Calculus guru

All Things Considered pays tribute to a great calculus teacher, Louis Leithold, author of a classic calculus textbook.

So does this LA Times obituary:

The biggest day of the year, next to the exam, was when Leithold taught the fundamental theorem, a central idea of calculus that says that the sum of infinitesimal changes in a quantity over time equals the net change in quantity.

Usually a casual dresser, he would wear a jacket to class. After a proper buildup, he removed the coat to reveal a T-shirt emblazoned with, what else, the famous theorem.

He died at age 80, days before his Malibu High students were to take the AP Calculus exam.

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  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    If he died at 80, what was the rate of his death?

  2. methods says:

    I ordered Leithold’s book yesterday. It will be interesting to see if I can get a sense of him through it. I was a math. major but hadn’t looked at this for a while. Here’s a link to a statement of the “Fundamental Theorem.”

  3. I love the idea of dressing up for exciting content. I think I may borrow that one.

  4. Another great teacher no one’s ever heard of and who’ll soon be forgotten.

    The utter lack of concern about the lost skills and knowledge is as depressing as it is predictable.

  5. Naturally, modern educators don’t give a damn about a genius like Leithold. Genius is just another uncool, irrelevant, non-PC white male oppression. Facts and knowledge, and the ability to teach them, count for nothing anymore.