Baylor > Mathematics > News
News from the Mathematics Department

Students' Reaction to Ed Burger's Cherry Award Visit

Nov. 4, 2009

Dr. Edward B. Burger, Gaudino Scholar and Professor of Mathematics at Williams College, was on campus October 26-28 as one of the three finalists for the Cherry Teaching Award at Baylor University.

Ed Burger-Cherry Award Visit
Professor Ed Burger lecturing in his public presentation

During his site visit, he gave three lectures to packed classrooms, including close to 200 people jammed into a 136-seat classroom in the Baylor Sciences Building to hear his public lecture entitled "The Art of Exploring Invisible Worlds: Thinking through the Fourth Dimension".

For more information on Ed Burger and his visit, please click on any of the following links:

Lariat Article

Baylor Press Release

Mathematics Department Article

Gail Brooks, a mathematics instructor at McLennan Community College and a Baylor graduate, remarked after seeing Dr. Burger's public lecture with her son, Jimmy, "I walked out of the classroom invigorated and inspired to be a better student and teacher. Jimmy started on his geometry homework as soon as we got home. That is a huge compliment!"

Below are quotes from students who attended Dr. Burger's lectures:

"He has a very innovative style of teaching, and was very interactive with the students. Although I am not a math person, I felt that the way he explained the problem was very helpful in getting me to grasp the concepts." (Eden Davis)

"He was very enthusiastic and passionate. If the class didn't understand, he proposed the question in a different way so that we could understand". (Genesis Levine)

"He was energetic and witty and presented material in an interesting way. I actually paid attention." (Jonathan Coss)

"Awesome lecture. I liked how into it he was." (Aaron Cervantez)

"I thought Dr. Burger was an incredibly interesting man. He was highly energetic and a great speaker. I generally shun math, but Dr. Burger had a way of bringing it to life and holding my attention. I went to his lecture at the BSB as well which was just as enjoyable, if not more, as the in-class lecture. I'm very glad I had the opportunity to hear him speak!" (Matthew Carrington)

"He was an incredibly effective teacher. His teaching style is unique and also contagious. His presentation certainly kept me awake! I thought he did a great job." (Kellie Jarrard)

"He was very stimulating and had a contagious enthusiasm for the subject - very effective, creative teaching that held the audience's attention. I didn't think it would be possible to make such a difficult theorem fun and easy to learn!" (Lauren O'Farrell)

"He was energetic and explained his topic in a way that kept everyone attentive and excited to learn." (Lauren Spann)

"Great lecture! Love his enthusiasm. Presented everything thoroughly. Professional and involved his audience." (Cristina Ramirez)

"Engrossing. That was the first word that flowed through my mind after the close of the lecture. Throughout the lecture, Dr. Burger's animated style, fluid teaching, and colorful remarks made my already interested mind stay all the more focused. One of the more admirable aspects was his lack of note usage, which tends to denote a truthful care for and adeptness in his discipline. Also, his style did not let up - giving the audience the sense that his lecture was not a fore-fronted attention-getter. These and many more reasons left me with the strengthened conviction that teachers need not necessarily teach students, but cultivate in them the discipline; then that discipline will come naturally. He receives my whole-hearted praise!" (James Yang)

"I thought Dr. Burger had a marvelous personality and was filled with enthusiasm for the subject matter. He did an excellent job of not only speaking on the same level as the students but also in drawing in the students to the lecture. I, myself, am not a math enthusiast but he captured my attention for the entire lecture." (Joanne Proos)

"Though those of us familiar with Flatland have heard the analogies between 2, 3, and 4 dimensions often, Dr. Burger made these geometric observations tie into how we figure out problems in other types of math, how we perceive art, and ultimately how we discover things about every other discipline." (Meaghan McNeill)

"When I was at the lecture yesterday, one of my favorite quotes the speaker gave was when he talked about how when you immerse yourself in the big ideas of one subject, it becomes a lens to see ideas of other subjects. (For example, the way we can look at art after studying dimension and geometry...)" (Kathryn Ewing)

"It was a very cool talk and I loved how he explains things about the 4th dimension and how some things that you wouldn't ever think (like art) have to do with math, actually do! It was really cool how he was explaining that someone in the 4th dimensionm would see us as completely open like we would see 2-dimensional objects." (Melissa Hilz)

"Dr. Burger does for mathematicians what we are sorely in need of right now: he presents an argument that is mathematical in nature but is accessible to the layman that conveys the essence of why the study of mathematics is absolutely necessary. Without mathematics, what invisible worlds would we be missing out on?" (Myles Baker)

Dr. Burger has taught mathematics at Williams College since 1990. Since that time, he has been honored with numerous teaching awards, including the 2007 Award of Excellence from Technology & Learning magazine, the 2006 Reader's Digest "100 Best of America" as Best Math Teacher, and the 2006 Lester R. Ford Award, the 2004 Chauvenet Prize and the 2001 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College Teaching of Mathematics, all from the Mathematical Association of America.

He is the author or co-author of more than 30 research articles and 21 books and CD-ROM texts, including The Heart of Mathematics: An Invitation to Effective Thinking; Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz: Making Light of Weighty Ideas; and Extending the Frontiers of Mathematics: Inquiries into Proof and Argumentation. He also is an associate editor for The American Mathematical Monthly and a member-elect of the editorial board for Math Horizons.

Burger also has written and appeared in number of educational videos, including the 24-lecture video series, "Zero to Infinity: A History of Numbers" and "An Introduction to Number Theory." From 2005-2007, he served as a mathematics adviser for the "NUMB3RS in the Classroom Project," with CBS-TV/Paramount Studios/Texas Instruments.

His research interests include algebraic number theory, Diophantine analysis, geometry of numbers, and the theory of continued fractions. He teaches abstract algebra, the art of creating mathematics and Diophantine analysis.

Burger earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics summa cum laude with distinction from Connecticut College in 1985. He received his doctorate in 1990 from the University of Texas at Austin. He has taught or been a visiting scholar at the University of Texas at Austin, Westminster College, James Madison University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the Macquarie University in Australia.