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This profile was last updated on 7/20/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Lynn Arthur Steen

Wrong Lynn Arthur Steen?

Employment History


  • several honorary degree
  • PhD , mathematics
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • PhD Degree , mathematics
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
168 Total References
Web References
Lynn Arthur Steen, a ..., 20 July 2015 [cached]
Lynn Arthur Steen, a professor emeritus of mathematics at St. Olaf College who was an advocate of quantitative literacy, died on June 21. He was 74.
Mr. Steen worked at St. Olaf for 44 years before retiring, in 2009. He helped restructure the math program to make it more accessible to nonmajors.
Many of his papers, articles, lectures, and edited volumes made the case for revitalizing the study of mathematics. He served on a panel that helped create the influential Everybody Counts: A Report to the Nation on the Future of Mathematics Education, published in 1989 by National Academy Press.
From 1992 to 1995, he was executive director of that panel, the Mathematical Sciences Education Board of the National Research Council.
Obituary: Lynn Steen made math ..., 16 July 2015 [cached]
Obituary: Lynn Steen made math fun, relevant and accessible for St. Olaf students By Tim Harlow Star Tribune July 16, 2015 - 7:22pm itemprop Feed Loader Lynn Steen
Lynn Steen was one of the most respected and articulate voices in the field of mathematics, dedicating his career to advancing the way the discipline was taught and making it an appealing major for college students.
Steen had the belief that math should be a pump and not a filter, something that pushes people forward and does not weed them out, said Matthew Richey, professor of mathematics, statistics and computer science and one of Steen's colleagues at St. Olaf College in Northfield.
Steen, 74, died of heart failure on June 21 at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.
Born in Chicago, Steen grew up on Staten Island in New York.
Steen graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, in 1961 with majors in mathematics and physics. Four years later, he earned his doctoral degree in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at age 24. He started teaching at St. Olaf in 1965. Along with standard math classes, he taught an introduction to a computer science course called "Down the Rabbit Hole: the Mathematical Excursions of Lewis Carroll" and another in which he teamed with his wife, a St. Olaf English professor, to teach math and science students how to write essays that appeal to nontechnical audiences.
"Lynn's influence at the MAA is legendary; he probably did more to shape and focus it on its core missions than any other recent president," said Paul Zorn, another St. Olaf mathematics professor and former president of the MAA.
In his later years, Steen was a special assistant to the provost at St. Olaf and served on numerous committees.
Besides his wife, Steen is survived by a brother, Richard, of New York City; two daughters, Margaret Steen, of Los Altos, Calif., and Catherine Wille, of Fergus Falls, Minn., and six grandchildren.
Mathematics and Democracy: The Case for Quantitative Literacy | ALM, 23 Jan 2015 [cached]
Lynn Arthur Steen, Professor of Mathematics at St. Olaf College, led the Design Team, and offered this explanation: "Quantitative literacy is to mathematics what literacy is to language.
StatLit.Org [cached]
Quantitative Literacy: Why Numeracy Matters for Schools and Colleges by Lynn Steen, MAA Online
2015 Jun 21: Lynn Steen, RIP. Obituary
MAA Presidents: Lynn Arthur Steen, 14 Aug 2012 [cached]
Lynn Arthur Steen, 41st MAA President
Lynn Arthur Steen
Lynn Arthur Steen, 1985-1986 MAA President
Lynn Arthur Steen, a former mathematics professor at St. Olaf College, is known for his leadership and service in the mathematics community, contributions to mathematics education, and expository writing.
Presidency: 1985-1986
As president of the MAA, Steen wrote a column titled "from the President's desk . . ." in several issues of the MAA's news magazine, MAA FOCUS. These columns capture his vision for the MAA's future and his involvement with issues of mathematics education and mathematics policy.
Steen emphasized MAA efforts to promote the visibility of mathematics outside the mathematics community, often involving the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Congress. The first National Mathematics Awareness Week was held April 14-20, 1986, due in large part to the MAA's efforts in promoting public understanding of mathematics. Near the end of Steen's term, the NSF's Division of Mathematical Sciences established the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, which has since grown to include more than five dozen mathematics REU sites throughout the country.
Education and Career
Steen earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics, with a minor in philosophy, at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, in 1961. He went on to complete his Ph.D. in mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965 and subsequently joined the faculty of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.
Before his 30-year tenure as a full professor began in 1975, Steen was already noted for his mathematical writing.
Steen won the Lester R. Ford Award for outstanding expository papers twice, for "Highlights in the History of Spectral Theory" (1973) and "Conjectures and Counterexamples in Metrization Theory" (1972).
He served as editor of the MAA's Mathematics Magazine with Seebach from 1976 to 1980 and has held numerous other editorial positions and leadership positions. Steen earned the MAA's prestigious Gung and Hu Distinguished Service to Mathematics Award in 1992.
In recent years, Steen's professional interests have centered on quantitative literacy and both secondary and postsecondary mathematics education. He has published extensively on these topics.
MAA Officers Records, Lynn Arthur Steen, President at the Archives of American Mathematics
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