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Department of Mathematics/Computing
York College (CUNY)
Jamaica, NY 1145-0001
Office: 2C07d, Academic Core Building
Phone: (718) 262-2550
(Note: Voicemail available)
I am a member (Professor, Emeritus) of the Mathematics and Computing Department at York College (CUNY-The
City University of New York). I am also a member (Professor, Emeritus) of the mathematics doctoral faculty of CUNY's
Graduate Center. You can find my current
(or most recent) teaching schedule at York here.
I am a big fan of the Mathematics and Computer Club of York College. Refreshments are usually served. Nearly all the talks are self-contained (i.e. require no prior mathematics or computing background). My colleague T. C. Wu maintains a web page for the Club In conjunction with talks that I have given at the Mathematics and Computing Club and examples I talk about in my classes I have developed a collection of Mathematical Tidbits. Here is a list of talks given at the Mathematics and Computer Club over the last few years.
I serve as co-editor of the Feature Column, a web based column sponsored by the American Mathematical Society. I would welcome feedback about the columns that I have written and suggestions for future columns. An annotated list of my columns is here. The list of my columns in chronological order appears here.
My three year term as the Governor for the Metropolitan New York Section of the Mathematical
Association of America (MAA) ended June 30, 2002. However, suggestions concerning improved ways of having the Section serve the metropolitan New York area mathematics community can still be addressed to me.
In May, 2000 I co-organized (with Amir Assadi, Dorothy Washburn, and Robert Wilson) a Geometry Conference (which has already taken place) to honor my thesis advisor Donald Crowe. Those interested in looking at titles and abstracts and photos should consult the conference web page.
My mathematical interests include geometry (polytopes, graph theory, tilings, etc.), discrete mathematics and mathematical modeling (especially models dealing with fairness and equity issues and codes of all kinds). Most of the research I have done concerns using combinatorial methods (graph theory) to solve problems about polyhedra. You can find a list of my papers and my doctoral students at CUNY's Graduate Center here. For the benefit of CUNY Graduate Center students, here is some information about my "research program."
In conjunction with my mathematical and mathematics educational interests I have written and edited a variety of materials (often jointly with other people). References to these materials can be found here.
I believe that the teaching of geometry is significantly under represented in the curriculum. I think this has come about because mathematicians and the public identify geometry with the axiomitc geometry taught in high school years ago. Geometry, in fact, is a vast subject covering a wide variety of different arenas. To promote this point of view I have prepared an ennumeration of the different parts of geometry that arise when geometry is viewed in broad perspective. I include suggestions for references where one can get started in learning about these different parts of geometry. I refer to the way geometry might be viewed as Geometry in Utopia. I have developed a small collection of problems which show how geometric ideas and/or tools arise in applications oriented settings. Due to the narrow definition of geometry that is often used, many people would not consider some of this geometry.
Mathematics Education Interests:
I have a keen interest in mathematics education, specifically curriculum development matters, at all levels (primary school to graduate school). Many exciting new developments are happening in mathematics and the ways that it can be applied, but very few of these new developments are making their way into classrooms. For example, many new discoveries in geometry and discrete mathematics can be presented even in elementary school. Some of the materials that I have written or been involved with can be found
Particular interests of mine related to education are:
(a) Public perceptions of mathematics and mathematicians
Mathematics is much more a part of people's lives than they are aware. To demonstrate this I often call attention to articles in magazines and newspapers that I refer to as "mathematics in the news." These items often do not explicitly mention mathematics yet none the less some thought will show the connection.
(b) When to call a mathematician!
(c) Techniques versus themes for organizing the content of mathematics
(d) Training "ambassadors" for mathematics
(e) Providing a non-standard look at geometry for children.
(f) Mathematics in the News. Unfortunately, I have not found time to keep this going, but the American Mathematical Society (AMS) has been sponsoring a digest of mathematics in the media that is edited by Tony Phillips (SUNY-Stony Brook)
(g) CUNY is involved with planning for opening a new Community College. I have been part of the group planning what the mathematics program at the new school would look like. In conjunction with this, I have prepared some materials that might have a broader interest.
I have prepared some questions to assist undergraduates who want to enter graduate programs with the selection of a suitable school. I also have a page where one can learn about some of the distinguished women contributors to mathematics.
I have become involved with a group of mathematicians, mathematics educators, and other interested parties to help change the climate for Mathematics Education. The group calls itself Math Is More. In conjunction with, here are some comments I posted to the Math is More web page.
Also in conjuction partly with Math is More, I have prepared some "stand alone" essays about Mathematics Education. These essays will be available here.
York College is part of the Teacher Academy program at CUNY (now sadly confined only to students who have already been admitted) which offers free tuition (and other benefits) in exchange for teaching Mathematics or Science in the New York City public schools. I have been involved with the Teacher Academy at York, where I organized a Mathematics Education Seminar and developed some curriculum materials for the benefit of Teacher Academy Students (and other interested parties). A list of talks and abstracts for the talks given at the York College Mathematics Education Seminar will give you an idea of the range of topics our community has learned about and is interested in. Unfortunately, CUNY no longer supports the Teacher Academy, but the web pages above still are available.
I am one of the founding members, along with Jacob Eli Goodman, Irwin Lutwak, and Richard Pollack, of the Courant Institute Geometry Seminar. The offical seminar page is available here.
I maintain an "unofficial" version of the events at the Courant Geometry Seminar for the current semester here.
Course Materials and Talks:
Some materials I have developed for the Mathematics (and other) courses I taught at York College or the CUNY Graduate Center are available here
I have developed a course called Geometric Structures which I have taught at both the graduate and undergraduate level. Some materials which supplement and are variants of those available via the link above can be accessed below.
Geometric Strutures curriculum materials.
I will be developing some materials for a Game Theory course aimed primarily at future teachers which will deal with games in the sense that term is used by economists and political scientists, although I will do a bit with combinatorial games such as nim, etc. A syllabus is available for the material and "notes" will be added from time to time.
Game Theory curriculum materials.
Some materials related to the teaching mathematical modeling can be found via the link below.
Mathematical modeling curriculum materials
Here are some slides that I used for a talk about the combinatorics on words (Fibonacci word and Thue-Morse sequence) that I gave to York College's Math/CS Club
Various publications and papers
When Robert Bumcrot retired from Hofstra University I wrote a paper for his retirement festshrift which appeared on line, but the diagrams for the versions of the paper that one can find on the web "disappeared." So I am making a version of this paper available here with the diagrams.
Pancakes, Graphs and the Genome of Plants
York College is a member of the Long Island Consortium for Interconnected Learning
(Licil), housed at SUNY at Stony Brook (Alan Tucker, program director). For this
program I have taught two Humanities Courses at York: Humanities 230, Fairness and Equity and Humanities 235 (Digital Revolution).
The Fairness and Equity Course has as its goal to show the value of developing analytical (mathematical) approaches to equity and fairness (elections, cost sharing, bankruptcy, fair division, organ transplants, etc.). I have developed a course syllabus, showing the range of topics that can be covered in such a course (but not realistic for a one semester course). I have also collected some instructional and resource materials for this course. A glossary of terminology related to fairness and equity questions (and game theory) is available here.
The Digital Revolution Course has as its goal to show how mathematical ideas, particularly ideas about different kinds of codes, support new technologies such as fax, wireless telephony, baggage and mail tracking systems web based technologies, etc. The course also is designed to treat the many civil liberties issues being raised by digital technologies. I have developed a course syllabus, showing the range of topics that can be covered in such a course (but not realistic for a one semester course.) I have collected some instructional and resource materials for this course.
Open Problems Suitable for Undergraduates (Also see Student Research Section below)
A glossary of terms that may of use in understanding some of the material discussed in the problem sets below.
Problem Set I
Problem Set II
Problem Set III
Here is a brief essay and some graph theory situations that probes how new mathematical problems arise. Some of the questions here have already been answered but I have listed no references in order to encourage students to explore these questions on their own.
High School Student Research (also of interest for undergraduate and graduate students):
Students who discover an interest in Mathematics or Computer Science in high school
can have the exciting experience of trying to do research. I have created a collection
of unusual research problems (requiring almost no prior background in Mathematics
or Computer Science). The areas these problems cover range from problems about polyhedra,
tilings, nets, number theory, fairness, elections, etc. My York colleague T.C. Wu
has kindly improved the version of these research problems which were developed with partial support from the NSF to the Long Island Consortium. One feature of the problems I have prepared is that there is a glossary of terms
that might be unfamiliar to students that accompanies the problems. This glossary may be especially helpful for students who are just learning about graph theory.
I have also collected a primer of resources for students (high school level or above) who want to do research in Mathematics
and Computer Science.
Students who might be interested in doing research on a collection of geometry problems related to the Art Gallery Theorems can find some problems and resources for getting started on that topic here
Here is a short collection of problems (pdf file) that is designed to encourgage students to think about problems related to the Gale-Shapley "marriage problem." What is involved is taking the preferences of n men for n women and these n women for the n men and pairing the men and women in a "stable" way. There are many applications to this circle of ideas, including the pairing of hospitals and medical residents. Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley recently won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for work related to these ideas.
I have prepared a web page with a brief list of web sites where there are interesting and quick starting research projects suitable for high school students and undergraduates.
Microworlds of Research
Here are a series of research environments where with relatively little background one can have the experience of trying to solve problems which are both old and new. It is exciting to work on a problem on your own even if some of the questions have already been solved. Typically, new questions that have not been solved arise from this process, plus there is great enjoyment to be had in exploring problems that are new to you on your own.
This set of questions involves the shortest tour to visit a collection of lines in the Euclidean plane.
This set of questions involves the triangulations of simple polygons, and their visbiility properties.
Visibility Properties of Polygons
I enjoy preparing bibliographies that may be useful to students and researchers on
various topics within (and related to) mathematics. Some of these bibliographies
are very general and others are very specific. I welcome any corrections and suggestions
for additional entries.
Fairness and Equity Bibliographies
Graph Theory and Combinatorics Bibliographies
Journals with Expository and elementary articles about Mathematics
Journals Dealing with Discrete Mathematics, Graph Theory, Combinatorics, and Related Geometry
Martin Gardner's Books
Mathematical Biology Bibliographies
Modeling and Applications of Mathematics Bibliographies
Operations Research Bibliographies
Biographies of Mathematical People
Popular Books About Mathematics
History of Mathematics and Mathematics Curriculum:
It is interesting to consider who has served as a president of one of the major professional socieites in Mathematics (MAA, AMS, SIAM)
Presidents of MAA, AMS, and SIAM
Links (These are some very impressive and useful sites I continually find valuable.)
Here is a list of the major professional societies that are directly or indirectly
related to Mathematics and Computer Science:
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
American Mathematical Society (AMS)
American Statistical Association (ASA)
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM)
Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS)
Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP)
DIMACS: Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (Rutgers University)
Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)
Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications (UK)
Institue for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS)
Mathematical Association of America (MAA)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM)
Sigma Xi (Sigma Xi)
Society of Actuaries (SOA)
Last updated 11/15/2013