I am currently a graduate student in the department of mathematics at the University of Colorado at Boulder pursuing a Ph.D. We mathematicians are so often spouting about how math is a “universal truth” that students often seem oblivious to the fact that mathematics has a history and has undergone many changes. My eyes were opened to this when, after reading Kuhn’s “Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” Dr. Pourciau asked our calculus class if we thought mathematics had ever undergone a paradigm shift. It took thousands of years to go from a few area formulas produced by the Greeks to the calculus that was being taught today. Because of this experience, I like to shake things up in my lectures by throwing in historical stories and anecdotes about mathematicians.
The math department at Lawrence gave me some wonderful opportunities to grow mathematically and personally, including an internship for the NSA and a semester studying math in Budapest, Hungary. As if learning math weren’t enough, these programs were also where I met my wife.