Biography of a

Real-Life Mathematician

WHo is a REal-life Mathematician?

In Spring 2020 semester, I decided to have my students interview living mathematicians by training, by trade, or by hobby. Many liberal arts-facing survey courses have students explore past mathematical "greats"--Gauss, Euler, Newton--but I wanted my students to see that math is a living, breathing subject where things are continually being discovered.

The assignment can be found here. The assessment portion had to be adapted as the poster did not make it to print before the switch to online course delivery in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The final poster can be found as a downloadable PDF below (it's a big file - 100MB). Take some time to download the file and zoom into read about the RLMs each student talked with. The images across the top are students in the course who chose to submit their photo for inclusion on the poster - in the process of taking this course and working through this and other projects, they are realizing that each of them is, indeed, a Real-Life Mathematician! [Note: most browsers won't be able to display the file clear enough to be read without being downloaded, sadly.] The individual poster files can be found at the bottom of this page.

Note: The majority of the posters have been left unedited as presented by students with their impression from their interviews. If there is a factual error that you would like me to fix, please email me and I will get the original file from the student and make the appropriate adjustments.

My experiences with this assignment are published in the 2021 June/July issue of the MAA FOCUS.


Zoomed in portions of the poster

Real Life Mathematician photo 1Real Life Mathematician photo 2Real Life Mathematician photo 3Real Life Mathematician photo 4Real Life Mathematician photo 5

Spring 2020 Real-Life Mathematicians

(use the Drop Down arrow to show List of Mathematicians)

  • Tim Antonelli

  • David Austin

  • Mario Banuelos

  • Francesca Bernaldi

  • Michael Bradley

  • Uri Bram

  • Nicole Bridgland

  • Elisabeth Brown

  • Sarah Cassie Burnett

  • Anne Costolanski

  • Kathi Crow

  • Mirela Durakovic

  • Heather Dye

  • Neville Fogarty

  • Tim Fraser

  • David Freund

  • Kelsey Gasior

  • Victoria Gershuny

  • Megan Heenehan

  • Angela Jarrett

  • Zack Kenz

  • Patricia Klein

  • Christina Koehne

  • Naama Lewis

  • Marco Lopez

  • Chad Mangum

  • Blake Mellor

  • Janet Merwin

  • Kristen Moore

  • Lauren Nelsen

  • Anne Paschkopic

  • Kelly Patton

  • Marissa Renardy

  • Michael Robert

  • Thomas Rogers

  • Michael Ruddy

  • Peter Thomas

  • Christine Uhl

  • Anila Yadavalli