Submitted on Friday, 9/21/2012, at 12:01 PM

September 21, 2012                                      

AMHERST, Mass. – Steven Strogatz, Cornell University mathematics professor and New York Times math blogger, will give a talk titled “Bringing Math to the Masses” in the Cole Assembly Room of Amherst College’s Converse Hall on Thursday, Oct. 4, from 7 to 8 p.m. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a reception.

Strogatz—whose new book The Joy of x will be released Oct. 2—works in the areas of nonlinear dynamics and complex systems, often on topics inspired by the curiosities of everyday life. He is perhaps best known for the series of New York Times weekly blog entries about mathematics that the Harvard Business Review described as “must reads for entrepreneurs and executives” and “a model for how mathematics needs to be popularized.” (On Sept. 10, 2012, he began blogging again for the Times in a series titled “Me, Myself and Math.”)  

His 1998 paper in the journal Nature on “small-world” networks ignited a flurry of research into the topic.  He has received numerous awards for his research, teaching and public service including a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation (1990); MIT’s highest teaching prize, the Everett Moore Baker Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (1991); the J.P. and Mary Barger ’50 Teaching Award (1997), the Robert ’55 and Vanne ’57 Cowie Teaching Award (2001), the Tau Beta Pi Teaching Award (2006) and the Swanson Teaching Award (2009), all from Cornell’s College of Engineering; and the Communications Award from the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (2007), a lifetime achievement award for the communication of mathematics to the general public. In 2009 he was elected a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics for his “investigations of small-world networks and coupled oscillators and for outstanding science communication.” In 2012 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

In addition to contributing to the New York Times, Strogatz frequently serves as a guest on National Public Radio’s RadioLab.  He also filmed a series of 24 lectures on chaos for the Teaching Company’s Great Courses series, available on DVD. In addition to The Joy of x, he is the author of Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos (1994), Sync (2003) and The Calculus of Friendship (2009).

After graduating summa cum laude in mathematics from Princeton in 1980, Strogatz studied at Trinity College in the United Kingdom, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He did his doctoral work in applied mathematics at Harvard, and then spent several years at Harvard and Boston University on a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship. From 1989 to 1994, Strogatz taught in the Department of Mathematics at MIT. He joined the Cornell faculty in 1994 and now serves there as the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics. For more on Strogatz, visit his website,