Baylor Undergraduate Lecture Series in Mathematics Welcomes Dr. David Bressoud for Two Lectures

Oct. 4, 2011
News Photo 5242Dr. David Bressoud, DeWitt Wallace Professor of Mathematics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., will lecture as a part of the fourth annual Baylor Undergraduate Lecture Series in Mathematics on Thursday, Oct. 6, and Friday, Oct. 7, on the Baylor University campus.

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Dr. David Bressoud, DeWitt Wallace Professor of Mathematics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., will lecture as a part of the fourth annual Baylor Undergraduate Lecture Series in Mathematics on Thursday, Oct. 6, and Friday, Oct. 7, on the Baylor University campus. The events are free and open to the public.

Bressoud's first lecture, "Calculus in High School: Too Much of a Good Thing?" will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday in Room D109 of the Baylor Sciences Building. The talk will present an overview of the history of the Advanced Placement Calculus program, data on its effectiveness and the effects of its growth, and a description of responses that are needed within high schools and universities.

Because more students study first semester calculus in U.S. high schools than in all 2- and 4-year universities, Bressoud believes that more students should be directed towards careers in science, engineering and mathematics. In reality, the opposite may be happening.

Bressoud's second lecture, "Proofs and Confirmations: The Story of the Alternating Sign Matrix Conjecture," will be held at 4 p.m. Friday in Room 344 of the Sid Richardson Building. He will discuss the role of proof in mathematics and the generalization of the permutation matrix known as the "alternating sign matrix."

After earning his bachelor's degree at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pa., Bressoud received both his master's and doctoral degrees from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa. He joined the Macalester faculty in 1994 after 17 years at Pennsylvania State University. He has served as chair of Macalester's Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, chair of the Mathematical Association of America's Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (CUPM), and chair of the College Board AP Calculus Development Committee, the committee that sets the AP Calculus syllabus and writes the exams.

Bressoud also served as 53rd president of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) from 2009-2010. He has received the MAA Distinguished Teaching Award, the MAA Beckenbach Book Award for his text Proofs and Confirmations, and has been a Pólya Lecturer for the MAA.

He has won both a Fulbright Fellowship and Sloan Foundation Fellowship. He also has published over fifty research articles in number theory, combinatorics, and special functions. His other books include Factorization and Primality Testing, Second Year Calculus from Celestial Mechanics to Special Relativity, and A Radical Approach to Real Analysis.

About the Baylor Undergraduate Lecture Series in Mathematics

Presented by the Baylor Department of Mathematics, the Baylor Undergraduate Lecture Series in Mathematics was introduced in 2008. The lecture series is aimed at undergraduate and graduate students, as well area high school students and teachers. The series' goal is to interest and attract students to mathematics and mathematics education.

Lecturers chosen for the series are renowned mathematicians with a penchant for teaching mathematics and a clear enthusiasm for the subject. Previous speakers include: Dr. John Oprea, professor of mathematics at Cleveland State University; Dr. Brian Conrey, founding director of the American Institute of Mathematics in Palo Alto, Calif.; and Dr. William Dunham, Truman Koehler Professor of Mathematics at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa.

For more information, call the Baylor Department of Mathematics at (254) 710-3561.

by Katy McDowall, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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