I received my PhD in mathematics in 1951 from the University of Illinois under the direction of Professor J. L. Doob.While there I became a ember of the famous Illinois Hike. See Sam Wagstaff's decription of a typical Illinois hike here and Joan Snell's description of our last hike here From 1951 to 1954 I was a Fine Instructor at Princeton. I then taught mathematics at Dartmouth College from 1954 to 1996.
While at Dartmouth I developed, with Professors Kemeny and Thompson, the Finite Mathematics course and wrote with them the first Finite Mathematics book. I started a Music Barn with the royalties from this book My research and writings have been in Markov Chains and their applications working with John G. Kemeny. Most recently I wrote a book Introduction to Probability with Charles Grinstead. This book is also published by the American Mathematical Society.
From 1992 to 1997 I directed an NSF project to develop a course called Chance. I continue to write a Chance Newsletter that abstracts current events in the news that use probability or statistical concepts.
My father, Roy J. Snell, wrote juvenile books for a living. You can see a sample of his writings by reading The Galloping Ghost. This is a book written about the famous University of Illinois football player Harold Red Grange who was called "the Galloping Ghost". Red Grange was our ice-man when I was a boy. In the book, Red Grange is kidnapped and taken to Isle Royale in Michigan in November, a time when the Island is inhabited only by animals including moose and wolves. It is said that a persons fame skips a generation. As evidence of this my brother's daughter Teri and son Gregg have essentially complete collections of my father's books. You can see Teri's collection here and Gregg's collection here.
You can read about my father's life as an author from an interview given at his college, Wheaton College, and an interview by his home town newspaper. He also lectured in the Detroit Public schools. You will find an article about this here. You can see here a photo used by his main publisher Reilly and Lee to advertise his books. On the other the side of this picture the publisher described his books. My father was an avid fisherman as you will see from his story Three Thousand Miles in a Rowboat Address.. Finally, you can find my fathers obituary that appeared in the Detroit News here.
I spent all of my summers before college days at Isle Royale. Isle Royale is now a National Park and I still enjoy returning to our cabin on the Island every summer. You can see more about my life on Isle Royale here in the booklet About Lake Superior's Isle Royale written by my wife Joan Snell. You can read a story of her life here.
My 80th birthday was January 15,2005. The Dartmouth math department gave me a magnificent birthday party which included the story of my life as seen by my children John and Mary and my wife Joan. You can see a powerpoint version of this story here.