Arnold Ephraim Ross (August 24, 1906 – September 25, 2002) was a mathematician and educator who taught at NMSS from 1975 to 1983. He was pivotal in changing the summer school from a smorgasbord of numerous and diverse but superficially presented topics to a serious academic activity with depth and purpose.
While at Notre Dame in 1947, Ross began a mathematics program that prioritized what he described as “the act of personal discovery through observation and experimentation” for high school and junior college teachers. In 1957, the program expanded via the National Science Foundation’s post-Sputnik funds for teacher retraining, and Ross let high school students attend.This expansion became the Ross Mathematics Program, a summer mathematics program for gifted high school students. That program lasts eight weeks and brings students with no prior knowledge to topics such as Gaussian integers and quadratic reciprocity. Though the program teaches number theory, its primary goal is to offer students an intellectual experience as what he described as “a vivid apprenticeship to a life of exploration”. The program is known for its intensity.
Ross was known to say, “No one leaves the program unchanged.”