Paul Sally

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Paul Sally
Paul Sally Austin 2008.jpg
Paul Sally in 2008
Paul Joseph Sally, Jr.

(1933-01-29)January 29, 1933
DiedDecember 30, 2013(2013-12-30) (aged 80)
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materBoston College (B.S., M.S.)
Brandeis University (PhD)
Known forMathematics education
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Chicago
Doctoral advisorRay Kunze

Paul Joseph Sally, Jr. (January 29, 1933 – December 30, 2013) was a professor of mathematics at the University of Chicago,[1] where he was the Director of Undergraduate Studies for 30 years.[2][3] His research areas were p-adic analysis and representation theory.[4]

He created several programs to improve the preparation of school mathematics teachers, and was seen by many as "a legendary math professor at the University of Chicago".[5]

Life and education[edit]

Sally was born in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts on January 29, 1933.[6][7] He was a star basketball player at Boston College High School.[4][7] He received his BS and MS degrees from Boston College in 1954 and 1956.[8]

After a short career in Boston area high schools and at Boston College[9] he entered the first class of mathematics graduate students at Brandeis in 1957 [4] and earned his PhD in 1965.[6] During his graduate career he married Judith D. Sally and had three children in three years. David, the oldest, is a Visiting Associate Professor of Business Administration at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College,[4][10] Stephen is a partner at Ropes & Gray,[4][11] and Paul, the youngest, is Superintendent at New Trier High School.[4][12]

Sally was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1948.[13] He wore an eye patch and had two prosthetic legs, which caused him to be widely referred to as "Professor Pirate," and "The Math Pirate" around the University of Chicago campus.[7] He was known to detest cell phones in class and has destroyed several over the years by inviting students to stomp on them or by throwing them out of a window.[4]


Sally joined the University of Chicago faculty in 1965 and taught there until his death.[4] He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study from 1967–68, 1971–72, 1981–82, and 1983-84.[14]

While at the IAS he collaborated with Joseph Shalika.[15] In 1983, he became the first director of the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project, which is responsible for the Everyday Mathematics program (also called "Chicago math").[4]

He founded Seminars for Elementary Specialists and Mathematics Educators (SESAME) in 1992.[4] He co-founded the Young Scholars Program with Dr. Diane Herrmann in 1988, providing mathematical enrichment for gifted Chicago-area students in grades 7–12.[4][16]


Sally died December 30, 2013, aged 80, from congestive heart failure, at the University of Chicago Hospital.[2][17][18]


Selected publications[edit]

  • Sally, P.J., Jr.; Shalika, J.A. (1968). "Characters of the discrete series of representations of SL(2) over a local field". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  • Sally, Judith (2003). Trimathlon: A Workout Beyond the School Curriculum. AK Peters, Ltd. ISBN 978-1-56881-184-0.
  • Sally, Jr., Paul J.; Diane L. Herrmann (2004). Number, Shape and Symmetry: an Introduction to Mathematics. Pacific Grove: Brooks Cole. ISBN 0-534-40539-8.
  • Sally, Jr., Paul J.; Diane L. Herrmann (2005). Number Theory and Geometry for College Students. Pacific Grove: Brooks Cole. ISBN 0-534-40536-3.
  • Sally, Judith (2007). Roots to Research: A Vertical Development of Mathematical Problems. Providence, RI: American Mathematical Society. ISBN 978-0-8218-4403-8.[22]
  • Sally, Jr., Paul J. (2008). Tools of the Trade: Introduction to Advanced Mathematics. Providence, RI: American Mathematical Society. ISBN 0-8218-4634-5.


  1. ^ "Department of Mathematics: People". University of Chicago. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  2. ^ a b Crane, Joy (2013-12-30). "Paul Sally, influential math professor, dies at 80". Chicago Maroon. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
  3. ^ "Department of Mathematics: About". University of Chicago. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Golus, Carrie (May–June 2008). "Sally marks the spot". University of Chicago Magazine. 100 (4). Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  5. ^ Billy Baker (2008-04-28). "A life of unexpected twists takes her from farm to math department". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
  6. ^ a b "Biographies of Candidates" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society. 49 (8): 970–81. September 2002. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  7. ^ a b c Billy Baker (2007-10-01). "The powerhouse 'pirate' of the math classroom". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-04-15.
  8. ^ a b Steele, Diana (1995-05-25). "Amoco Teaching Award: Paul Sally". University of Chicago Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  9. ^ "Sally Award". Boston College. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
  10. ^ "Tuck School of Business Faculty Directory". Dartmouth College. Retrieved 2011-05-08.
  11. ^ "Ropes & Gray Professional Directory". Ropes & Gray. Retrieved 2011-05-08.
  12. ^ "New Trier High School Staff Directory". New Trier High School. Archived from the original on 2011-01-25. Retrieved 2011-05-08.
  13. ^ Shaw, Susan (March 2004). "Keeping Your Toes & Feet Healthy". Diabetes Health. Archived from the original on 2008-05-10. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  14. ^ "Past Members Alphabetical: S | IAS School of Mathematics". Retrieved 2016-10-21.
  15. ^ Sally Jr, P. J.; Shalika, J.A. (1968). "Characters of the discrete series of representations of SL(2) over a local field". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 61 (4): 1231–1237. doi:10.1073/pnas.61.4.1231. PMC 225245. PMID 16591722.
  16. ^ "Paul Sally Gives the Arnold Ross Lecture" (PDF). AMS Member Newsletter. American Mathematical Society: 4. Winter 2004. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  17. ^ Paul Sally Jr. Obituary, Chicago Tribune, retrieved 2014-01-01.
  18. ^ "Chicago Tribune Obituary". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  19. ^ Koppes, Steve (2003-01-23). "Sally says students need more than math 'appreciation'". University of Chicago Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  20. ^ a b "Mathematical Association of America: Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Awards for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics" (PDF). January 2002 Prizes and Awards. San Diego, CA: Joint Mathematics Meetings. 2002-01-07. pp. 36–40. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  21. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society;, retrieved 2013-07-11.
  22. ^ Holdener, Judy (October 2009). "Review: Roots to Research: A Vertical Development of Mathematical Problems by Judith Sally and Paul J. Sally, Jr". Amer. Math. Monthly. 116 (8): 754–758. JSTOR 40391219.

External links[edit]