Home History Archives L.-S. Hahn

The following is about 20 years old. Nonetheless, finding it inspirational, the current organizers decided to post it again.

Professor Liang-Shin Hahn

Prof. Liang-Shin Hahn was a faculty member of our Department of Mathematics and Statistics at UNM from 1968 until his retirement in 1999. For most of those years he was involved with the "New Mexico Mathematics Contests" that was and is still run by the department. From 1990 to 1999, Prof. Hahn was solely responsible for composing the Contest problems. His work raised the "New Mexico Mathematics Contest" to national prominence; other contests, such as the "Oklahoma Contest" are modeled after ours.

Prof. Hahn was awarded the "Citation for Public Service" by the "American Mathematical Society" at their annual meeting at Baltimore, MD, in January 1998:

"Liang-Shin Hahn of the University of New Mexico and Arnold E. Ross of Ohio State University each received a 1998 Citation for Public Service from the American Mathematical Society. This citation is presented annually for notable contributions to the mathematics profession through public service.

Professor Hahn is being honored for carrying forward and developing the New Mexico High School Mathematics Contest and for exposition and popularization of mathematics attractive to and suitable for potential candidates for the contest and others with similar intellectual interests."

(quoting from http://www.ams.org/new-in-math/press/prizes.html)

In the words of well known author Reuben Hersh (also emeritus professor from our department):

"Prof. Hahn's problem creating is truly rare and outstanding. Composing problems is a major form of creativity in mathematics. Hahn's problems are never slightly disguised copies of old problems. He has created dozens of new, interesting, problems, that are challenging, yet accessible to high school kids, depending on their ingenuity and stamina."

We hope that a collection of problems by Prof. Hahn including all of those that appeared in the "New Mexico Math Contest" from 1990-1999 will soon be published. In Prof. Hahn's own words:

"I believe mathematics contests are wonderful opportunities for inspiring, educating and broadening the horizons of mathematics students and teachers, and my Contest problems have always reflected this philosophy."

Prof. Hahn was born in 1932 in Taiwan. He comes from a family of physicians, he calls himself the "black sheep" in the family! He got a PhD in Mathematics from Stanford University in 1966, under the guidance of the late Prof. Karel de Leeuw. He did postdoctoral studies at John Hopkins University and joined the faculty at the University of New Mexico in 1968.

Prof. Hahn mathematical passions, other than creating and solving problems and puzzles, are complex analysis and geometry. He has published several papers and two books on the subject, "Complex numbers and geometry" (MAA Spectrum, 1994), and "Classical complex analysis" with Bernard Epstein (Jones and Bartlet Publishers, Inc, 1996).

Prof. Hahn has three sons and four grandchildren who are his current passion. He loves ping-pong, walking and entertaining friends (if you ever visit Irvine, CA, remember to give him a call!).

Prof. Hahn is still participating very much in the contest. Since he retired, he has been working closely with the exam writer (Prof. Cristina Pereyra), helping prepare the exams and the solutions (take a look at the latest solutions and you will realize that his name is all over!). Prof. Hahn is a permanent invitee to any of the Math Contest events. He has been coming to the second round exam to help us with all the details (from putting exams in envelopes, to proctoring, and grading) and to enjoy the Contest Lecture (link to the list of speakers). After the second round and final exam, solutions are presented to the students. The last 3 years, Prof. Hahn has been in charge of that session. This is what he loves the most, interacting with the students!

Through the years, the students of New Mexico have expressed their love and admiration for this unassuming mathematician who has dedicated his life to teaching. For all his contributions to the "New Mexico Math Contest" and to teaching mathematics, we want to honor him with this webpage.