Electrical and computer engineering expert offers annual Sampson Lecture

Paul Nahin, professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering at the University of New Hampshire, offers two lectures at Bates College on Friday, March 25.

Nahin first gives the informal lecture Two Problems in Mathematical Expectation at 4:30 p.m. March 25 in Room 104 of Hathorn Hall, 3 Andrews Road (Alumni Walk). Refreshments precede the talk.

At 7:30 p.m., he addresses the topic How Computers Can Help Answer Mathematical Questions in Pettengill Hall’s Keck Classroom, Room G52, 4 Andrews Road.

The lectures are presented under the auspices of the Richard W. Sampson Endowment Fund, which honors the memory of a professor emeritus of mathematics at Bates. Both lectures are open to the public at no cost. For more information please contact 207-753-6993 or

Nahin joined the electrical and computer engineering faculty at UNH in 1975. He taught courses in probability, logic design, electromagnetic field theory, image processing, minicomputer engineering, pattern recognition, circuit theory and nuclear war technology.

He has published science fiction stories in Analog, Omni and Twilight Zone magazines, and has written 11 books on mathematics and physics. His book Number-Crunching will be published by Princeton University Press this year, and Johns Hopkins reissued his 1997 Time Travel for Writers in February.

He is completing, for publication by Princeton in 2012, the book Electric Logic, treating the works of George Boole and Claude Shannon and how they created the Information Age.

Nahin worked in digital design at Beckman Instruments in Fullerton, Calif., on the programmable simulator of the Gemini manned vehicle; in digital and radar system design and analysis at Hughes Aircraft in Fullerton, where he wrote a radar clutter reduction program for the Swiss Air Defense System; and as a military systems analyst for the Institute for Defense Analyses and the Center for Naval Analyses, both in Virginia.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, a master’s from the California Institute of Technology and a doctorate from the University of California at Irvine, all in electrical engineering. Nahin has taught at Harvey Mudd College and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

The annual Richard W. Sampson Lecture at Bates honors the memory of Sampson, who served on the faculty from 1952 until his retirement as professor of mathematics in 1990. He was known for inspiring his students through passionate and creative teaching.

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