I graduated from Hamilton College in 1993 with a degree in mathematics, and I received a Ph.D. in mathematics from Northwestern University in 1998. I came to Dickinson after a postdoctoral position at Michigan State University.
I am passionate about many areas of mathematics, but my research focuses on dynamical systems, topology, the history of mathematics, and recreational mathematics. I am the author of Tales of Impossibility: The 2000-Year Quest to Solve the Mathematical Problems of Antiquity (2019) and Euler’s Gem: The Polyhedron Formula and the Birth of Topology (2008), both of which were published by Princeton University Press. I was the editor of Math Horizons, the undergraduate magazine of the Mathematical Association of America, from 2014 to 2019. I enjoy chatting about mathematics on my blog (Division by Zero) and on Twitter (@divbyzero).
My Erdös number is four in at least three ways (Erdös → Andrzej Schinzel → Michal Misiurewicz → John Franks → Me; Erdös → Svante Janson → Steve Fisher → John Franks → Me; Erdös → Branko Grünbaum → Jaume Llibre → John Franks → Me).
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Carlisle, PA 17013