First mathematician to lecture
Math and science to be topics of lectureship
Published: Friday, March 22, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 18:03
Dr. Edward Burger will deliver the 37th annual West Texas Medical Associates Distinguished Lectureship in Science in honor of Dr. Roy E. Moon at the University Center on Tuesday, March 26.
Burger’s first lecture will be at 2 p.m., which is entitled “Zero to Infinity: Great Moments in the Evolution of Numbers,” and the second lecture will be at 8 p.m. entitled “Monkeys, Mathematics and Mischief: What are the Lifelong Lessons of Education.” Both will be in the C.J. Davidson Center.
“The monkeys talk is all about what math and other subjects offer us that will stay with us after we forget all the facts from the tests,” Burger said. “‘Zero to Infinity’ is a historical talk all about how numbers came to be.”
Not only will students gain insight from the lecture, they will receive a deeper understanding of science, which benefits the community as a whole, Dr. Paul Swets, dean of Arts and Sciences said.
“First, this kind of partnership with West Texas Medical Associates strengthens the university’s relationship with the community at large,” Swets said. “The WTMA generously underwrites this Lectureship, which in turn allows the university to attract the kind of speaker you will see on Tuesday. We expect several hundred community members who are not directly associated with the university to attend one or more of the events surrounding the Lectureship. That kind of community/university interaction benefits both the Concho Valley and Angelo State.”
Burger, currently serves as a member of the Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Mathematics at Williams College in Williamstown, MA., and is recognized as one of the top mathematics educators in the country.
Recently Burger was selected as the new president of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.
“It’s an enormous honor and opportunity,” Burger said. “My hope is to continue to inspire the innovation that has been going on at Southwestern for quite some time and see if we can offer an even more profound liberal arts experience that transforms lives.”
Dr. Paul Swets, dean of Arts and Sciences, said that this is a great opportunity for students to examine science, as the lectureship is designed for students.
“Students receive an opportunity to interact with a world-class scientist,” Swets said. “Since its inception in 1977, this Moon Lectureship series has brought some of the world’s greatest scientists to West Texas for engaging and frequently provocative visits on topics ranging from asteroid impacts to brain research to biomedical ethics. The opportunity to meet and listen to a Nobel Laureate or other world-class scientist is one that not many students in West Texas might otherwise be able to have.”
Burger became one of the first makers of instructional mathematics videos that were accessible to a broader audience through CD-ROMs through the Internet in 1997. Over the last 16 years Burger has created more than 3,000 videos targeting groups ranging from elementary to college level.
In addition to his work with CD-ROM and Internet-based material, Burger has also published 12 books and produced numerous video textbooks and video lectures. In 2012, Burger developed the Fuse Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II—the first school-level core apps for Apple’s iPad.
Swets has known Burger since his days as a college student in the 1980s at the University of Texas, where Burger was a mathematics graduate student.
“He was in a course I took,” Swets said. “I also attended a couple of the seminars he gave and ever since that time I’ve had the distinct pleasure of watching his remarkable career unfold as a research mathematician, as an educator of mathematics, as an author, a speaker and now as President-elect of Southwestern University in Georgetown.”
Burger is the first mathematician to give a lecture at the WTMA lectureship, and was invited because of his lively lectures.
The lecture is free to the public and was originally created as a tribute to San Angelo obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr. Roy E. Moon, who passed in 1976.