UTPA loses world-renowned mathematics professor in tragic accident
Posted: 08/28/2001
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A world-renowned mathematics professor at The University of Texas-Pan American was killed Monday night, Aug. 27 in a traffic collision in Edinburg.

Dr. Joseph Wiener, 62, who specialized in the area of differential equations, was involved in a collision with an 18-wheeler in the 3800 block of McColl Road at 9:30 p.m. He was taken to McAllen Medical Center, where he died.

Dr. Joseph Wiener, 62, was a world-renowned mathematician. He died Aug. 27 after being involved in a traffic accident in Edinburg.

"The University of Texas-Pan American has suffered a tremendous loss in the death of Dr. Joseph Wiener. Dr. Wiener was a legend as a researcher, as a mathematics professor and as a mentor to many students during his long tenure," said UTPA President Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez.

"His work in differential equations brought world-wide attention to Dr. Wiener and to the University, but his greatest impact was to the many students he taught and mentored. As one former student said, 'He was tough, but when you completed his course, you knew everything you needed to know about that area of study.' Many of us here at the University are saddened by the loss of this unique and wonderful individual and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family - his wife, Bella, and children, Lilia and Edward."

Wiener, who taught at UTPA for 22 years, was equally known for his research in the area of mathematics education as in his work with differential equations, said Dr. Miguel Paredes, interim chair of the Department of Mathematics.

"He was one of my closest friends as well as a colleague," said Paredes. "Joseph was always aware and interested in what you were doing and would help, even if it was not a project in which he was directly involved.

"And, when it came to teaching, he was one of the greatest. His students looked up to him. Because of his special attributes, personally and professionally, his absence leaves a huge void. He was truly a legend."

Wiener immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1978. Prior to joining the UTPA faculty, Wiener had headed one of the Soviet Union's most prestigious mathematics departments for 10 years - Vitebsk Institute of Technology in the White Russian Republic - before leaving the country.

While at UTPA, Wiener was widely published and also served as an editor in international mathematics journals and received several grants for his research.

The study of differential equations deals with the measurement and prediction of change - particularly in regard to time and space - and is critical in engineering, physics, electronics, mechanics, aeronautics, biotechnology and nearly all science fields.

He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Bella, his daughter, Lilia, 36, and son, Edward, 31.

Donations to the Joseph Weiner Memorial Scholarship in Mathematics can be made online at