The mural saluting world-renowned mathematician Robert Langlands is located at the entrance to the mathematics wing at Semiahmoo Secondary. (Alex Browne photo)

LETTERS: Mural honouring famed mathematician long overdue


Re: School honours famed grad with mural, Jan. 15.

I was absolutely thrilled to read the news article regarding the unveiling of the mural at Semiahmoo High School honouring the world-renowned mathematician, Dr. Robert Langlands, who graduated from SHS in 1953.

As a 1955 graduate, I went through school with his sister, Mary Frances McArthur (Langlands), and as Semiahmoo was a small school, we all knew “Bobby” (as we called him) throughout his teen years.

His wife, Charlotte Cheverie, also was a graduate of SHS in that same era.

In conversation with her at a high school reunion some years ago, she informed me that while he was a professor of mathematics in Princeton, Dr. Langlands had been given the old office of Dr. Albert Einstein. What an honour.

Back in 2008, I wrote a letter to the then-mayor of White Rock suggesting that the city leaders come up with an appropriate honour of Dr. Langlands as public recognition to this most accomplished of all SHS graduates.

I never received a reply, and have been disappointed up until now that there has been no such local honour to him. Now, thanks to the efforts of UBC supporters and others, this mural will indeed be a permanent and appropriate recognition of his accomplishments.

Thanks to all who came up with this idea for the mural and the support being evidenced after so long a period.

Larry Fournier, Yakima, Wash.

Editor’s Note: Prof. Langlands has been a long-time professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. This institution remains his academic home and is in no way affiliated with Princeton University.

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