Francis Su, Benediktsson-Karwa Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, has been named a Phi Beta Kappa Academic Honor Society 2019–2020 Visiting Scholar. The program offers undergraduates at more than 100 colleges and universities the opportunity to interact with some of America’s leading thinkers. Over two-day visits, the scholars attend classroom discussions and seminars, meet with students and faculty members and deliver a public lecture.
With the purpose of fostering an exchange of ideas between visiting scholars and resident faculty and students, the program is an ideal fit for Su, who is passionate about teaching and popularizing mathematics. “People often think math is for an elite few but it’s not for them. I hope to help people see that doing math is intimately tied to being human. And because of that, math should be seen as something that everyone should pursue and is worth the effort to learn well. I also want to remove barriers to people being able to pursue mathematics,” Su says.
Su studies the application of combinatorics, geometry and topology to problems in the social sciences. A past president of the Mathematical Association of America, Su has done much public writing and speaking on issues related to removing barriers for women and underrepresented groups to student mathematics.
In 2017, Wired called him “the mathematician who will make you fall in love with numbers.” Su was given the 2018 Halmos-Ford award for distinguished writing, as well as the 2013 Haimo Award for exemplary teaching. Three of his articles have appeared in the Princeton anthology The Best Writing on Mathematics in 2011, 2014 and 2018. His book Mathematics for Human Flourishing will be published by Yale University Press in December.
About The Visiting Scholar Program
The Phi Beta Kappa Society established the Visiting Scholar Program in 1956. Its goal is to enrich the intellectual atmosphere at participating institutions and enable undergraduates to connect with leading scholars in a variety of disciplines.
About The Phi Beta Kappa Society
Founded on December 5, 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation’s oldest and most-widely known academic honor society. It has chapters at 286 colleges and universities in the United States, 50 alumni associations and more than half a million members around the world. Its mission is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, to recognize academic excellence, and to foster freedom of thought and expression. For more information, visit The Phi Beta Kappa.