Category Archives: Teaching

Math for Sustainability

Dear Colleague

This is to let you know that Mathematics for Sustainability is being prepared for production by Springer, and that I anticipate publication in late April or early May this year.  I write now because I know that some of you are planning courses for Fall 2018 and have asked me about the availability of the book.  It will be available! What’s more, Springer has a landing page for the book right now.  Not every detail of the page is filled in yet, but you can request an online review copy of the book now, and I encourage you to do so if you are thinking about using Mathematics for Sustainability yourself or of recommending it to your college or department.

This picture shows coauthor Russ at the Joint Mathematics Meeting holding a “mock-up” copy of the book.  I expect our final cover will be a little bit more colorful, but you can see that this book is full of content – in fact, there are 400 pages of mathematical content beginning with Units and Measurement and ending with Decision-Making and Ethics, followed by more than 100 pages of case studies and supporting material.  It’s a big book but I believe it remains accessible to our target student group: those who took high school algebra and were not especially turned on by math, but find they need some credits of “quantitative reasoning” to finish their college degree.  I have come to believe that these are students who we can and should serve better. We three authors offer this book as a contribution to that improved service,

I myself will very likely not be around to hear what use you make of Math for Sustainability. It is therefore with a sense of “passing on a legacy” that I write to tell you of its impending publication.  I hope that the book will be a useful tool, making it possible for you and others to build courses and curricula that combine elementary, serious precalculus mathematics with the sustainability theme that can focus the passions of many students.  I also dare to hope more: that reading and using Mathematics for Sustainability may become for you a source of hope and joy, as writing it has been for me and my coauthors Russ and Sara.

Yea, we all could use a little mercy now,
I know we don’t deserve it, but we need it anyhow.


We sure do.

Grace and peace


[*] Mary performs “Mercy Now” from the Music Fog studio at the 2010 Americana Music Festival in Nashville, TN. (9/9/10)

“Operator K-theory” has appeared on AMS Open Math Notes

My final Penn State course (Spring 2017) was about K-theory and operator algebras – the connection between these two has been central to my mathematical life.  I wrote up lecture notes for this course, as has become usual for me.  I’m pleased to report that these have now appeared on the AMS Open Math Notes page.

The American Mathematical Society hosts AMS Open Math Notes,  which is “a repository of freely downloadable mathematical works in progress hosted by the AMS as a service to researchers, teachers and students.”

The Open Math Notes homepage continues  “These draft works include course notes, textbooks, and research expositions in progress. They have not been published elsewhere, and, as works in progress, are subject to significant revision.  Visitors are encouraged to download and use these materials as teaching and research aids, and to send constructive comments and suggestions to the authors.”



K-theory course online

I am putting the notes from my K-theory course online as they are available.   You can find them here.

I am starting with a purely algebraic development, as in the first few chapters of Milnor, but will soon dramatically change gear and talk about C*-algebras.

We had the interesting surprise of having a TV reporter in our class the other day.  You can view his report/interview here.