216 Center for Science and Technology
- Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
- Ph.D., University of Chicago
- M.S., University of Chicago
- B.A., University of Chicago
My favorite class is Discrete Mathematics, a class that is all about invention and discovery in mathematics. The subject matter is number theory and combinatorics, but really what it consists of is my asking vague questions and students doing numerical experimentation, looking for patterns, then trying to describe those patterns as clearly as possible and to convince themselves and others that the patterns always work. That is, it's about invention and discovery in mathematics. It's a course aimed at showing that mathematics isn't a mindless piece of dreary memorization, but that it's both an exciting adventure and an exquisite art. Every piece of mathematics — its questions, its definitions, its theorems, and their proofs — is the work of human beings. As human beings, we all have all the prerequisites to engage in this inventions and discovery. I don't know anything else deeper and more beautiful. Of course, everything else in mathematics also has this depth, excitement, and beauty. There's not a course we teach that doesn't invite new questions and from which both my students and I don't learn.