Lothar Hermann Redlin Memorial Scholarship

Lothar Hermann Redlin was born in the historic town of Reichenbach, Germany (now Dzierzoniów, Poland) on February 22, 1952. His family immigrated to Canada shortly after his birth, taking the infant Lothar with them to Nova Scotia, where Hermann Redlin (Lothar's father) worked as a lift bridge operator. Lothar's mother Gerda Redlin was a homemaker. The family soon moved to Thunder Bay, ON where Lothar's father started a mushroom growing business. Lothar later recalled his days in Thunder Bay in remarkable detail, even though he was only five- or six-years-old. When the family relocated to French Creek on Vancouver Island, his father was finally able to achieve his goal of working as a professional fisherman in the waters around the island. Lothar's father, a talented boat builder, built his own fishing boats, all made in his own unique style, eventually building the Samona, a 52-foot cement troller. Lothar helped with the boat-building and spent each summer throughout his school years fishing with his father on the Samona. Lothar spent the many hours on the boat thinking of different problems, which he later found out were mathematical problems. For instance, he was counting the number of different ways that certain objects on the boat could be arranged, and discovered formulas for computing these. Aa another example, he completely figured out how the LORAN system (the method used for navigation at the time) uses hyperbolas to locate the position of the boat off shore.

Lothar's family (which now included a younger sister, Carol) spoke German at home. As a result Lothar continued to be fluent in both the German and English languages. Later Lothar became proficient in French; he also studied Arabic at the University of Washington and was able to converse quite well in this language while on a visit to Egypt. Lothar was a voracious reader; he read fast and retained everything. In general, Lothar had a phenomenal memory; he recalled even ordinary events in his life in detail, including dates, locations and conversations. Lothar had tremendous general knowledge—so much so, that his friends joked that it was easier to ask Lothar than to search Wikipedia.

In tenth grade Lothar's knowledge of mathematics had advanced so much that his high school mathematics teacher said that he could no longer teach Lothar any new mathematics. So the teacher gave Lothar the calculus book that was being used at the University of Victoria at the time and let him spend the mathematics class periods working on his own. Lothar would then travel to the university to take the final exams. He received top scores on each exam. Lothar later attended the University of Victoria where he received a degree in mathematics. He was also interested in linguistics and took several linguistics courses. Lothar always prized his education at the University of Victoria and often commented on the excellent mathematics teachers he had at the university. He had great affection for the university and particularly the mathematics department. Lothar's interest in mathematics went far beyond his classes at school and his insights into problem solving were legendary. He took the Putnam mathematics competition exam while attending the University of Victoria and received an excellent score.

Upon graduation from the University of Victoria, Lothar received an NSERC grant for graduate study in mathematics at a university of his choice. He chose to study at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON where he received a PhD in mathematics in 1978. He was then awarded postdoctoral grants to do research at the University of Washington, and later at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. Lothar published several articles on his research in the fields of functional equations and topology. Lothar continued his mathematics career as a Lecturer at California State University, Long Beach, and then as a Professor of Mathematics at Penn State.

In 1990 Lothar began his very successful collaboration with James Stewart on writing mathematics textbooks. Lothar's clear understanding of mathematical concepts, his deep insights into how mathematics works, and his talent for mathematical exposition all worked together to help produce exceptional mathematics textbooks. The precalculus books that Lothar coauthored (with James Stewart and Saleem Watson) are the best selling textbooks of their kind in the United States and Canada. (The textbook Precalculus: Mathematics for Calculus has been translated into Spanish and is widely used in South and Central America.) Lothar was selected by the publishing company of the best-selling Stewart calculus textbooks to produce a new revision of the calculus text. Lothar was just beginning his work on this revision when his efforts were cut short by his untimely death on April 9, 2018. Lothar' s passing was a great loss to the author team who collaborated with him, but Lothar's legacy lives on in his brilliant explanations and special insights contained in the several mathematics textbooks that he coauthored.

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