Abraham Nemeth, a blind mathematician and college professor who developed a widely used Braille system that made it easier for other blind people to become proficient in mathematics and science, died Oct. 2 at his home in Southfield, Mich. He was 94.

The cause was congestive heart failure, his niece, Dianne Bekritsky, said.

As a college student in the 1930s, Nemeth was discouraged from studying mathematics because it was assumed that a blind person would not be able to follow the equations and calculations written on a blackboard.

He majored in psychology instead, but even with a master’s degree from Columbia University he was unable to find work in his field. He took a series of jobs, including in a factory sewing pillowcases, then decided to follow the advice of his wife: “Wouldn’t you rather be an unemployed mathematician than an unemployed psychologist?”

He began to take graduate courses in mathematics at night, devising his own shorthand way of making computations.

“I began to improvise Braille symbols and methods which were both effective for my needs and consistent from one course to the next,” he once wrote in an autobiographical essay. “So this was the beginning of the Nemeth Code.”

It was far more complex than creating symbols for the numerals zero through nine. Nemeth first had to understand mathematics at a deep level, then had to convert the language of math into a unified system that could be understood by touch in a Braille code of raised dots.

Hundreds of symbols are used in mathematics to represent fractions and square roots, to indicate multiplication, division and countless other functions and formulas. Each of them required a Braille equivalent.

The Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics and Science Notation was published in 1952 and quickly caught on around the country as the standard way of teaching mathematics to blind students.

Nemeth, who became a tenured professor at what is now the University of Detroit Mercy, traveled all over the world to promote his system, which is widely known as the Nemeth Code.

Nemeth didn’t stop with his Braille notational code. He helped devise a Braille version of the slide rule and other computational and scientific instruments. Later in his career, he contributed to the invention of a calculator that gave results in a spoken voice.

“He’s a legend, no doubt,” said Jennifer Dunnam, manager of Braille programs for the National Federation of the Blind.

Since the adoption of Nemeth’s Braille code, blind students have been able to enter the fields of science, engineering and technology in greater numbers.

Abraham Nemeth was born Oct. 16, 1918, in New York City. He was blind from birth and grew up in an immigrant Jewish family. His father often walked with him on city streets to make him comfortable with his surroundings.

“My father encouraged me to touch the raised letters on mailboxes, fire hydrants and police and fire call boxes,” Nemeth said in a 1994 interview with the publication the Exceptional Parent. “That’s how I learned the letters of the alphabet.”

Nemeth also taught himself to play piano, becoming so accomplished that he worked his way through college playing in dance bands.

After graduating from Brooklyn College in 1940, he received a master’s degree in psychology from Columbia in 1942.

Nemeth believed that a blind person could master virtually any skill or discipline, no matter how technical. His advice to parents was “to expect from a blind child what you expect from a sighted child.”

He never had a guide dog and only rarely used a cane.

As a child, he rode his tricycle along the streets of the Lower East Side of Manhattan and got in the same scrapes as any other kid.

“One time, my brother, Aaron, and I went on some kind of an expedition,” Nemeth recalled in a 1994 interview. “We got separated, and my brother, who had normal vision, got lost; I came home.”

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