“All is number,” proclaimed the Pythagoreans of the 6th century B.C.E. In the 17th century Descartes dreamed of a world unified by mathematics and believed he had seen the future. Today mathematics permeates nearly every aspect of the world, appearing sometimes as a tool and other times as a theoretical science. Thus an appreciation of both the beauty and utility of mathematics is essential to a liberal arts education. The mathematics department facilitates growth in both areas by working with other departments to encourage students’ development of skills needed for study in those departments, and by fostering an appreciation of mathematics for its own sake.
Students begin their study of mathematics at a level based on their interests and experience. For a well-prepared student intending a career requiring math, a typical beginning course of study is MATH 1170/1180: Calculus I and II, MATH 3320: Multivariable and Vector Calculus, and MATH 3550: Foundations of Mathematics. Students entering with a strong background in calculus may, upon consultation with the department, elect to omit MATH 1170 or MATH 1180. MATH 1130: Fundamental Concepts is for students who want exposure to mathematics but plan to take only one course. MATH 1250: Contemporary Mathematics with Applications, taught each spring, is also an appropriate first course.
The mathematics department occasionally offers courses such as complex variables, number theory, topics in algebra or analysis, and others. Such offerings are dependent upon student need and interest. Students wishing to broaden their study of mathematics are encouraged to consider such courses on a group basis, or as an independent study. Presentations by faculty, students, or campus visitors are emphasized in the Junior/Senior Seminars. Teaching internships and departmental tutoring assignments are available to advanced students.
Arthur Guetter, professor, chair. BA 1981, Macalester College; MA 1983, PhD 1987, Northwestern University. Major interests: boundary value problems, differential equations.
Ioannis Markos Roussos, professor. BS 1977, National and Kapodistrian University of Greece; MS 1982, PhD 1986, University of Minnesota. Major interests: differential-Riemannian geometry, differential equations, mathematics for computer use.
Frank Shaw, visiting assistant professor. BA 1976, Oberlin College; MSE 1983, Duke University; PhD 1992, University of California-Riverside. Major interests: statistics, quantitative genetics, programming.
Ken Takata, associate professor. PhD 2004, University of Illinois-Chicago. Major interests: discrete math and computer science.