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Black History Month
2019 Honoree

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Melvin Currie

Melvin Currie

Mathematician

National Security Agency (Retired)

Where are you from?

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

 

Please describe an experience (or 2) that helped you discover/ cultivate your interest in the mathematical sciences.

I was fortunate as a child in having a neighbor who was a few years older. His goal was to become a mathematics teacher and he influenced me quite a bit. A few years after I graduated from Yale College, I found myself living in Germany, where I stumbled onto a position teaching mathematics in a public high school in Düsseldorf. I was employed at the high school for two and and a half years. That job sparked my interest in going to graduate school in mathematics.

 

What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your career in the mathematical sciences?

I certainly would include the main theorem in my dissertation as an achievement of which I remain proud to this day. I could add to the list my book, Mathematics: Rhyme and Reason, which was co-published by the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in 2018. Finally, I would mention my career at NSA, both the technical work and the influence that I had on younger mathematicians.

 

What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your personal life?

Being a husband and father.

 

Please share some words of wisdom/inspiration.

Following my love of German language eventually allowed me to re-kindle my love of mathematics. Most people care about more than one thing. Indulge yourself by tending to the things you care about and be patient with yourself.