## Michael Moody, Former Chair, Dies (2010-01-21)

Michael Moody, cherished friend, mentor and inspiration to the members of the Harvey Mudd College (HMC) Math Department, passed away this morning, January 21, after a long and difficult battle with lymphoma.

Moody, former professor of mathematics and chair of the Department of Mathematics at HMC, came to the college in 1994 as a visiting professor of mathematics from Washington State University, where he was an associate professor of mathematics. In 1996, he became HMC's first Diana and Kenneth Jonsson Professor and, that same year, was named chair of the Department of Mathematics.

From 1996 until 2002, the department hired eight new professors; the total number of faculty was then 12. Moody wanted people who would mesmerize and inspire students in the classroom and have a passion for their mathematical work. Moody set for the department what he called an “animating goal”: To be recognized as one the very best undergraduate programs in the country.

During his time at Harvey Mudd College, the mathematics department revised the core curriculum, rejuvenated the senior-thesis program and tripled the number of majors. Moody founded an evening lecture series that brought speakers to the college that illuminated the joy, mystery and applicability of mathematics and that typically attracted hundreds of students. The department credits Moody as the guiding force that led to them being awarded the American Mathematical Society's inaugural award for an Exemplary Program or Achievement in a Mathematics Department. HMC was selected from among every department in the United States, both undergraduate and graduate.

Moody received his B.A. degree from the University of California at San Diego in 1975, with a double major in mathematics and chemical physics, and a double minor in history and philosophy. Pursuing an interest in biological systems at the University of Chicago, he finished an applied mathematics thesis in population genetics in 1979. Following graduate school, he spent two years as a USPHS post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Genetics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In 1981, he joined the faculty at Washington State University, with a joint appointment between the Department of Pure and Applied Mathematics and the Department of Genetics and Cell Biology. He received a Fulbright Fellowship for research at the Institute for Mathematics at the University of Vienna 1990-91. He worked at HMC from 1994 to 2001, then helped establish the programs and curriculum at Olin College, which opened in fall 2002. At the time of his death, Moody was vice president for academic affairs and founding dean of faculty at Olin.

Moody's research in biomathematics focused on genetic models for evolving populations. His developmental work in teaching concentrated on designing and implementing curricular models and technological tools to improve mathematics education for engineers and scientists. He was co-designer and developer of the award-winning multi-media ODEArchitect software program for teaching and solving ordinary differential equations. He also published two books for integrating technology into the calculus curriculum through laboratory experiments. Much of his work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation. He gave numerous talks and workshops at national meetings on these topics.

Based in part on a obituary written by Judy Augsburger.