Log In

Vera Pless Edit Profile

Mathematics and computer science educator

Vera Pless, American Mathematics and computer science educator. University of Illinois scholar, 1989-1992; recipient Tempo All-Professor Team, Sciences, Chicago Tribune, 1993. Member American Mathematics Society (chair nominating committee 1984), Mathematics Association American, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (Board of Governors 1985-1989), Association Women in Mathematics.

Background

Pless, Vera was born on March 5, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Daughter of Lyman and Helen (Blinder) Stepen.

Education

As a teenager, she was more interested in playing the cello than in mathematics, but she left high school two years early to go to the University of Chicago, and finished her studies there in three years. Her husband became a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Pless moved with him to Massachusetts, where she completed her doctorate from Northwestern in 1957 under the supervision of Kaplansky's student Alex F. T. W. Rosenberg, soon before the birth of her first child.

Career

She is professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Two years later, bored with being a stay-at-home mother, Pless began teaching courses at Boston University, and a few years later began searching for a full-time job. Unable to obtain an academic position, she took a position at the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory in Massachusetts. where she began working on error-correcting codes.

During this time she helped to found an organization called Women in Science and Engineering, and at one point was president. She stayed at AFCRL from 1963 until 1972. A regular visitor and inspiration during this time was Harvard mathematician and cryptographer Andrew Gleason.

When the Mansfield amendment banned the military from performing basic research, she moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she worked as a research associate for Project MAC. She returned to Chicago in 1975 as a full professor of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She retired in 2006. X.

Achievements

  • In 2012 she became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

Works

Membership

Member American Mathematics Society (chair nominating committee 1984), Mathematics Association American, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (Board of Governors 1985-1989), Association Women in Mathematics.

Connections

Married Irwin Pless, June 15, 1952 (divorced 1980). Children: Naomi, Benjamin, Daniel.

father:
Lyman Stepen

mother:
Helen (Blinder) Stepen

spouse:
Irwin Pless

children:
Benjamin Pless

Naomi Pless

Daniel Pless