Thomas Andrew Lehrer (born April 9, 1928) is an American singer-songwriter, satirist, pianist, and mathematician. He has lectured on mathematics and musical theater. He is best known for the pithy, humorous songs he recorded in the 1950s and ’60s. Lehrer was born to a Jewish family and grew up in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Although he was raised Jewish, Lehrer became an agnostic. He began studying classical piano at the age of seven, but was more interested in the popular music of the age. Eventually, his mother also sent him to a popular-music piano teacher. At this early age, he began writing show tunes, which eventually helped him as a satirical composer and writer in his years of lecturing at Harvard University, and later at other universities. Lehrer was considered a child prodigy and entered Harvard College at the age of 15 after graduating from Loomis Chaffee School. As a mathematics undergraduate student at Harvard College, he began to write comic songs to entertain his friends. Lehrer earned his AB in mathematics (magna cum laude) from Harvard University in 1946. He received his MA degree the next year, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He taught classes at MIT, Harvard, and Wellesley. He remained in Harvard’s doctoral program for several years, taking time out for his musical career and to work as a researcher at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. He served in the U.S. Army from 1955 to 1957, working at the National Security Agency. From 1962, he taught in the political science department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1972, he joined the faculty of the University of California, Santa Cruz. In the early 1970s, he mostly retired from public performances to devote his time to teaching mathematics and music theatre at the University of California, Santa Cruz. When asked about his reasons for abandoning his musical career in an interview in the book accompanying his CD box set (released in 2000), he cited a simple lack of interest, a distaste for touring, and boredom with performing the same songs repeatedly. Lehrer’s musical career was brief; he pointed out that he had performed a mere 109 shows and written 37 songs over 20 years. Nevertheless, he developed a significant following in the United States and abroad.