Education: Papa Pays Off

Mathematician George Abram Miller never had any children of his own, but his students at the University of Illinois liked to call him "Papa." A stubby, white-thatched little man who always kept a box of nuts handy for the squirrels, he was an expert on the theory of finite groups, published more than 800 learned articles, owned one of the best private mathematical libraries in the U.S. But for all his brilliance, Papa Miller had a distracted air that sometimes seemed complete bewilderment. He was hopeless with a car, helpless with a furnace, and he invariably began his sentences with "Maybe...

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