Emeritus Faculty

William Walker Tait, renowned UChicago philosopher of mathematics, 1929‒2024

William Walker Tait, professor in the Philosophy Department at UChicago

Prof. Emeritus William Walker Tait, an acclaimed philosopher and mathematician at the University of Chicago, died March 15 in Naperville, Ill.. He was 95.

Known by colleagues as one of the most distinguished philosophers of mathematics of the second half of the 20th century, Tait was professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy and the Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science at UChicago. During a career spanning 60 years, he made significant contributions to development of proof theory, as well as to logic and the philosophy of mathematics.

“Bill Tait was chair of Philosophy when I joined the department in 1981 and he was arguably the best chair I knew, standing up for the department and junior faculty—often against the administration—with a fierce moral determination but a twinkle in his eye,” said Josef Stern, the William H. Colvin Professor Emeritus in the Department of Philosophy at UChicago.

Howard Stein, acclaimed UChicago philosopher and historian of physics, 1929‒2024

Howard Stein, Philosophy Professor Emeritus, at the University of Chicago

Prof. Emeritus Howard Stein, a renowned philosopher and historian of physics at the University of Chicago, died March 8 at his home in Hyde Park. He was 95.

A trained philosopher and mathematician, Stein was a longtime faculty member of the Department of Philosophy and the Committee on the Conceptual Foundations of Science. Colleagues recalled Stein’s curiosity about physics, the elegance of his writing, and his impact on our understanding of the history of philosophy and physics.

According to Thomas Pashby, assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at UChicago, Stein inaugurated the modern study of the foundation of physics in 1967 with his article “Newtonian Space-Time,” published in The Texas Quarterly.

Vera Klement, Painter Who Saw Both Beauty and Evil, Dies at 93

UChicago Photographic Archive, [adf1-10271], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collection Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Ms. Klement, a Holocaust survivor who was known for paintings that combined elements of Abstract Expressionism and figurative art, died on Oct. 20 in Evanston, Ill. She was 93.

Her death, at a retirement home, was confirmed by Max Shapey, her son. It was not widely reported outside Chicago.

Ms. Klement’s paintings — of basic subjects like trees, landscapes and human figures — were influenced by her love of music and literature.

UChicago Humanities Scholar Honored for His Work on French Culture

Thomas Pavel

An influential and original literary scholar, Prof. Emeritus Thomas Pavel recently received the 2023 Grand Prix de la Francophonie from the Académie Française for his contributions to the development of the French language and culture worldwide. His affection for past cultures, particularly the French and Francophone, inspired his research. Pavel sought meaning in both the famous aspects of the past and the half-forgotten ones.

“It is essential to study and teach the great books, but it is also fascinating to rediscover the less great books of the past,” said Pavel, the Gordon J. Laing Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Romance Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature, the Committee on Social Thought, and Fundamentals at UChicago. “These books tell us how the less grandiose, everyday culture of a certain period generated beautiful, meaningful art and thought.”