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David Marius Bressoud, 2009-2010 MAA President

Born: March 27, 1950, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

David Marius Bressoud, a mathematics professor at Macalester College, is the current past president of the MAA.

Presidency: 2009-2010

As president, Bressoud wants to rethink how to teach undergraduate mathematics more effectively, especially in light of the increasing numbers of students taking calculus in high school. He wants to encourage collaboration between mathematics and the biological and social sciences.

Bressoud sees Project NExT as a model for using technology to facilitate communication and information access. Beginning January 1, 2010, the MAA has offered an all-electronic membership option.

Bressoud writes a "From the President" column in MAA FOCUS. (All links are to pdf files.)

Jan. 2009: "Launching into the Next Two Years"
Feb./March 2009: "Mind the Gap"
April/May 2009: "Technology in Support of the Classroom"
Aug./Sept. 2009: "MAA to Probe Calculus I"
Oct./Nov. 2009: "MAA Strategic Planning Around STEM Issues"
Dec. 2009/Jan. 2010: "MAA Speaks Out on Capitol Hill"
Feb./March 2010: "Meeting the Challenge of High School Calculus"
April/May 2010: "MAA Calculus Survey"
June/July 2010: "New MAA Bylaws"

He has also written a monthly column called "Launchings" for MAA Online since February 2005. Past columns and an RSS feed are available.

Education and Career

Bressoud earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics at Swarthmore College (1971), taught math and science in the West Indies through the Peace Corps for two years, and earned master's (1975) and doctoral (1977) degrees in mathematics at Temple University with Emil Grosswald as his advisor.

Bressoud joined the Pennsylvania State University faculty in 1977 and taught there until joining Macalester College in 1994. He chaired the Macalester Department of Mathematics and Computer Science from 1995 through 2001, and he has been a DeWitt Professor of Mathematics since 1996.

Bressoud has held visiting positions at the Institute for Advanced Study (1979-80), the University of Wisconsin (1980-81, 1982), the University of Minnesota (1983), the University of Strasbourg (France) (1985-1986), and State College Area High School (1990-91).

Bressoud, who says he is happiest when writing a book, won the MAA Beckenbach Book Prize for Proofs and Confirmations: The Story of the Alternating Sign Matrix Conjecture. His other books include Factorization and Primality Testing, Second Year Calculus: From Celestial Mechanics to Special Relativity, A Radical Approach to Real Analysis (now in its second edition), A Radical Approach to Lebesgue's Theory of Integration, and, with Stan Wagon, A Course in Computational Number Theory.

He has published over fifty research articles in number theory, combinatorics, and special functions, in addition to many general interest articles.

Bressoud also loves talking about mathematics. He has given many talks and done a set of 24 half-hour lectures on the history of mathematics for the Teaching Company. Bressoud received the MAA Distinguished Teaching Award (Allegheny Mountain Section) and was an MAA Pólya Lecturer. He is a recipient of Macalester's Thomas Jefferson Award.

David has chaired the MAA special interest group Teaching Advanced High School Mathematics as well as the AP Calculus Development Committee, and he was director of the FIPSE-sponsored program Quantitative Methods for Public Policy.

External Resources

Faculty website at Macalester College

MAA FOCUS interview (pdf, html) from the January 2009 issue (pdf, Table of Contents)

The Mathematics Genealogy Project