In Memoriam: Vera Stepen Pless, 1931-2020

Vera Pless, professor emerita in the department of mathematics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, died peacefully in her home in Oak Park, Illinois on March 2. She was 88 years old.

Professor Pless was born in Chicago, the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Chicago in three years. She earned a master’s degree in abstract algebra at the University of Chicago and went on to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from Northwestern University.

Dr. Pless was one of the world’s top experts in the field of error-correcting codes. She began her career in 1963 at the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory in Massachusetts. During this time, she helped to found and later became president of the organization Women in Science and Engineering. In 1972, Dr. Pless became a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She returned to Chicago in 1975 to serve as a full professor of mathematics, statistics and computer science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She remained on the faculty there until her retirement in 2006.

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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