For a mathematician, Steven Strogatz really gets around. Whether it’s his popular New York Times series, his highly regarded books, his numerous appearances on RadioLab, or his frequent public lectures, Strogatz is out there, spreading the word about the wonders of mathematics. And the mathematical community could not have a better ambassador.
Steven Strogatz is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University. He studied at Princeton, Cambridge, and Harvard and taught at MIT before moving to Cornell in 1994. He is a renowned teacher and one of the world’s most highly cited mathematicians. His hon-ors include a Presidential Young Investigator Award, MIT’s highest teaching prize, a lifetime achievement award for the communication of mathematics to the general public, and membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
He is the author of several books, including Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos; Sync; The Calculus of Friendship; and his latest, The Joy of x, which won the MAA’s 2014 Euler Book Prize.
On top of being a prolific mathematician, author, and science communicator, Strogatz is a fun person to chat with. He recently took some time from his busy schedule to talk about mathematics, technology, education, and everything in between with Patrick Honner, a math teacher at Brooklyn Technical High School.
Patrick Honner: What kind of mathematician are you?
Steven Strogatz: I’m an applied mathematician. I work in differential equations, dynamical systems, and net-work theory, and I apply these and other mathematical ideas in a wide range of areas, like physics, biology, and the social sciences.
Patrick Honner: You’ve recently taught differential equations and complex analysis at Cornell. What else do you teach?
Steven Strogatz: I teach all the way up and down the curriculum, from courses for freshmen to advanced graduate courses