Prof. Abraham Arcavi was born in Argentina, where he earned a degree in applied mathematics at the Centro de Altos Estudios en Ciencias Exactas in Buenos Aires (1976). He received both his MSc (1981) and PhD (1986) from the Weizmann Institute's Department of Science Teaching. He did postdoctoral work in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana (1985-1986), and at the School of Education, University of California, Berkeley (1986-1988). He joined the Weizmann Institute as a Scientist in 1988, and today is the incumbent of the Lester B. Pearson Professorial Chair.
Prof. Arcavi's aim is to make an ongoing impact on math students and educators by creating more user-friendly teaching methods that are comprehensible and applicable to a broad base of the student population. For many years, his research focused on competence in decoding and manipulating representations (like symbols and graphs) as central to understanding math. The approach developed by him and his team consists of engaging students' existing knowledge, common sense, and intuition in order to develop mathematical concepts and problem-solving strategies and thus to ensure meaningful learning experiences. He has developed materials based on the history of mathematics for teacher education courses as well as activities for students exploring the connections between geometry and algebra using computerized technologies. At present, Prof. Arcavi is launching an innovative Resource Center for Mathematics Teaching at the service of mathematics educators and teachers. The Center offers, among other resources, videotaped math lessons that will serve Israeli math teachers.
Prof. Arcavi collaborates closely with the Israeli Ministry of Education and serves on several of its committees devoted to mathematics education. He serves on graduate program committees both locally and overseas; as a reviewer for national and international foundations, universities, and international journals; and he lectures and leads workshops and courses in Israel and abroad.
He is married to Lidia, a physician. His daughter, Dafne, is a fringe theater actress and an English teacher in high schhool, and his son, Iair, is an astrophisycist at the Universita of California Santa Barbara and Las Cumbres Observatory. He likes to read in Spanish, English, and Hebrew and to travel, and above all to enjoy family life and especially his three lovely grandchildren, Daniel, Gaia and Ariel.