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Clements to give CAS Distinguished Lecture on October 13

Nerida and Ken point to a sign

Ken Clements and Nerida Ellerton

Professor of Mathematics M.A. “Ken” Clements will deliver the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Lecture at 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 13, in the Old Main Room of the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University.

Clements will give a talk titled “The Unlikely and Eclectic History of School Mathematics in North America.” The event is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow the lecture.

Clements has authored or edited 32 books and over 200 research papers. At Illinois State, Clements and his wife, Professor Nerida Ellerton, have recently authored four books on the history of school mathematics. During recent years, Ellerton and Clements have become known for their discovery of an early Abraham Lincoln manuscript.

In this talk, Clements will focus on his journey with Ellerton into the history of North American education, and, in particular, into the history of U.S. school mathematics. Throughout the years, the couple has amassed handwritten mathematics manuscripts that had been prepared by U.S. schoolchildren between 1667 and 1861. The Ellerton-Clements collection of “cyphering books” is now the world’s largest.

Beginning his career teaching in secondary schools for 12 years, Clements earned a degree at the University of Melbourne with majors in pure and applied mathematics, and with a minor in history. He began working as a mathematics educator in universities, and during his career he has held tenured appointments at five different universities (located in three nations). He arrived at Illinois State in 2005.

A native of Footscray, a working-class suburb of Melbourne, Australia, Clements was the only one in his large family to proceed beyond 10th grade at school. Clements was the first person to be elected honorary life member of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA), which he founded in 1976. He is also the youngest person ever to be elected honorary life member of the 110-year-old Mathematical Association of Victoria.

Clements has given keynote addresses in many parts of the world. He is well known for his work in Asia, especially India, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Brunei Darussalam. He was senior editor of the 1120-page Third International Handbook of Mathematics Education, published in 2013.

For special accommodations, call 438-5853 or 438-8620 (TT/DD).