Edward Burger

Edward Burger

Infobox Scientist
name = Edward B. Burger

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residence = Williamstown, Massachusetts
citizenship = United States
nationality =
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fields = Mathematics
Algebraic number theory
Diophantine analysis
"p"-adic analysis
Geometry of numbers
The theory of continued fractions
workplaces = Williams College
alma_mater = Connecticut College
University of Texas at Austin
doctoral_advisor =
academic_advisors =
doctoral_students =
notable_students =
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footnotes =
Edward B. Burger, Birth year and age|1964Grondahl, Paul. " [http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/tu_burger_edward.html Math for laughs all in author's equation] ". "Times Union". October 16, 2005. Retrieved May 2, 2008.] , is professor of mathematics in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Williams College. He graduated from Connecticut College in 1985, where he earned B.A. Summa Cum Laude with Distinction in MathematicsBurger, Edward B. [http://www.williams.edu/Mathematics/eburger/index.www.html Faculty page] . Williams College. September 9, 1999. Retrieved May 1, 2008.] . In 1990, he received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin. He did his postdoctoral work at the University of Waterloo in CanadaPress release: " [http://www.williams.edu/admin/news/releases.php?id=1015 "Hate Math?" This Book is for You! "Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz"] ". Williams College. September 12, 2005. Retrieved May 1, 2008.] .

His research interests include algebraic number theory, Diophantine analysis, "p"-adic analysis, geometry of numbers, and the theory of continued fraction.Press release: " [http://www.williams.edu/admin/news/releases/1636 Mathematician Edward B. Burger Named Gaudino Scholar at Williams] ". April 23, 2008. Retrieved May 1, 2008.] He teaches abstract algebra, "The Art of Creating Mathematics", and Diophantine analysis. He has taught or been a visiting scholar at the University of Texas at Austin, Westminster College, James Madison University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the Macquarie University in Australia.

Burger has been honored for his innovative work in developing educational and entertaining mathematics electronic textbooks. He has been a keynote speaker, invited special session speaker, or the conference chair at a number of Mathematical Association of America and American Mathematical Society conferences [http://www.utm.edu/departments/cens/math/meeting/burger.php Dr. Edward B. Burger—Keynote Speaker] . TMTA/MT²nw 2006 Fall Conference.] .

A pioneer in teaching

Edward Burger is a pioneerTraub, James. " [http://www.nytimes.com/library/magazine/home/20001119mag-onlineu.html?Partner=isyndicate&RefId=,SzmgW_jEFnnnuuu2mY This Campus Is Being Simulated] ". "New York Times Magazine". November 19, 2000. Retrieved May 1, 2008.] in rich, multimedia Internet lectures that, together with written material, form an "electronic textbook". By providing students with the presence of a recorded instructor, the material is much more interactive and engaging compared to traditional text books. Together with [http://www.thinkwell.com/ Thinkwell] , Burger "crafted the first-ever virtual, CD-ROM video, interactive, mathematics texts/courses" [Burger, Edward B. " [http://www.williams.edu/Mathematics/eburger/calc.html Virtual Video Interactive WEB-based Texts] ". Williams College. Retrieved May 2, 2008.] published over the worldwide web; he is featured in several of the entertaining multimedia math lessons. Additionally, his lesson tutorial videos earned publisher [http://www.hrw.com/ Holt, Rinehart and Wilson] one of the 2007 "Awards of Excellence"Poftak , Amy and Susan McLester. [http://www.techlearning.com/story/showArticle.php?articleID=196604910 Awards of Excellence] . "Technology & Learning". December 15, 2007. Retrieved May 1, 2008.] from "Technology & Learning", an academic publication.

Burger has written and starred in number of educational videos, including the 24-lecture video series " [http://www.teach12.com/ttcx/coursedesclong2.aspx?cid=1499 Zero to Infinity: A History of Numbers] " and " [http://www.teach12.com/ttcx/coursedesclong2.aspx?cid=1495 An Introduction to Number Theory] ". He has delivered more than 400 lectures worldwide and has appeared on more than 40 radio and TV programs including "ABC News Now" on WABC-TV in New York and National Public Radio.

In recognition for his work in multimedia education technology, The Association of Educational Publishers awarded Burger with the 2007 "Distinguished Achievement Award" for Educational Video TechnologyBurger, Edward B. " [http://www.williams.edu/Mathematics/eburger/honors.html Honors and Awards] ". Williams College. Retrieved May 1, 2008.]

It should come as no surprise that someone so visually focused would embrace creativity as one of the cornerstones of his teaching methods:

Burger feels that "math trauma" is commonly inflicted upon America's elementary and middle-school students, particularly girls. He should know, having received a seventh-grade report card stating: "Eddie is a nice boy, but he'll never do well in arithmetic."Grondahl, Paul. " [http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/tu_burger_edward.html Math for laughs all in author's equation] ". "Times Union". October 16, 2005. Retrieved May 2, 2008.] The problem is not with math, but with the way in which it is taught. "When we teach mathematics, we are not sensitive to the audience. Teachers are performers in front of an audience. Some teachers don't realize they have to reach their audience."Palmer, Lisa. " [http://www.boston.com/news/globe/education/articles/2005/10/16/mathematics_made_fun/ Mathematics made fun: Williams professor takes creative approach] ". "The Boston Globe". October 16, 2005. Retrieved May 1, 2008.]

He offers his students "challenging questions for which the solution is by no means apparent". For example, when teaching students about topology, he asked students if it is "possible to take a cord of rope convert|6|ft|m long and tie it snugly around your right ankle and your left ankle, take off your pants, turn them inside out, and put your pants back on without ever cutting the rope?" He proceeded to demonstrate the solution to that challenge, wearing huge Boston Red Sox boxer shorts under his trousers, at the Boston Public Library in the summer of 2005. Failure is closely tied to creativity:

"As a professor, I'm basically performing three times a week. I like to be funny and to make my students laugh," he said. In addition to his math courses, Burger teaches a short course in comedy writing during the winter study program at Williams. Combining math with comedy comes from his days as a stand-up comic at the [http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/story?oid=oid%3A530510 Laff Stop Comedy Club] in Austin in the late-1980s.

Mathematical thinking

Burger states that "mathematics is basically an approach to solving difficult problems. The techniques and strategies that we can learn in mathematics are techniques and strategies we can use to solve any difficult problem."" [http://www.thefutureschannel.com/conversations_archive/burger_conversation.php Conversations - Edward Burger] ". The Futures Channel. Retrieved May 1, 2008.] In the textbook he co-authored with Michael Starbird, "The Heart of Mathematics", they offer their favorite top ten mathematical ways of thinking:
# Just do it.
# Make mistakes and fail but never give up.
# Keep an open mind.
# Explore the consequences of new ideas.
# Seek the essential.
# Understand the issue.
# Understand simple things deeply.
# Break a difficult problem into easier ones.
# Examine issues from several points of view.
# Look for patterns and similarities.


Burger has written 12 books and has had more than 30 papers published in scholarly journals.Burger, Edward B. " [http://www.williams.edu/go/math/eburger/pub.html Publications] ". Williams College. Retrieved May 1, 2008.] With Michael Starbird, he coauthored [http://www.williams.edu/Mathematics/eburger/texts2.html "The Heart of Mathematics: An invitation to effective thinking"] , for which they won a 2001 Robert W. Hamilton Book Award, and "Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz,", a humorous look at mathematics filed under both "math" and "humor" in the Library of Congress catalogPalmer, Lisa. " [http://www.boston.com/news/globe/education/articles/2005/10/16/mathematics_made_fun/ Mathematics made fun: Williams professor takes creative approach] ". "The Boston Globe". October 16, 2005. Retrieved May 1, 2008.] . Burger is also an associate editor for the American Mathematical Monthly and a member of the Editorial Board for [AK Peters Publishing] .

Some of the books and papers he has authored or co-authored include:Berger, Edward B. " [http://www.williams.edu/Mathematics/eburger/books.html Books authored by and videos starring E.B. Burger] ". Williams College. Retrieved May 2, 2008.] Berger, Edward B. " [http://www.williams.edu/Mathematics/eburger/pub.html Journal Publications] ". Williams College. Retrieved May 2, 2008.]
*, 1993
* " [http://www.williams.edu/Mathematics/eburger/pleasures.pdf Pleasures vs. Problems] ", February 2000
* "Exploring the Number Jungle: A Journey into Diophantine Analysis" (Student Mathematical Library, V. 8), ISBN 0821826409, July 2000
* " [http://www.williams.edu/Mathematics/eburger/focus.pdf Abandoning Dead Ends: Embracing Lively Beginnings] ", 2000
* " [http://www.williams.edu/Mathematics/eburger/BurgerMathHorizons.pdf 'Math Forum'—I couldn't keep my distance: A mathematical seduction] , February 2002
* "The Joy of Thinking: The Beauty and Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas: Part 1 & 2" (The Great Courses - Science & Mathematics), ASIN|B000KHB84U|date=2003
* "Making Transcendence Transparent: An intuitive approach to classical transcendental number theory", ISBN 0387214445, July 2004
*, ISBN 1931914419, 2004
* "Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz: Making Light of Weighty Ideas", ISBN 0393059456, August 2005
* "Matematicas", ISBN 0030926289, 2007
* "Mathematics: Course 2", Holt, ISBN 0030385121, January 2007
* "Algebra 1", Holt, ISBN 0030358272, January 2007
* "Extending the Frontiers of Mathematics: Inquiries into proof and argumentation", ISBN 1597570427, March 2007
* "Algebra 2", Holt, ISBN 0030358299, August 2007
* "Just 7: The number for happiness, love, and success", to be published in 2009 by TwelveNeyfakh, Leon. " [http://www.observer.com/2008/book-seven-sold-twelve Book on the Number Seven Sold to Twelve] ". The New York Observer. March 4, 2008. Visited May 7, 2008.]

Additionally, Burger has created virtual video textbooks on CD-ROM and on the web for [http://www.thinkwell.com Thinkwell] on the topics of "College Algebra", 2000; "Pre-Calculus", 2000; "Calculus", 2001; "Intermediate Algebra", 2001; "Beginning Algebra", 2004; "Trigonometry", 2006; and "Prealgebra", 2007.

Professional positions

Burger has held the following professional positions:Burger, Edward B. " [http://www.williams.edu/Mathematics/eburger/prof.html Professional Positions] ". Williams College. Retrieved May 1, 2008.] Burger, Edward B. " [http://www.williams.edu/Mathematics/eburger/honors.html Honors and Awards] ". Williams College. Retrieved May 1, 2008.] ; University of Texas at Austin: Visiting Lecturer, Summer 1990; Visiting Assistant Professor, Fall 1994; Visiting Scholar, Summer 1997; University of Waterloo, Canada: Postdoctoral Fellow, 1990-1991; Williams College: Assistant Professor, 1990-1996; Associate Professor, 1997-2000; Professor of Mathematics, 2001 - present; Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, 2003-2006; Gaudino Scholar, 2008-present; James Madison University: Visiting Scholar, October 1993; University of Colorado at Boulder: Visiting Assistant Professor, Spring 1995; Stanislaw M. Ulam Visiting Professor, 1998-1999 and 2002-2003; Macquarie University, Australia: Visiting Fellow, Summer 1999; Westminster College: Genevieve W. Gore Distinguished Resident, March 2001; [http://learn.arc.nasa.gov/products/products01/ltp_html/individual_pages/takeoffmass.html Mass Interaction] : Mathematics Consultant, Summer 2001; Texas Christian University: Cecil and Ida Green Honors Professor, Fall 2001; American Mathematical Monthly: Associate Editor, 2002 - present; [http://www.educationaladvancementfoundation.org/ The Educational Advancement Foundation] : Member of the Board of Trustees, 2004-2008; [http://www.akpeters.com/ AK Peters Publishing] : Member of the Editorial Board, 2005-present; NUMB3RS in the Classroom Project, CBS-TV/Paramount Studios/Texas Instruments: Mathematics Advisor, 2005-2007

Selected honors and awards

Some of the honors and awards Burger has received include:
* 2007 "Award of Excellence", for "educational mathematics videos that break new ground", "Technology & Learning" magazine
* 2007 "Distinguished Achievement Award", for Educational Video Technology, The Association of Educational Publishers
* 2006 "100 Best of America", Listed in Reader's Digest's Annual Special Issue as Best Math Teacher
* 2003 Residence Life Academic Teaching Award, University of Colorado at Boulder
* 2001 Robert W. Hamilton Book Award, for "The Heart of Mathematics"
* 1988 Mathematics Teaching Award, University of Texas at Austin

Burger is a Gaudino Scholar (2008)Press release: " [http://www.williams.edu/admin/news/releases/1636 Mathematician Edward B. Burger Named Gaudino Scholar at Williams] ". April 23, 2008. Retrieved May 1, 2008.] at Williams College, where he was also awarded the 2007 "Nelson Bushnell Prize" for Scholarship and Teaching.

Burger has been honored by The Mathematical Association of America on several occasions: 2001, Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics [http://www.maa.org/Awards/Haimo_Recipients.html The Mathematical Association of America's "Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics"] ] ; 2001-2003, George Pólya Lecturer [http://www.maa.org/Awards/polyalecturers.html The Mathematical Association of America's "George Pólya Lecturers"] ] ; 2004, "Chauvenet Prize" [http://www.maa.org/Awards/chauvent.html The Mathematical Association of America's "Chauvenet Prize"] ] ; and 2006, "Lester R. Ford Award" [http://www.maa.org/awards/ford.html The Mathematical Association of America's "The Lester R. Ford Award"] . Retrieved May 1, 2008.]


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