Bari, Ruth Aaronson 1917–2005

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Bari, Ruth Aaronson 1917–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born November 17, 1917, in Brooklyn, NY; died of complications from Alzheimer's disease, August 25, 2005, in Rockville, MD. Mathematician, educator, and author. Best known for her work in the field of algebra, Bari was professor emeritus of mathematics at George Washington University. Her interest in math began in high school, where she studied independently because math was not a subject young girls were encouraged to pursue at the time. Despite this, she proved her talent in algebra by earning a medal from her school at graduation. Bari continued to study math at Brooklyn College, where she earned a B.A. in 1939. She then took a master's at Johns Hopkins University and planned to get her doctorate there as well, but when male students started returning from World War II she was effectively pushed out of the program. While her husband was in the Marines, she took work as a college math instructor and technical assistant at Bell Telephone Laboratories to support her family. Bari then spent most of the next twenty years focusing on being a wife and mother. After her children had grown, however, her husband encouraged her to return to school, which she did. She completed her Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Maryland in 1966. Impressed by her doctoral thesis, several colleges offered Bari employment; she selected George Washington University, where she was quickly promoted to full professor. Bari remained at the university until she retired in 1988. She was coeditor of the book Graphs and Combinatorics: Proceedings (1974). Having felt the effects of chauvinism in the past, Bari campaigned for equitable salaries for women and men at her university during the 1970s. She also contributed to mathematics education by starting a master's program in teaching mathematics.



Math & Mathematicians: The History of Math Discoveries around the World, Volume 3, UXL (Detroit, MI), 2002.


Washington Post, August 30, 2005, p. B5.