Bill Davis was born and raised in northeast Ohio, the Akron area. He went to school at Case Institute of Technology both as an undergrad and graduate student. While he was an undergraduate, he worked summers as a construction laborer, a carpenter's apprentice, a lab assistant at the B.F. Goodrich labs, and a computer programmer and operator at IBM's Cleveland Datacenter. That's the stuff that convinced him that mathematics as a profession had enormous appeal.
When he got his PhD, he took a position at The Ohio State University where he remains until now. He changed his research interest away from differential equations toward functional analysis, and became something of an expert in Banach Spaces ... their geometry and application to other fields of analysis. Pursuing that interest, he spent sabbaticals at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem during the research year on Banach Spaces in 1976-77, and at Cambridge University, England, in 1980-81. Both years were very fruitful, although in very different ways. He recommends such visits for building mathematical strength and for building family closeness, as well as for the sheer delight of experiencing life in different cultures.
In the spring of 1998, Bill announced his retirement from full-time teaching. He continues to serve OSU by teaching one C&M class per quarter and overseeing the C&M Remote program, CROSU.
Bill has supervised ten PhD students who are scattered all around the world. He also spent eleven years on the editorial board of the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society , and was Managing Editor of that journal for six of those years. Whew! It took several of those years just to find all of the papers Jerry Uhl had accepted for publication. Of course, as part of that job, Bill served as a member of the Council of the American Mathematical Society . (Talk about a committee!)
What does Bill like to do? He likes to play golf; not well, but a lot. He cooks quite well for his own taste, which tends toward the eclectic and international. He enjoys music, classical and jazz, and tried for a few years to get his head and hands together to play jazz piano. After a couple of years of lessons, Bill's teacher, a great player named Johnny Ulrich, told him to go back and prove theorems. During his undergraduate days, and for a year of leisure between his junior and senior years, Bill fancied himself a beatnik and poet. He worked in beatnik coffee houses, took baths in Lake Erie, and wrote some genuinely weak poetry about the meaning of love and life.
... and along came Calculus&Mathematica. There's nothing more fun than that. Sitting and talking with students who have just discovered that math can make sense, and that working on calculus can be challenging and rewarding is fantastic. Since starting to work on the project, and work with the students in the lab, Bill's wife, Jo, has declared that he's finally fit to live with, and perhaps even worth knowing. They spend lots of time talking about what's really happening as students study C&M.
They have more time to do that now, too, since the children, John, Jeff and Tessa, are all recently married and living far, far away.
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