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UNABOMber suspect's academics examined

ANN ARBOR, Mich., April 4 -- The suspect in the UNABOMber case earned an A-plus in human evolution and wrote a dissertation filled with complex equations on his way to a masters degree and a doctorate from the University of Michigan, professors said Thursday. But at Harvard University, where Theodore Kaczynski did his undergraduate work, he was remembered an antisocial slob. The FBI has been questioning people who knew Kaczynski when he studied mathematics at the Ann Arbor campus, between 1962 and '67. He graduated from Harvard in 1962 and left UM to teach at the University of California-Berkeley. Kaczynski, 53, was arraigned Thursday in Helena, Mont., before a federal judge on one count of possessing bomb-making material and ordered held without bail. The material was allegedly inside his remote cabin in the mountains. Relatives led authorities to the possible suspect in UNABOMber crimes. Over the past 17 years the bombings killed three people and injured 23. Retired Michigan anthropology professor Frank Livingstone said he didn't remember Kaczynski until he was approached by FBI agents. 'When I was checking my grade books I came across an A-plus grade by one name and said to myself 'Oh, that guy,'' Livingstone told United Press International. Livingstone taught Kaczynski in 1965. He remembered him as a 'quiet, neat gentleman' who had an easy grasp of mathematics and its application to evolutionary principles. Kaczynski never argued or debated any of the studies in the class, Livingstone said, nor did he advance any of his own theories.

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'He must have got his wacky ideas later on,' Livingstone said of Kaczynski, who earned a master's degree in mathematics in 1964 and a doctorate in 1967, graduating from Michigan in the summer 1967. University officials released copies of a 75-page doctoral dissertation 'Boundary Functions' authored by Kaczynski. It includes page after page of equations and analysis on Euclidean geometric theorems. But Michigan mathematics professor Peter Duren, who was on Kaczynski's thesis advisory committee, praised the dissertation, calling the former student 'very independent, very serious and very smart.' The dissertation, which includes only enough writing to explain equations, stands in sharp contrast to the rambling 35,000-word UNABOMber manifesto published by the New York Times and Washington Post in which a serial bomber criticized the corrupt, dehumanizing influences of post-industrial society. Duren expressed disbelief that Kaczynski might be a terrorist. 'If he's the UNABOMber, that's a different person than the one I knew,' Duren told The Michigan Daily newspaper. The dissertation was typed with a typewriter but includes pen marks for numerous mathematical symbols and five hand-drawn ink diagrams. There is no acknowledgment page to thank professors, parents or friends. Kaczynski's faculty advisor for the doctoral project was professor Allen Shields, who died in 1989. Although Duren said Kaczynski showed no interest in politics, his link to Shields raises questions about exposure to the anti-war movement. UM was the home of the first teach-in demonstrations of the Vietnam War and, like many other campuses, a hotbed of antiwar activity. Shields had urged colleagues to reject jobs that involved war research. Shields was one of 73 professors from across the country who signed a Sept. 16, 1967, statement that said, 'We urge you to regard yourselves as responsible for the uses to which your talents are put. We believe this responsibility includes putting mathematics in the service of this cruel war.' Duren called Kaczynski 'a loner,' adding 'I don't think he was political' but was 'really wrapped up in mathematics.' Kaczynski explained his work in the dissertation: 'In this paper we show that every set of type F in X is the set of curvilinear convergence of some continuous function. We then consider functions that are not assumed to be continuous and in the last section we show that a boundary function for a Lebesgue-measurable function need not be Lebesgue- measureable.' Kaczynski graduated from Harvard University in 1962. A classmate who shared a suite with him and six others at Harvard's Eliot House, Patrick S. MacIntosh of Boulder, Colo., told the Boston Globe that Kaczynski rarely spoke to his roommates. 'Ted stands out only for being completely without relationship to anyone in the suite,' MacIntosh said. He said he didn't recall 'more than 10 words being spoken by him' during the three years they lived together. 'His room was an unholy mess, the worst mess I've ever seen in my life,' MacIntosh said. Another roommate, Keith Martin of Washington, said Kaczynski 'was a loner.' He said 'he kept to himself. He would march in, open the door, slam it shut and that would be it.' Since his 20th class reunion at Harvard, Kaczynski had been reporting to Harvard he was living in Khadar Khel, Afghanistan. Chia-Shun Yih, a retired UM professor of mechanical engineering, served on Kaczynski's doctoral thesis committee and said he feels a 'profound sense of dismay and sadness.' 'Harvard and Michigan lavished so many years on education on him and then he turned sour,' Yih told United Press International. 'One feels a profound sense of waste and dismay.' The UNABOMber sent a mail bomb to Ann Arbor psychologist James V. McConnell, author of a book 'Understanding Human Behavior,' in November 1985. McConnell, who died in 1990, was not injured by the blast inside his home. But McConnell's graduate assistant, Nicklaus Suino, suffered an arm injury. When he opened what looked like a book from Salt Lake City, the blast put a 6-inch hole in a kitchen counter and sprayed shrapnel over Suino, now a 35-year-old Lansing resident. (With reporting by Jonathan Berndt in Ann Arbor, Eric Johnson in Detroit and David Haskell in Boston)

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