The teaching lives of others

From the time that you finish taking courses in graduate school, until you have to evaluate other people’s teaching (for tenure and promotion, say), you could get away with not watching anyone else teach. Of course, we see talks at conferences, and maybe think about teaching quite a bit, go to workshops, etc. But it is not that hard to go through this period of your life without being in any classroom but your own. Sadly, this is also the period of your life in which your teaching is under the most scrutiny. From the moment you get hired for a postdoc or tenure-track job, you will have to prove to others that your teaching is worthy of letters in the first case, and of keeping your job (i.e. getting tenure) in the second. In any case, you are still learning how to teach, and while a lot of this is “learning by doing”, it is surprising how little we see others teaching. I have been fortunate to have had a few chances to see my peers, friends, and colleagues teach, and I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned through that, and also to encourage you, dear readers, to do the same.

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Posted in inquiry-based learning, science and humanities, teaching | Leave a comment

Number Theory, the African Queen

Walking to the auditorium at the IMSP, in Dangbo, Benin.

Walking to the auditorium at the IMSP, in Dangbo, Benin.

“Mathematics is the queen of the sciences and number theory is the queen of mathematics.” – Carl Friederich Gauss.

This month, I had the incredible honor of teaching at a summer school on “Algebraic Number Theory and Applications” in Dangbo, Benin.  It was a unique opportunity, in part because I had never taught a course like this before, but also because it gave me a chance to visit West Africa, to work with an amazing group of people, and to make new connections with a great group of African mathematicians. In this post, I will share some of my experiences (and photos!) from the trip.

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Posted in CIMPA research school, conferences, ICTP, summer school | 3 Comments

A mathematician watches the World Cup

This summer, I am focused on three things: math, travel (for math and for family), and the World Cup. Not surprisingly, many others are focusing on the World Cup and there are lots of blog posts and articles about World Cup related things. In this post, I wanted to draw attention to all of the math AND World Cup related things that have caught my attention. So here is a list of facts, articles, and blogs, in no particular order.

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Posted in math in the media, public awareness of mathematics, World Cup | 4 Comments