Williams College Math Professor Receives Teaching Award

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Satyan Devadoss

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams College professor of mathematics Satyan Devadoss has received the 2014 Northeastern Section Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics, bestowed by the Mathematical Association of America.

Devadoss specializes in algebraic and combinatorial structures in topology and geometry, and he’s particularly interested in computational geometric ideas such as cartography and origami and the visualization of information. He returns to campus this fall after a year spent as a visiting professor at Stanford University.

Devadoss, who has taught at Williams for 13 years, gives much credit for his being honored to the professors who have served as role models to him.

“My road to this award has been well-paved, being surrounded by a department of remarkable, brilliant teachers who have demonstrated this to me on a daily basis,” he said.

At Williams, Devadoss said, the wall between teaching and research does not exist. His classes are natural extensions of his research. His students join him in exploring mathematics, which in turn leads him to new ideas for his work.

He will receive the award and give a talk at the NES/MAA fall meeting, to be held in November at Southern Connecticut State University. Recipients of the award are automatically nominated for the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award, the MAA's national award for distinguished teaching.

Professor Frank Morgan said of Devadoss, “[He] has his own very visual style of teaching that often combines striking images and artwork with mathematics. His students find his courses difficult and electrifying.”

Devadoss received his doctorate in mathematics from the Johns Hopkins University and his bachelor of science from North Central College. He was an inaugural Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and has been honored with numerous awards for his teaching and research, including the MAA’s Henry L. Adler National Teaching Award for young faculty and Williams’ Nelson Bushnell Prize.

Four Williams professors have been honored with the MAA Northeastern Section Award in previous years, most recently Susan Loepp in 2010.

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