David A. Olson

What's the news?
None, my lord, but that the world's grown honest.
Then is doomsday near; but your news is not true.

Tour for Abstract Algebra

Registration FAQ

Contact Information

The best way to reach me is to send me email (Tex, LaTex, or MIME is fine).

Department of Mathematical Sciences
Michigan Technological University
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, Michigan 49931-1295

Telephone: (906) 487-2101
Fax: (906) 487-3133


My Baby Daughter

Here's a picture or two. Of course, she's 5 now, and I don't have any pictures of my son up yet...

My Mathematical Interests

I am interested in fluid flow, dynamo theory (planetary and solar magnetic fields), evolutionary ecology, and finance. I guess that's mathematics. They all involve PDE's of some sort and diffusion.

Work with David Smith, Princeton

See Symmetric Pollen for some completed work and conclusions.

Nonsymmetric Pollen Shape results ---work in progress

Nonsymmetric Pollen Shape results ---work in progress

My Pedagogical Interests

I would like to introduce every mathematical idea with an appropriately chosen real world problem, and lecture for no more than 15 minutes at a time --- a mere 3 minutes longer than the typical attention span. (The additional time allows for jokes which don't require attention.)

I would also like to introduce beginning college students to a full range of useful mathematics, including "nontraditional" applications such as codes & security, data compression, error correction in addition to standard topics such as differential equations.

A brief article, "Another Way To Graph a Sequence," (College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 27, No. 3, May 1996, pp 208-9) describes a useful way to graph a sequence so that limits superior and inferior can be apprehended visually. A Mathematica notebook (or a new version ) provides a reasonable way to explore the idea: plot (1/n, a[n]) instead of the usual (n, a[n]).

Some favorite websites (always under construction)

Derivative drill, mathematica notebook
Study Skills Sites
Local Weather
Bicycling Stuff
The Pit and the Pendulum
Intro Lab
Lab 1
Lab 2