McGehee's Home Page

O. Carruth McGehee
Professor Emeritus
Department of Mathematics
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803
Email address: mcgehee at
A brief biography
The content of the site is the author's responsibility.

Table of Contents, with Links

Annotated Versions dated 3/2/10 of LSU's Personnel Policy Statements
Complex Analysis Textbook, Published in 2000
Remarks on the Littlewood Conjecture
University Grading Standards: Documents from 2002-2003
Brent Pendleton Smith (1949-2006)
Recipients to Date of the McGehee Award
Review of David Kammler's Book on Fourier Analysis
The 1991-92 Calculus&Mathematica Experiment
Various Mathematical Topics, like Rubik's Cube
Ronald Reagan and the End of the Cold War
Selected Topics on the U.S. Supreme Court, other Federal Courts
U.S. Income Inequality, References and Readings
The Presidency of Woodrow Wilson


Annotated Versions dated 3/2/10 of LSU's Personnel Policy Statements

The official, authoritative versions of PS-36-T and PS-36-NT are on the LSU website. These annotated versions, with their added footnotes, remarks, indices, and commentary, are entirely and solely the responsibility of Carruth McGehee. They are PS-36-T with Notes for Users and PS-36-NT with Notes for Users. These documents may be of some use at this time. However, changes have been made to the Policy Statements in question, and no attempt has been made to revise the annotated versions since March of 2010.

The Book, An Introduction to Complex Analysis

Here are links to the Table of Contents and the Preface. If you have the second or later printing of the book, please consult this list of corrections and other emendations. If you have the first printing, here is a further list of corrections. If you find further errors in the book, or if you have questions or comments, please let me hear from you at the email address mentioned above.

Remarks on the Littlewood Conjecture

In 1993 I had the privilege to give a lecture at a conference held at Orsay in honor of Professor Jean-Pierre Kahane. In the talk, I undertook to describe the conceptual setting of the LIttlewood Conjecture. It is deliberately sketchy but does include a proof of the main result.

University Grading Standards: Documents from 2002-2003

When I was Vice-President of the Faculty Senate, I sponsored a resolution on grading standards. Here is the resolution as adopted, together with pertinent references and my remarks to the Senate on the subject. In 2003 I wrote a review of the very interesting book by Valen Johnson. These two documents are of course dated; I should mention that although UNC Chapel Hill did not do much pursuant to its discussions at that time, I understand that more recently it has adopted a policy whereby a student's record shows the comparative context of his or her grades.

Recipients to Date of the McGehee Award

This award was established in my honor through a gracious and kind initiative of the LSU Faculty Senate under the presidency of Professor Claire Advokat. The LSU Foundation Endowment Agreement appears at this link. The award, which goes to a tenured Associate Professor in recognition of a specific work, will rotate among the areas of mathematics, natural sciences, and humanities and social sciences.

In 2009-2010, the Carruth McGehee Award for Excellent Research by a Junior Faculty Member in Mathematics, carrying a cash prize of $1200, went to Associate Professor Milen Yakimov for his paper,"Symplectic leaves of complex reductive Poisson-Lie groups," which appeared in the Duke Mathematics Journal. The paper is a milestone in Poisson-Lie groups, a field that combines algebra, geometry, and mathematical physics. The paper resolved a seventeen-year-old problem, impacted several fields of mathematics, and introduced techniques and arguments that have become standard. Originally from Bulgaria, Milen Yakimov received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. He has been a Sloan Fellow, a Clay Liftoff Fellow, and a Kavli Fellow. Prior to joining the LSU Mathematics Department, he held faculty positions at Cornell University and at UC Santa Barbara. In accord with the endowment agreement, the selection committee consisted of the department chairs from Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, Psychology, Biological Sciences, and History, with one additional member from Mathematics. This year the committee consisted of Professors Larry Smolinsky, chair, Michael Cherry, Robert Mathews, Marcia Newcomer, Victor Stater, and James Oxley.

In 2011-2012, the Carruth McGehee Award for Excellent Research by a Junior Faculty Member in the Humanities and Social Sciences, carrying a cash prize of $1300, went to Associate Professor of Communication Studies Nathan Crick, for his book Democracy & Rhetoric: John Dewey on the Arts of Becoming. The selection committee consisted of Professors Robert Mathews, chair, Michael Cherry, Robert Perlis, James Monroney, Victor Stater, and James Oxley. Nathan Crick is now a faculty member at Texas A&M University.

In 2013-2014, the Carruth McGehee Award for Excellent Research by a Junior Faculty Member in the Natural Sciences, carrying a cash award of $1400, went to Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Brent C. Christner, who came to LSU in 2007, for his work on the biology of ice nucleation. Several species of plant-associated bacteria have the capacity to freeze super-cooled water. These ice-nucleating bacteria catalyze freezing at relatively warm temperatures, and affect meteorological processes by inducing precipitation. The nucleation of super-cooled water in clouds initiates ice crystal formation, and when the crystals become large enough, the particles precipitate forming snow or rain. Brent's 2008 article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is considered a seminal contribution to this field of study, presenting the first large-scale experimental evidence of a direct link between atmospheric biogenic ice nuclei and Earth's hydrological cycle. His work on ice nucleation has been highlighted in Astrobiology Magazine, BBC Worldwide, Bloomberg News, Chemical and Engineering News, CBC Radio, CBS Radio, CNN Radio, Discover Magazine (in which his research was one of the "Top 100 Stories of 2008"), Globe and Mail, La Presse, KDKA Radio, Live Science, Microbiology Today, Microscopy Today, National Geographic News, Nature, New Scientist, Science, Science Friday on NPR, Science Daily, Scientific American, The New York Times, The London Telegraph, and the Washington Post. In November of 2010 he was awarded the Charles C. Randall Lectureship by the South Central Branch of the American Society for Microbiology. LSU honored him as a "Rainmaker," and in 2011 he received the College of Science Research Award. Brent is currently the principal investigator on four grants: (1) An NSF Polar Programs grant to analyze the geomicrobiology of melt water in Greenland; (2) a NASA grant to study DNA repair under frozen conditions; (3) a NASA award entitled "MARSLIFE" which includes looking for microbes on high altitude balloons at the top of the atmosphere; and (4) an NSF award to sudy the geobiology of Antarctic subglacial environments beneath the Whillans Ice Streams.


Review of A First Course in Fourier Analysis by David Kammler

On pages 5-7 of this PDF file you will find my review that appeared in the MAA Monthly. You may ignore pages 1-4, another book review that appeared in the same edition of the Monthly.

The 1991-92 Calculus&Mathematica Experiment

Professor Neal Stoltzfus and I presented this paper at a conference held at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on the LSU calculus courses that we taught in our new computer lab using Mathematica.

Notes on Various Mathematical Topics

Here is a five-page PDF file presenting a solution algorithm for Rubik's cube. I prepared this in 1997 when teaching Mathematics 2040, a "transition course" for mathematics majors to take between the calculus sequence and the more rigorous upper-division courses in algebra and analysis. Part of the course was devoted to beginning group theory. The transformation group of Rubik's cube provided interesting examples. The process of learning how to solve the cube also offered an object lesson in the need to read and write general and somewhat abstract statements. Nearly all the students learned to solve the cube in under seven minutes.

Here is a PDF file in which the properties of the exponential function are derived from its differential equation.

Consider a system of equations representable as x' = Ax when A is an n-by-n matrix. Here is a one-page PDF file, explaining one method of finding a fundamental matrix by hand.

Here is a brief note on differential forms.

Brent Pendleton Smith (1949-2006)

The following information, prepared in 2006, comes mostly from an obituary notice by Prof. Louis Pigno, the chair of the Kansas State Mathematics Department.

Brent Smith, Professor of Mathematics at Kansas State University, died near the village of Iliamna, Alaska, securing his fishing boat in a storm; his body was discovered August 22, 2006.

Brent was born on September 11, 1949, in Falfurrias, Texas, some sixty miles from the Mexican border. Brent attended high school in Williston, North Dakota, received his B.S. from Reed College in 1971, and did his graduate work at LSU. He worked first under Prof. Pasquale Porcelli. After Porcelli's death in 1972, Brent became a student of Carruth McGehee, and received his Ph.D. in 1977. His first academic jobs were at Kansas State University, the University of Kentucky, and Illinois State University. After his work on the Littlewood Conjecture (see above), he was awarded a Sloan Fellowship for 1982-1984 and took a tenure-track position at the California Institute of Technology. Later he held a research position at Bellcore. In 1989 he rejoined Kansas State University as a full professor, where he had three Ph.D. students.

Brent made other significant contributions to the study of the quantitative behavior of Fourier-Stieltjes transforms, and in recent years he worked on a variety of problems in analytic number theory. In much of his research he demonstrated a flair for ingenious combinatorial arguments. Brent was mathematically fearless, and devoted a great deal of effort to problems thought to be difficult, including the dichotomy problem of Fourier analysis. Some of those efforts bore fruit, and he did some very insightful work. He had a number of co-authors, and his Erdos number is one.

During summer months, Brent fished commercially for salmon in Alaska. A descendant, on his mother's side, of New England fishermen, and the son of an oil geologist, he was well acquainted with risk and chance.

Brent is survived by his son Garth Smith, of Ventura, California; his parents Donna May and William Oliver Smith of Sun City, Arizona; his brother Billy; and his sister Brenda Lam, of Raleigh, North Carolina. A regular lecture series has been established, supported by contributions.

Ronald Reagan and the End of the Cold War

I gave a series of talks to my Sunday School class in early 2010 on this topic. Here is the handout provided with those talks. It includes a bibligraphy and a partial chronology.

Selected Topics on the U.S. Supreme Court, Other Federal Courts

I gave a series of talks in early 2011 on this topic. Here is the handout provided with those talks.

U.S. Income Inequality, References and Readings

In March of 2011 I gave two talks centered on the Slate essay by Timothy Noah. Here is the handout provided with those talks.

The Presidency of Woodrow Wilson

In September of 2011 I gave three talks on the Presidency of Woodrow Wilson, based mainly on the 2009 biography by John Milton Cooper, Jr. Here is the handout for those talks. It includes a brief bibliography and a chronology.

OCM 1/7/2016