whitaker. Many faculty grievances were concerned with the many decisions

being made without faculty input and included complaints that President Duderstadt had only modest interest

in the views of others within the faculty. [3]

Additional clubs/Memberships

Kaplan was involved in a wide variety of other clubs as well. His interest in art lead him to become the

president of the Washtenaw County Council for Arts.[3] Kaplan also made a significant financial contribution to

the ONCE Group, a group of artists, musicians, and film-makers known for their annual ONCE music festival

in Ann Arbor; the group also spearheaded a film festival and a theatre ensemble in the 1960s. He was also a

member of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the American Physical Society (APS), and the

Mathematical Association of America (MAA). He was on the States Higher Education Capital Investment

Advisory Committee although little is known about his specific role there.[3] He was also Vice Chair of the

Universitys Senate Advisory Committee on Academic Affairs, a subcommittee of the Senate Assembly.

Additionally, Kaplan served as the treasurer of the Ann Arbor Unitarian Fellowship from 1972 to 2002.[3] In his

later years he was president of the University of Michigan Retirees Association.[3]

Awards

Kaplan was named collegiate professor by the Board of Regents of the university from 1973-1975 for his

accomplishments as a teacher.[3] In 1984, he received the Good Teaching Award, from what was then called the

AMOCO foundation, now BP Amoco.[8] The award recognized excellence in undergraduate instruction and

sought to incentive great teaching. While serving on the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs,

Kaplan received their Distinguished Faculty Governance Award in 1986.[9]

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9/28/2017 Wilfred Kaplan - Wikipedia

Retirement

Wilfred Kaplan retired in May 1986 after 46 years of service to the university. It was then that he received the

emeritus distinction. Despite his retirement, Kaplan was still involved with the university. In the years to come

he would receive several requests from the University Regents Commission to return to active duty to teach

specific classes in the mathematics department.[3] In 1990 he helped establish the Academic Freedom Lecture

Fund (AFLF), allowing professors that were suspended or fired during the McCarthy era to hold lectures on

campus.[2][6] The film Keeping in Mind, an account of the mistreatment of the three professors who were

suspended for their unpopular views during the McCarthy era, was played in the spring of 1989. After an

audience member suggested the University make amends for its mistreatment of the three professors, the

AAUP pursued this goal. First, university officials were contacted and a proposal was sent to the Senate

Advisory Committee on University Affairs in October 1989. The Senate Assembly established the Academic

Lecture Freedom Fund which was funded, in part, by the national AAUP.[10] Kaplan was on the AFLFs board

of directors until his death.[6]

After his wife's death in 2005, Kaplan wrote a book titled Bill and Heidi: Beginning of our Lives Together,

which was a translated composition of all their early correspondence before their wedding.[3] Kaplan died on

December 26, 2007 after a short illness.[2] After his death, Walter Dublin, Professor Emeritus of Mechanical

Engineering, wrote about Kaplan in a letter to the editor of the Ann Arbor News that Kaplan "worked tirelessly

to improve the faculty--and, de facto, the university--by his work on many committees, work that spanned

multiple decades. While he was a leader, he was never domineering, but always logical. Often, he would

quietly remind his associates when they had strayed from their stated purpose or point out a legal or historical

obstacle to what was being considered. He was always up to date and on the mark until he died, many years

after he had retired."[9]

Selected bibliography

Kaplan, Wilfred. Advanced Calculus. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1952. Print.

Kaplan, Wilfred. Ordinary Differential Equations. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Pub., 1958. Print.

Kaplan, Wilfred, and Donald J. Lewis. Calculus and Linear Algebra. New York: Wiley, 1970. Print.

Kaplan, Wilfred. Advanced Mathematics for Engineers. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Pub., 1981.

Print.

Kaplan, Wilfred. Operational Methods for Linear Systems. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Pub., 1962.

Print.

Kaplan, Wilfred. "Regular curve-families filling the plane, I." Duke Mathematical Journal 7.1 (1940):

154185. Web.

Kaplan, Wilfred. "Regular Curve-families Filling the Plane, II." Duke Mathematical Journal 8.1 (1941):

11-46. Web.

Kaplan, Wilfred. "Topology of Level Curves of Harmonic Functions." Transactions of the American

Mathematical Society 63.3 (1948): 514. Web.

Kaplan, Wilfred. "Dynamics of Linear Systems (Vaclav Dolez Al)." SIAM Review 8.2 (1966): 246-2.

ProQuest. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.

Kaplan, Wilfred. "Applications of Undergraduate Mathematics in Engineering (Ben Noble)." SIAM

Review 10.3 (1968): 383-2. ProQuest. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.

Kaplan, Wilfred. "Topics in Mathematical System Theory (Rudolf E. Kalman, Peter L. Falb and Michael

A. Arbib)." SIAM Review 12.1 (1970): 157-2. ProQuest. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.

Kaplan, Wilfred. "Topics in Ordinary Differential Equations: A Potpourri (William D. Lakin and David

A. Sanchez)." SIAM Review 14.3 (1972): 508-2. ProQuest. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.

Kaplan, Wilfred. "Ordinary Differential Equations in the Complex Domain (Einar Hills)." SIAM Review

19.4 (1977): 749-1. ProQuest. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.

Kaplan, Wilfred. "Green's Functions and Boundary Value Problems (Ivar Stackgold)." SIAM Review

23.1 (1981): 117-2. ProQuest. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfred_Kaplan 4/5

9/28/2017 Wilfred Kaplan - Wikipedia

1. Kalte, Pamela M.; Nemeh, Katherine H.; editors, Noah Schusterbauer, project (2005). American men &

women of science a biographical directory of today's leaders in physical, biological, and related sciences

(http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX3400257880&v=2.1&u=umuser&it=r&p=GVRL&s

w=w&authCount=1) (22nd ed.). Detroit: Thomson Gale. p. 211. ISBN 9781414404622. Retrieved

21 March 2015.

2. Duren, Peter. "Obituaries" (http://www.ur.umich.edu/0708/Jan28_08/obits.shtml). The University Record.

University of Michigan. Retrieved 21 March 2015.

3. "Finding Aid" (http://quod.lib.umich.edu/b/bhlead/umich-bhl-03122?rgn=Entire+Finding+Aid;sort=occu

r;subview=standard;type=simple;view=reslist;q1=Wilfred+Kaplan). Bentley Historical Library.

Retrieved 30 January 2015.

4. "Wilfred Kaplan" (http://www.genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu/id.php?id=7702). The Mathematics

Genealogy Project. North Dakota State University. Retrieved 17 February 2015.

5. Kaplan, Wilfred. "Mathematics at the University of Michigan" (https://www.lsa.umich.edu/UMICH/mat

h/Home/About%20Us/History/wilfred%20history.pdf) (PDF). University of Michigan. Retrieved

21 March 2015.

6. "Faculty History Project: Wilfred Kaplan" (http://um2017.org/faculty-history/faculty/wilfred-kaplan/me

moir). um2017. University of Michigan. Retrieved 24 March 2015.

7. "Past Officers/Boards" (http://www.miaaup.org). Michigan Conference American Association of

University Professors. Retrieved 24 March 2015.

8. "GOOD TEACHING AWARD (formerly AMOCO)" (http://www.ouhsc.edu/provost/documents/GoodTe

achingAward.pdf) (PDF). University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

9. Maloney, Wendi (May 2008). "Wilfred Kaplan, 1915-2007" (http://search.proquest.com/docview/232312

313/abstract/626C82829D144FE8PQ/1?accountid=14667). Academe. 94 (3): 9. Retrieved 17 February

2015.

10. "Academic Freedom Lecture Fund" (http://www.umich.edu/~aflf/background.html). University of

Michigan. Retrieved 21 March 2015.

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may

apply. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Wikipedia is a registered

trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.

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