William Dunham Given High Honor by the Mathematical Association of American (MAA)'Berg's Truman Koehler Professor of Mathematics named the 2014-2016 Pólya Lecturer
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 00:23 PM
The Pólya Lecturer Program, named for 20th century mathematician George Pólya, was established in 1990 to allow the MAA to bring lectures by outstanding expositors to MAA regional sections. Recipients are selected for their outstanding expository skills and have included (among others) three presidents of the MAA, a Sloan Fellow and a winner of the MacArthur Genius Award.
Dunham was previously honored by the MAA with the Beckenbach Book Prize for his work Euler: The Master of Us All (MAA, 1999). His interest in the history of mathematics has led to numerous talks at colleges and universities around the country and has carried him to speaking engagements at the Smithsonian Institution, on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation: Science Friday,” and at the Swiss Embassy in Washington, D.C. In the fall of 2008 and again in the spring of 2013, he was invited to be a visiting professor at Harvard University, where he taught an undergraduate course on the mathematics of Leonhard Euler.
In addition to Euler: The Master of Us All, he is the author of: Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics (Wiley, 1990); The Mathematical Universe (Wiley, 1994); and The Calculus Gallery: Masterpieces from Newton to Lebesgue (Princeton, 2005). Collectively, these have been translated into seven different languages. Dunham has also edited a volume, The Genius of Euler: Selections from His Life and Work (MAA, 2007) and recorded a DVD course for Teaching Company with the title “Great Thinkers, Great Theorems.”
At the close of the fall semester, Dunham will retire from Muhlenberg College after 21 years of service. He will spend the spring semester as a visiting professor at Princeton University and the following fall as a visiting professor at University of Pennsylvania.