Steven J. Miller                                                      
Associate Professor of Mathematics, Williams College               
202 Bronfman Science Center, 413-597-3293
(Steven.J.Miller AT williams.edu)

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curriculum vita
research statement
teaching statement  
  Welcome letter to Williams Students
Possible thesis / colloquium projects
Opportunities in Mathematics (REUs, gradschool)
photos of Cam and Kayla
   

Greetings! I arrived at Williams in 2008. I've known several graduates and members of the faculty for years, and my family and I are excited to be part of the community. We joined the 5 College area in Fall 2011 (with my wife teaching at UMass and me taking sabbaticals at Smith and Mount Holyoke), but are now happily back. I'm currently the faculty program director for Spencer Neighborhood.

I wanted to briefly introduce myself by providing some personal and professional information. I received a BS in Mathematics and Physics from Yale in 1996, and then earned a PhD in Mathematics from Princeton in 2002. Since then I've taught at Princeton, New York University, (The) Ohio State University (GO BUCKS!) and Brown. I'm married; my wife Liz is a professor of Marketing at UMass Amherst, and we have a 6 year old son Cameron and a four year old daughter Kayla. I grew up just outside Boston. My hobbies outside math include tennis, sailing, reading (primarily historical fiction, politics and science fiction), Boston sports teams, bridge and twistie art. In previous years I served as faculty advisor to the Brown chess club, and I currently maintain a math riddles page (which is usually among the top ten hits when googling math riddles; it's being greatly improved by three Williams students as part of the WIT program, and is online at mathriddles.williams.edu). I'm also an early riser, and enjoy starting the day by having breakfast with friends (I'm currently the President of the International Federation of Collegiate Breakfast Clubs, so if you're ever in Oxford and want a free meal, let me know!). For the past N summers I've run an undergraduate research group as part of SMALL here at Williams, as well as serving as a research mentor to high school students at the PROMYS program at BU and talking at Hampshire College's program.

One of the reasons I love studying math is that there must be a reason for each answer, and that reason is not 'because I said so!'. I find it amazing that many very different phenomena can be explained by the same basic equations (for example, the same math used to analyze the Fibonacci numbers 1,1,2,3,5,8,13, can be used to teach you why playing roulette at Vegas is a terrible idea; click here for a short video I made with OIT on the subject). My main research is in number theory and probability, especially some problems on the boundary of math and physics. For example, there are many similarities between the behavior of primes and the energy levels of heavy nuclei such as Uranium! This is a specific example of a very general phenomenon, namely how results and observations in one field can suggest problems (and sometimes solutions) in another. In addition to research in pure mathematics, in the last few years I have written papers in accounting, baseball, computer science, economics, geology and marketing. I've supervised over 200 undergraduates in the past 10 years (several of whom only knew basic calculus), and I try to have open research projects in my classes. If you are interested in undergraduate research, please drop me a line -- I'm interested in almost anything that relates to math (for those interested in a senior thesis or colloquium, click here for a more detailed list). Some of my current projects with undergraduates include a collaboration with the San Diego Padres (I'm a huge Red Sox fan, but some of my students are Yankee fans, so we figured this is a nice, neutral team) and working with the IRS to detect tax fraud, as well as some problems in number theory and dynamical systems. I've written a number theory book (the link will take you to a webpage with links to some student reports and background papers), and am currently writing a probability book with a Williams student.

I've taught many classes over the years; links to them are available from my main homepage. These include Math 103 (Calculus I),  Math 209 (Differential Equations and Vector Analysis), Math 406 (Analysis and Number Theory), Math 416 (Linear Programming),  Math 341 (Probability), an independent course in Sabermetrics, Math 10 (Lqwurgxfwlrq Wr Fubswrjudskb), Star Trek and Science for Winter Study (and am planning on teaching The Mathematics of Legos in January 2013), Math 302 (Complex Analysis), a tutorial in number theory (Math 308/406). an independent study in Problem Solving (especially to prepare for the Putnam) in the fall, and Math Math 105 (Multivariable Calculus). I've also run the Williams' Green Chicken Team (it's a lot of fun; we have weekly dinners where we discuss interesting math competitions). 

Looking forward to meeting you.

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