Reuben Hersh is an American mathematician and academic, best known for his writings on the nature, practice, and social impact of mathematics. This work challenges and complements mainstream philosophy of mathematics.
After receiving a B.A. in English literature from Harvard University in 1946, Hersh spent a decade writing for Scientific American and working as a machinist. After losing his right thumb when working with a printing press he decided to study mathematics at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. In 1962, he was awarded a Ph.D. in mathematics from New York University; his advisor was P.D. Lax. He has been affiliated with the University of New Mexico since 1964, where he is now professor emeritus.
Hersh has written a number of technical articles on partial differential equations, probability, random evolutions,[clarification needed] and linear operator equations. He is the (co)author of four articles in Scientific American, and 12 articles in theMathematical Intelligencer.
Hersh is best known as the coauthor with Philip J. Davis of The Mathematical Experience (1981), which won a National Book Award in Science.
He also sympathizes with the perspectives on mathematics of Imre Lakatos and Where Mathematics Comes From.