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Professor, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

Professor Emeritus

1986

Bio:

Dr. Abraham Nemeth earned a B.A in Psychology in 1940 from Brooklyn College, a M.A. in Psychology from Columbia University in 1942 and in 1964 a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Wayne State University.  He joined University of Detroit in 1955 as a Mathematics Instructor, was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1960, Associate Professor in 1965, and full Professor in 1976.

He taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels including teaching Fortran programming, assembly languages, automata theory, differential equations, data structures, and advanced numerical analysis.  A member of the Mathematics Department noted that “perhaps Dr. Nemeth’s most valuable contribution to the University was his dedication to the development of the Computer Science program, including the development of the curriculum in the teaching of advanced courses and in the utilization of the system available for students.”

His service outside the classroom included Computer Science Programs Committee, Comprehensive Exam Preparation ommittee, University Policy Committee of the Campus Access Task Force, and the College Graduate Studies Program Committee.  Dr. Nemeth made a number of scholarly presentations at universities and professional meetings around the country.  He participated in international conference on training and placement of blind computer programmers and systems analysts in the Soviet Union.

Dr. Nemeth created a scientific calculator to which blind people would have access through speech.  Hundreds of copies were distributed worldwide through the National Federation of the Blind.  He invented a Braille slide rule, invented the translation of Hebrew into Braille, allowing blind Jewish boys to attain their bar mitzvah, and compiled the Nemeth Dictionary of Braille Musical Symbols.  In 1965 his code for mathematics and scientific notations was adopted by the American Association of Instructors for the Blind as the official code for teaching mathematics and science to the blind.

The announcement from Wayne State University Alumni Association granting Dr. Nemeth the Distinguished Service Award Citation, it was written “Dr. Abraham Nemeth has climbed barriers so high in his quest for knowledge and light that most ordinary men would have given up and remained in the dark.  But Dr. Nemeth is anything but ordinary.  Blind since infancy, he had to virtually write his own language before he could earn his doctorate in mathematics at Wayne State University in 1964.  In so doing, Dr. Nemeth created an internationally recognized system, or language, with transcribed mathematical symbols and digits into Braille so that other blind students are now able to delve into the abstract reaches of astronomy, nuclear physics and higher mathematics.”

In 1981, Dr. Nemeth was honored with an award as the International Year of Disabled Person’s Outstanding Michigan Handicapped Person.  The award was co-sponsored by the Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children.

Fr. Robert A. Mitchell, S.J., President, University of Detroit in a June 19, 1986 letter notified Dr. Nemeth of his Professor Emeritus honor.  In his letter, Fr. Mitchell wrote “Your years with us have been marked with excellence.  You have not only been a most respected citizen on our campus for your teaching and service to students; your publication of the Nemeth Braille Code and your visit to the USSR on blind computer programs have made you internationally famous.  We are very fortunate that you shared your many talents with all of us here at the university.”

 

University of Detroit

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