Edith H. Luchins

Edith Hirsch Luchins, mathematician and one of the most eminent Gestalt psychologists of the third generation, has passed away November 18, 2002. She was 80. She is survived by her husband, five children, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Foto E.H. Luchins

Edith H. Luchins received a B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1942, an M.S. from New York University in 1944, and a Ph.D. from University of Oregon in 1957. Luchins' research focused on the application of mathematics to problems in the philosophy of science and psychology, particularly in the areas of logical foundations, learning, and perception. She had worked on mathematical models of order effects in information processing; on gender differences in cognitive processes and their implications for teaching and learning mathematics; and on the roles of heuristics and algorithms in mathematical problem solving, with and without the use of computers. She was also interested in the history of mathematics, and, in particular, the history of women in mathematics and what can be done to encourage more women to pursue studies and careers in mathematics.
Edith H. Luchins, who served as professor of mathematical sciences at Rensselaer from 1962 until 2002, was the first woman to be appointed full professor at Rensselaer. She attained emeritus status in 1992, but continued to be involved in research in the math department.
Luchins established the Max Hirsch Prize in mathematics in honor of her father. She spent countless hours advising pre- and post-doctoral students. Among her many honors were the Rensselaer Distinguished Teaching Award, the Darrin Counseling Award, the Martin Luther King Jr. Award, and the Rensselaer Alumni Association Outstanding Faculty Award. She was a distinguished visiting professor of mathematics at the United States Military Academy in West Point in 1991-1992. In July 1994 she was appointed adjunct professor of cognitive sciences at the Rensselaer Institute.
In 1998 Edith Luchins, who had served for many years as a member of the Advisory Board of the journal GESTALT THEORY, accepted the honorary membership of the international Society for Gestalt Theory and its Applications (GTA).
Edith H. Luchins is well known for her outstanding contributions in many areas of Gestalt theory and Gestalt theory history. Her work in this area is closely linked with that of her husband, Abraham S. Luchins, with whom she shared her private as well as most of her intellectual and scientific life. Their partnership gave life to numerous important scientific contributions and publications in a large variety of areas. A selection of these is listed below.
It is a great sadness for the Society for Gestalt Theory and its Applications (GTA) to have lost one of its most esteemed members.

Selected bibliography of Edith H. Luchins

Books and Chapters

Journal Articles

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