College Math Teaching

August 22, 2014

Fields Medal 2014 and Mathfest 2011

Filed under: academia, advanced mathematics — Tags: — collegemathteaching @ 12:11 pm

One of the main speakers at Mathfest, 2011, was one of the Fields Medalists this year: Manjur Bhargava, of Princeton.

Here is what I said about him on the first day:

Lastly Manjul Bhargava of Princeton (who is already full professor though he is less than half my age; he was an Andrew Wiles student) gave a delightful lecture on algebraic curves.

What I noted: all three of these mathematicians are successful enough to be arrogant (especially the third). They could have blown us all away. Yes, they took the time and care to give presentations that actually taught us something.

Some top-of-the-line researchers are excellent teachers too.

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August 14, 2014

First Female Fields Medalist Announced

Filed under: academia, advanced mathematics, news — Tags: — collegemathteaching @ 1:24 pm

Via Nature:

The International Mathematical Union (IMU) has revealed on its website the winners of the 2014 Fields medals, considered the highest honour in mathematics. The four young medallists — including Maryam Mirzakhani, the first female winner since the prizes were established in 1936 — have been selected for their contributions to topics ranging from dynamical systems to the geometry of numbers and the solution of equations of the type that describe many physical phenomena.

Of course, this is a big deal. But I should point out that all Fields Medalist are outliers in the extreme (similar to Nobel Laureates) and very, very distant from the bulk of mathematics professors. So, while I applaud this, I wonder if it will have any impact on the rank and file among college professors.

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