Professor Pat Herbst was featured in Lathisms on September 26. Lathisms was founded in 2016 in order to showcase the contributions of Latinx and Hispanic mathematicians. During Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 through October 15), they feature a prominent Latinx/Hispanic mathematician daily.
Included in the biographical sketch that appears in Lathisms is a description of Herbst’s research contributions:
Patricio Herbst has done extensive research on the teaching of geometry and proof in high schools, extending beyond that initial focus to contribute to understanding the work of mathematics teaching and teaching knowledge. His contributions help describe and explain the work teachers do when managing students’ engagement in proving, exploring, constructing, and calculating in geometry courses. He has published three books and more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. An important contribution of Herbst and his colleagues is the theory of practical rationality, which explains teachers’ decisions as reasonable responses to the conditions and constraints in which teachers work. Herbst’s work has been generously funded by the National Science Foundation, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, and the State of Michigan through several grants that have helped support a vital and prolific research group, the GRIP. Over the years, Herbst has mentored 15 doctoral students, 11 postdocs, and several MA and undergraduate research assistants, often coauthoring papers and posters with the mentees. Herbst has also had a distinguished service trajectory, as editorial board member and guest editor of a handful of journals. Most importantly, Herbst was recently appointed Editor in Chief of the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, becoming the first Latinx to head the most important and selective journal in the mathematics education field.
Herbst said of Hispanic Heritage Month, “It is an opportunity to celebrate what unites the Latinx. A history of plunder and exploitation by European and North American interests constituted Latin America as a geopolitical unit with common problems and aspirations. Our silver was essential for modern commerce; our scientists and artists enriched the world as they emigrated, searching better resources for their craft; and migrants who escape poverty and violence support society doing essential jobs that others won’t. Such evidence of the depletion of Latin American resources also evinces the resilience of the Latinx people and our potential to reclaim what is due to us.”