RPCC instructor publishes math self-help book

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 21, 2005

SORRENTO, La. – Instructor Henry Mark Smith, a math and physics teacher at River Parishes Community College, has published a book called &#8220Finding Confidence and Help with Math.” Smith is already an accomplished textbook contributor, having contributed to numerous &#8220test banks,” the test questions that accompany text books, for various physics and mathematics texts. He has contributed to or condensed textbooks for the entire 19 years he has been teaching.

&#8220River Parishes is lucky to have an instructor like Henry,” said Chancellor Joe Ben Welch. &#8220His writing pursuits have served to get the name of our school known on a wider basis. His contributions have helped to make River Parishes Community College known at the national level. It’s a good feeling to open a nationally-distributed textbook and see the name of our school on the inside cover. The fact that he has published so many books can only mean good things for Henry, the school and the local area.”

Smith holds two Bachelor of Science and two Masters of Science degrees from the University of New Orleans. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics, a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, a Master of Science in Applied Physics and a Master of Science in Mathematics. In addition, Smith has completed coursework and is currently working on a doctorate in Engineering and Applied Science at the University of New Orleans. He says he contributes to two to three test banks per year. At River Parishes Community College, Smith was instrumental in creating the physics program from scratch. He was hired as the school’s first physics and physical science instructor, and he oversaw the purchase of all the equipment for the college’s physics lab.

Smith also recently published his first science-fiction novel. &#8220The Thread of Andromeda” was released in February of this year. He says he uses his writing career to supplement his teaching salary. He started the science-fiction book during a lull in his textbook writing opportunities.

&#8220There are ways to teach and make money. The story sort of evolved,” said Smith. &#8220I would sit down and write a chapter one night, then write another chapter another night. If I had extra time, I’d write two chapters. Soon I had the manuscript.”

After correcting grammatical errors, Smith told his son that if he found a publisher, he would earn the 15 percent agents’ fee. His son found a publisher on the second try, but only because the first publisher he contacted wasn’t taking new authors.

&#8220The Thread of Andromeda” is about the Republic of Andromeda, which consists of the &#8220final moral people of the universe.” These people have been at war with the Clins for several millennia, and the Clins have succeeded in confining the people to a small group of planets orbiting a small number of stars. The two principle planets of the republic, Roma and Greeco, sent out a fleet to intercept a force of Clins, and have not been heard from since.

Smith said, &#8220This book contains symbolism on several levels, some of it obvious and some of it requiring thought. A fun activity would be to try and determine where symbolism is used and how deeply it is hidden. I had certain things in mind when the manuscript was written, and perhaps one day some of the symbolism will be explained. For now, let’s see how many of you, the readers, figure things out. Even if you miss some of it, the story will be worth reading.”

Smith has already submitted another novel, &#8220Vacation with Pooch.” That book will contain musings about traveling the country with his dog.

River Parishes Community College is a two-year learning institution, fully-accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award Associate Degrees. The school is located at 7384 John LeBlanc Blvd. in Sorrento. For more information about River Parishes Community College, or to enroll in classes, call 225-675-8270 or log on to www.rpcc.edu.