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Meet The Mathematicians

"Mathematical Modeling has a special meaning at Princeton University Press. We would like to thank our 'math models' for being such good sports. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them and that you will check back often 'to meet' other outstanding mathematicians."--Vickie Kearn, Mathematics Editor

Amy Langville and Carl Meyer

  photo by Bethany Meyer

Amy Langville

After growing up near the Magothy River in Arnold, Maryland, Amy attended Mt. St. Mary's University, then moved south for graduate school at North Carolina State University, where she graduated from the Operations Research program. She stayed in Raleigh, NC to study as a postdoc with Carl Meyer, and this experience became the most influential and exciting of her career, studies, and aspirations. Carl and Amy's professional relationship developed into a mentoring relationship and a friendship that produced some very interesting work, including their book, Google's PageRank and Beyond: The Science of Search Engine Rankings

In 2005, Amy moved further south to settle in as the Operations Research specialist in the Mathematics Department at the College of Charleston, in beautiful Charleston, SC. Amy has found the southern climate, both literally in degrees Fahrenheit and figuratively in its relaxed friendly southern charm, perfectly suited to her temperament.

Amy's mathematical interests include information retrieval, data mining, numerical linear algebra, and integer programming. Lately, she's been busy with projects resulting from industrial and government collaborations--basically because she's a sucker for a good problem, and can't resist the challenge of a real applied problem, which she considers to be giant puzzles. As a result of an NSF CAREER award, Amy's latest teaching efforts focus on her Mathematical Device Dissection Laboratory. The purpose of which is to, whenever possible, make abstract mathematical ideas hands-on, interactive, and visual.

When she's not thinking about mathematical problems, Amy enjoys many hobbies, including exercising, playing sports, particularly basketball and volleyball, reading, traveling, and building things with wood. Lately, these things have been boats to enjoy the Charleston harbor. The most meaningful boat she built with her brother Chad and the two named the boat Langville Bros. after their late great grandfather and great uncle, the inspirational shoremen of Dividing Creek, Maryland.

Carl Meyer

Carl Meyer is Professor of Mathematics at North Carolina State University, and his research interests revolve around applied mathematics, numerical analysis, and information science. He has published numerous research articles in areas that include computational and applied linear algebra, Markov chains, information retrieval, and web search systems.

In addition to the 2006 Princeton University Press book Google's PageRank and Beyond: The Science of Search Engine Rankings with Amy Langville, Professor Meyer's other books include Matrix Analysis and Applied Linear Algebra (SIAM, 2001) and Generalized Inverses of Linear Transformations (Dover, 1991) with S. L. Campbell.

Carl especially enjoys advising and directing student research, and he is immensely proud of the accomplishments of his past graduate and postdoc mentees. In fact, it was the fruitful collaboration with Amy Langville while she was a postdoc at NC State that led to development and publication of Google's PageRank and Beyond: The Science of Search Engine Rankings. Work of some of his current students concerns the engaging but challenging problem of creating effective mathematical models and techniques for winning at sports wagering--perhaps the topic of the next book?

When not occupied by academic activities, the time is spent by deriving pleasure from eminently talented children, Martin and Holly, obviously gifted grandchildren Margaret, Allison, and Ryan, and beautiful wife Bethany. But when these folks have had enough of him, he skulks away to the basement or out to the garage to indulge in fantasies of picking like Chet Atkins, Mark Knopfler, and Eric Clapton, or he just makes sawdust from perfectly good pieces of oak.

Eli Maor

  photo by Dalia Maor

Eli Maor received his PhD at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. His thesis was on an unusual subject: using mathematical methods to investigate problems in musical acoustics. This reflected his long interest in the relations between science and the arts, and in particular, music. His article, "What is There so Mathematical About Music?" received first award by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics as the best article on teaching the applications of mathematics. Maor has published over fifty articles on applied mathematics, mathematics education, and the history of mathematics. He is also an active amateur astronomer and eclipse chaser and has written articles for Sky & Telescope, Natural History, Science, and Orion. He is also a contributor to Encyclopedia Britannica, for which he wrote the article on the history of trigonometry. Maor is a frequent speaker on scientific and educational issues and is past member of the Mathematical Association of America's Program of Visiting Lecturers and Consultants. He teaches the history of mathematics at Loyola University Chicago.

Maor is the author of four widely acclaimed books, all by Princeton University Press: To Infinity and Beyond (1991), e: The Story of a Number (1994), Trigonometric Delights (1998), and Venus in Transit (2000 and again in 2003 in an expanded edition). A fifth book, The Pythagorean Theorem: A 4,000-Year History, is scheduled to appear early in 2007. In addition, he wrote The Facts on File Calculus Handbook (Facts on File, 2003), an encyclopedia of calculus concepts geared for high school and college students.

Paul J. Nahin

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photo by Patricia Ann Nahin

Paul Nahin is professor emeritus of electrical engineering at the University of New Hampshire. After receiving his undergraduate and master's degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford and Caltech, he worked for eight years in the aerospace industry (he performed the digital logic design of the programmable telemetry simulator for the manned space capsule in the Gemini phase of the Moon program). He returned to grad school at age 28 and got a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of California/Irvine. Then followed his first teaching post at Harvey Mudd College, a post-doc at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, DC, a stint as a military systems analyst at the Institute for Defense Analyses, and then, at last, UNH, his home for 29 years.

At UNH he started his literary career by writing over two dozen science fiction stories for Analog, Omni, and Twilight Zone magazines, and a couple more for paperback anthologies, efforts that left most of his colleagues aghast. Better received were the six books he has written since then. These include a technical biography of the eccentric Victorian mathematical physicist Oliver Heaviside (Johns Hopkins), a scientific and literary work on time travel (Springer) - yes, there were indeed a few pained expressions in the Dean's Office when that came out, a book on the science and history of AM broadcast radio (BIG sigh of relieve in the Dean's Office with that one), and three math books for Princeton. The first Princeton book was An Imaginary Tale: the square root of minus one, which is just being released in paperback. It received a Choice award as an Outstanding Academic title and an Honorable Mention in the mathematics category from the Association of American Publishers.

Since his early retirement in 2004 he has written two more books for Princeton (Doctor Euler's Fabulous Formula, 2006, and Chases & Escapes, 2007). He is presently finishing a new Princeton book, Parrondo's Paradox, on the use of MATLAB to write Monte Carlo computer simulation codes. Along with his writing, he has developed an avid interest (if not skill) in computer gaming. After spending several years blasting bad guys on a PC (Thief, Max Payne, Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Sniper Elite, Hit Man, etc.), he has moved his fantasy life onto an Xbox360 platform. He and his wife of forty-four years, Patricia Ann, have three children and four grandkids, aged 2 to 16, who are enthusiastic supporters of their granddad's astonishing skill at crushing video villains (in the accompanying picture they are cheering him on as he vaporizes a truly disgusting Strogg alien in Quake 4).

He and Pat can be found, nearly every day, walking through the beautiful countryside around their country-cape home in Lee, New Hampshire. Either that, or at the local malls because, as he cheerfully admits, he is a mall rat. Who needs the university library as a place to write books when there is a Dunkin' Donuts coffee shop at the mall food court!?

John Adam

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  John Adam signing his book for John Choate

John Adam teaches mathematics at Old Dominion University, and his general interest is in applied mathematics and mathematical modeling, particularly in biology and currently, in atmospheric optics. He is author of the book Mathematics in Nature: Modeling Patterns in the Natural World., published in 2003 by Princeton University Press. It was winner of the Association of American Publishers Mathematics and Statistics Professional/Scholarly Award and One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2004. He is also coeditor of the book A Survey of Models for Tumor/Immune System Dynamics, published by Birkhauser in 1997. He enjoys nature photography, and is a frequent contributor to the Earth Science Picture of the Day (EPOD: http://epod.usra.edu/). A selection of his photographs can be found on his home page (http://www.odu.edu/~jadam). He has been a frequent speaker at local colleges, high schools, civic and community groups.

A British citizen, Adam received his PhD in theoretical astrophysics from the University of London. He was an undergraduate during the Monty Python years, and has never fully recovered, despite having taught at Old Dominion since 1984. He is married, and has three grown children, each of whom was born in a different country in the U.K. He and his wife Susan have one grandchild, John Mark.

Marcia Ascher

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Marcia Ascher is Professor Emerita of Mathematics at Ithaca College where she taught for 30 years. She is considered to be the leading figure in the field of ethnomathematics, the study of mathematics that considers the culture in which those mathematics arise. For the past 30 years, her research has centered on the mathematical ideas of peoples in traditional, mostly non-Western cultures. She is author of Mathematics Elsewhere: An Exploration of Ideas Across Cultures (Princeton) and co-author of Code of the Quipu. She is a member of the American Mathematical Society, Mathematical Association of America, Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics, and the British Society for the History of Mathematics.

Angela Shiflet and George Shiflet

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Angela and George Shiflet's collaborations began early--They met in calculus class! Fortunately, they had a very tolerant professor, who let them sit in the back of class and court through much of the second and third semesters of calculus. Their "integration" became "definite" after graduation when they married and continued their graduate studies, Angela in mathematics and George in biology. Upon completing their doctorates, both embarked on the careers that have been their passions--college teaching.

With George's encouragement, Angela also completed a master's degree in computer science. Then, for eleven summers, the two had wonderful research experiences at various laboratories--Angela at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL), and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and George at the University of California at Berkeley, PNL, and the University of California at Los Angeles. Besides working with and learning from top-rate scientists, who ultimately became good friends, the two Southerners toured interesting parts of the country and learned to drink strong California coffee.

The stimulating summers helped to provide the background for Angela to author six textbooks in discrete mathematics and computer science. George and her careers became closer at Wofford College, where each is chair of his (biology) or her (computer science) respective department.

Little did they know when sitting in calculus class or working in physiology lab together how important computational science, which is at the intersection of computer science, mathematics, and science, would become. In 1999 they helped to establish Wofford's Emphasis in Computational Science with support from the school and the National Science Foundation (grant DUE-0087979) and with assistance from such people as Dr. Bob Panoff of the Shodor Educational Foundation. Their collaborations in the area have grown stronger as they authored Introduction to Computational Science: Modeling and Simulation for the Sciences (Princeton), the first undergraduate textbook designed for an introductory course in computational science and engineering. Many marvel that a married couple could still be speaking to each other after such an endeavor, but the Shiflet's talk of the experience with the enthusiasm, joy, and passion of two that are truly committed to the joint project and to each other.

Anne M. Leggett and Bettye Anne Case

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Bettye Anne Case and Anne Leggett are the editors of Complexities: Women in Mathematics (Princeton). Bettye Anne Case is Olga Larson Professor of Mathematics at Florida State University and directs the programs in financial mathematics and actuarial science which she initiated in the '90s. Anne Leggett (McDonald) is associate professor of mathematics at Loyola University Chicago where she is teacher, advisor and mentor to many students. On their campuses, as feminists and activists, they work in varied roles supporting faculty rights in university governance. Their service in the wider academic community through professional society committees and conferences is typical of the women they profile in Complexities.

Work to further the progress of women in the mathematical sciences is an integral and important part of their lives. The Association of Women in Mathematics has honored both for their service--Leggett has produced more than 165 issues as Newsletter Editor, and Case has functioned as Meetings Coordinator for over 25 years. With six issues per year to fill, Leggett is always seeking material related to women in math, past and present.

Case has enjoyed involvement in activities with women mathematicians from many countries; she is currently coordinator of a group of women planning events for the Madrid 2006 International Congress of Mathematicians.

Collaborating on this book was a labor of love for Case and Leggett. As they worked together on the book, writing/rewriting/editing--reveling over the accomplishments and sorrowing over the difficulties of women scientists everywhere--tangling over word choices--their long-time friendship deepened, and they had many joyful interactions with women mathematicians around the world.

Both are married to mathematicians who are colleagues, increasing their circles of mathematical friends and former students. Each author has many and varied interests outside mathematics. Both like to travel, garden, read, trace family roots and follow writers and theater--but Anne subscribes to the opera while Bettye Anne may be found at a standing-only blues venue. Bettye Anne can spend hours with graph paper designing a room or a house--as demonstrated by her Mizner-influenced Florida home. Anne loves sitting on large rocks at the tops of mountains or in the midst of rushing streams. Family is important to both: Anne, eldest of ten, greatly enjoys her large extended family; Bettye Anne delights in her children and grandchildren.

William Dunham

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  photo by Maia Reim

William Dunham is Truman Koehler Professor of Mathematics at Muhlenberg College, a liberal arts institution in Allentown, PA. As such, his day-to-day activities include: teaching a host of undergraduate math courses, advising students, and attending an infinitude of committee meetings (or so it seems).

In the meantime, Dunham enjoys moonlighting as a speaker and writer on the history of mathematics. In this capacity he has visited dozens of colleges and universities as well as corporate centers (e.g. Texas Instruments) and government agencies (e.g. NIST). To date, he has written three books: Journey Through Genius (1990), The Mathematical Universe (1994), and Euler: The Master of Us All (1999),as well as a number of expository articles on mathematical history.

For his efforts, Dunham received the George Polya Award and the Trevor Evans Award from the Mathematical Association of America. The Association of American Publishers also recognized The Mathematical Universe as the 1994 Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Mathematics.

Presently, Dunham is applying finishing touches to his next book, The Calculus Gallery: Masterpieces from Newton to Lebesgue, which will be published by Princeton University Press in early 2005. By presenting a sample of great theorems from the history of calculus/analysis, he hopes to give readers a sense of the extraordinary brainpower it took to create what John von Neumann called "the first achievement of modern mathematics."

Adrian Banner

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  photo by Maia Reim

Adrian Banner was born in Sydney, Australia in 1975. After completing his undergraduate studies at the University of New South Wales, he entered the graduate program in mathematics at Princeton University, working on harmonic analysis under the supervision of Eli Stein. He received his Ph.D. in 2002 and since then has worked as a part-time Lecturer in the Princeton Mathematics Department.

Banner also works as Director of Research at Enhanced Investment Technologies (INTECH), an institutional equity manager specializing in mathematical investment strategies. This position allows him considerable latitude to undertake theoretical mathematical research; as a result, he has transferred his interest within the field of analysis from singular integrals to stochastic processes.

While he was a graduate student, Adrian developed a program of weekly review sessions in freshman-level calculus courses at Princeton. These sessions have led to the creation of a calculus review manual, which he hopes to complete this year.

Banner is also an accomplished pianist and composer. He began piano studies at the age of three and has been playing and composing in classical, jazz and folk styles ever since. He has been involved in the Princeton University Jazz Ensemble for the past six years and is a founding member of renowned klezmer band The Klez Dispensers, performing regularly in New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey.


Ed Belbruno

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  photo by Maia Reim

Edward Belbruno is a graduate of the Courant Institute of New York University, where his advisor was Juergen Moser. He is a Visiting Research Collaborator in the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University. His areas of interest are celestial mechanics, dynamical systems, dynamical astronomy, and aerospace engineering.

He has always loved outer space, and his work led to the first application of chaos theory to space travel--spectacularly demonstrated in 1991 when his calculations rescued a Japanese spacecraft that would have missed the Moon without the assistance of his theoretical work applied to this immediate problem.

Belbruno is president and founder of the company Innovative Orbital Design, Inc. and he holds many international patents on routes in space. He has published numerous papers in the fields of mathematics, aerospace engineering, dynamical astronomy and he has three books in process. Capture Dynamics and Chaotic Motions in Celestial Mechanics: With Applications to the Construction of Low Energy Transfers is his latest book. He consults regularly with NASA, and recently has appeared on NBC's Today Show twice to discuss space related issues.

He is also a professional artist who has held many one-man shows worldwide, including in Paris, Rome, Turin, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Boston, and Washington. His oil paintings are in major collections, including NASA headquarters' executive collection in Washington. He loves sports, particularly fixed spin cycling and boxing, which he says keeps him on his toes.

Robin Wilson

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Robin Wilson is Senior Lecturer of Mathematics at the Open University and Fellow of Keble College, Oxford University. He was formerly Visiting Professor in the History of Mathematics at Gresham College, London, and is a frequent visitor to The Colorado College, Colorado Springs.

His research interests lie mainly in graph theory and the history of mathematics. He has written and edited about twenty-five books on topics ranging from combinatorics and graph theory, via philately and the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan, to the history of mathematics in Britain. He is particularly involved with the exposition and popularization of mathematics. His other interests include music (choral and operatic), philately and travel, and he is well known for his bright clothes and his awful taste in puns.

John Conway

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  photo by T. Oliver Conway

World-famous mathematician John Horton Conway is the author or co-author of at least ten books, and of many expository articles which have had substantial impact not just on research mathematicians but on mathematical amateurs as well. Conway has a rare gift for naming mathematical objects, and for inventing useful mathematical notations. His joy in mathematics is clearly evident in all that he writes.

In addition to his playful books and creative games, he has a fondness for teaching. He has a terrific capability of reaching mathematicians as well as fourteen-year-olds. Conway once said, "If it is alive and is sitting somewhere near me, I'll teach it."

Educated at the University of Cambridge, Conway got a job at Cambridge as a mathematical logician upon graduation. He taught at his alma mater for many years before joining the Princeton faculty in 1986, and remains an honorary fellow of Gonville and Caius College. Conway is the recipient of the Berwick Prize (1971), Polya Prize (1987), Frederic Esser Nemmers Prize (1999), Leroy P. Steele Prize (2000) and the Joseph Priestley Award (2001). Conway received an honorary DSc. from the University of Liverpool (his hometown) on July 4, 2001.

When not attending math conferences, Gareth J.H. Conway is learning to walk and talk. His favorite activities are eating cheese and playing with blocks. He does complex quadratic equations, but unfortunately is unable to talk about them yet as his vocabulary only consists of "kitty" and "dada."

Photographer, T. Oliver Conway, is an excellent student at Princeton High School, where he is a member of the wrestling team. He is adored by his little brother, Gareth, and the feeling seems to be mutual.

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