Glen Van Brummelen

Glen Van Brummelen, mathematics tutor, is a historian of mathematics, especially trigonometry and astronomy in ancient Greece and medieval Islam. He was president of the Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics (2000-2002; 2012-14), and governor-at-large for Canadian members of the Mathematical Association of America (2013-16). In addition to authoring 30 scholarly and 15 encyclopedia articles, he is co-editor of Mathematics and the Historian’s Craft (Springer); author of the first history of trigonometry in over a century with Princeton University Press called The Mathematics of the Heavens and the Earth: The Early History of Trigonometry; and recently published Heavenly Mathematics: The Forgotten Art of Spherical Trigonometry, also with Princeton.  In 2016, Glen won the Haimo award, the top teaching award for undergraduate mathematics in North America.

Glen has taught mathematics at small liberal arts colleges his entire career. He has taught over 30 different courses, including most traditional topics in math but also mathematics and music, mathematics and democracy, mathematics and computer graphics, spherical trigonometry (using a 19th-century textbook), and how to be an ancient astronomer. Several of his students have published their undergraduate research with him in recent years. In the summer he teaches the history of math regularly at MathPath, a math camp for bright seventh- and eighth-graders.

As if this wasn’t enough, he keeps busy with his three very active kids of his own: Ariel (current Quest student), Matthew (16) and Andrew (13), all of whom will be mathematicians someday, and wife Heide (age unspecified). He is an avid soccer player, and played goal on the college team at his two previous colleges. He is undefeated at chess in the past 20 years, with a record of 2-0. Glen notes that “the key is to choose one’s opponents carefully.