Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Ordinary people can be taught to understand, learn and enjoy important, non-trivial mathematics"

My dear friends,

In the public interest, we are providing Sawyer-lovers a link to an article-in-a-box, taken from the July 2009 issue of Resonance, which is a journal of science education, published monthly by the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, India.

The article entitled, "W.W. Sawyer (1911-2008)" is written by Dr. Vivek Monteiro, who is a founder of Nav Nirmiti (NN), an organization working for math universalization.

In the opening paragraph of his article, Dr Monteiro says, "Mathematics is commonly believed to be a difficult and esoteric subject, a holy temple situated at high altitude accessible only to a select and privileged few.

"The life and work of W. W. Sawyer, who passed away last year at the ripe age of 97, was dedicated to disproving the above thesis by demonstrating the converse proposition: that ordinary people can be taught to understand, learn and enjoy important, non-trivial mathematics."

After Sawyer’s death, a collection of his books in various translations, his hand-written notes, and photographs were kindly donated to Nav Nirmiti, by his daughter and son-in-law, Anne and Pedro Leon.

Nav Nirmiti is setting up a "Prof. W. W. Sawyer Memorial" in Pune, India, which will archive these materials and also translate his books into Indian languages. Translation into Marathi and Hindi has commenced.

The Sawyer archive and the Memorial will be located at the following address:
Third floor, Umed Building,
Raman Baug Chowk,
564B/2, Shaniwar Peth,
Pune - 411030, India.

Those interested in the work of the Sawyer Memorial may contact the author:
Dr. Vivek Monteiro,

Yours sincerely,

On behalf of the Sawyer Memorial,
- Joe Pinto.

Pune, India, Wednesday, 19th August 2009.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Proposal for a memorial to the late W. W. Sawyer at Pune, India

Mumbai, India; Wednesday, 4th March 2009.

Dear friends,

Prof. W. W. Sawyer, a much-loved teacher of mathematics and internationally renowned author of popular books on mathematics like Mathematician's Delight, Prelude to Mathematics, Vision in Elementary Mathematics, passed away on 15 February 2008, at the age of 96.

In 2005, we were able to contact him by e-mail, at Toronto, Canada, where he was staying with his daughter, Anne Leon. In our correspondence, Geeta Mahashabde and I informed Anne that we are thinking of setting up a W.W. Sawyer library in India to propagate Sawyer's important writings.

After Prof. Sawyer passed away, we were honoured when Anne offered Nan Nirmiti, the complete collection of hand-written notes of Prof. Sawyer, stored in box files, as well as copies of his books in various translations.

Nav Nirmiti has been discussing the setting up of a memorial with Dr. Kiran Phatak and Ajit Phatak, who own the premises where "Gunwatta" is located in Pune. We are happy to announce that Nav Nirmiti (NN) and the Phatak family of Pune have agreed to set up a W.W. Sawyer Memorial Archive at the following address:
Third floor, Umed Building,
Raman Baug Chowk,
564B/2, Shaniwar Peth,
Pune - 411030, India.

The same premises will also be utilised later to set up a similar memorial to the late Dada Phatak, their grandfather, who was a popular teacher of geography and science and who developed many educational tools, like magic lantern slides and stereoscopic viewers.

We plan to establish a trust, which will raise a corpus of around Rs. 10-15 lakhs to sustain the memorial. Navnirmiti has decided to make an initial contribution of Rs. 2 lakhs to this proposed trust. Contributions from Sawyer-lovers in India should hopefully take us to the target.

The first instalment of the Sawyer manuscripts have arrived in India, courtesy of Prof. Ravichandran Venkatraman, Head of the Dept. of Nuclear Physics at the University of Chennai. So the memorial is taking shape. We also hope to translate and publish at least two of Sawyer's books in Indian languages before Sawyer's birth centenary on 5 April 2011.

This is to request your feedback on this proposal, with a financial commitment, if possible, and also to request you to forward this letter to other Sawyer lovers.

With best wishes from Navnirmiti,
Dr. Vivek Monteiro.

Mumbai, India; Wednesday, 4th March 2009.