Thursday, November 29, 2012

Congrats to Dr. Hanlon -- The New President of Dartmouth

Several Ivy League universities have been searching for Presidents this year and Dartmouth just announced that its 18th President will be a Dartmouth alum, Dr. Philip J. Hanlon, who graduated from Dartmouth in 1977 and then went on to get a PhD at CalTech.

But what I find especially exciting is that he is a mathematician and, as Provost of the University of Michigan, has been teaching freshman calculus! He hopes to also teach some math courses as President of Dartmouth, which is terrific and time will tell, and his schedule, whether he will be able to pull this off.

Plus, his PhD advisor at CalTech was a female, Dr. Olga Taussky-Todd, as you can see from his cv!

The New York Times has a nice photo and article on Dr. Hanlon.

I remember taking calculus for two semesters as a freshman at Brown University and I was taught by Professor Joseph LaSalle, who was one of the founders of dynamical systems. I would regularly visit him during his office hours to chat and together we would model how his coffee would get cold, among other problems. I'll never forget having one of the most famous applied mathematicians of his time teaching me calculus and I hope that it was worth it since I ended up getting a PhD in Applied Math from Brown and my love of math modeling and computing is in part due to my great freshman calculus teacher.

Coincidentally, I used one of Taussky-Todd's theorems in my PhD dissertation since I needed one of her results to prove some of my theorems!

I wish Dr. Hanlon much luck in his new position. Dartmouth has made a terrific choice.

The suspense continues, though. I wonder who will be the next President of Princeton University?