Cal State Fullerton mathematics professor Scott Annin has two passions: math and mountain climbing.
Through his teaching, the university’s most recent Outstanding Professor Award honoree hopes to inspire and guide his students on journeys of mathematical discovery — instilling that hard work and perseverance are no different than scaling to the peak of the tallest mountain.
Annin will share, and draw an analogy, of his experiences in the classroom and in nature, during his Outstanding Professor Lecture, “Mountaintop Moments in Mathematics,” at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 26, in the Rotary Club of Fullerton Room 130 of the Pollak Library. A 9:15 a.m. reception will be held prior to his public lecture. The event is open to the public free of charge.
Annin, who received the award last spring, has climbed hundreds of mountains in his lifetime. He also has led individuals on challenging adventures, in the hope of inspiring them with perspective and amazing scenery they have never seen before.
“Helping students understand mathematics is a similar endeavor,” said Annin, who has taught at CSUF since 2002 after earning his doctorate from UC Berkeley. “Many students find mathematics challenging, and often it takes hard work from both students and instructors to overcome these challenges. Forging new ground in mathematical research also requires mathematicians and scholars to work hard and find inspiration to reach new heights and discover new results.”
In his talk, Annin will describe some of the research he has conducted with his students, as well as some of his recent projects, which aim to give future students new tools to “overcome obstacles and discover new beauty in mathematics.”
Annin's mountaineering and climbing launched into high gear in the summer 2007 when he became a hike master for the YMCA of the Rockies in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. His current goal is to climb all 58 mountains in Colorado that are more than 14,000 feet high. So far, Annin has climbed 47 of them, including the six most-difficult-rated peaks. The tallest mountain he has climbed is Mount Whitney, in the Sierra Nevada, at 14,505 feet.
For his teaching and research, Annin has received numerous awards and accolades, including CSUF's 2008 Carol Barnes Excellence in Teaching Award, as well as a national teaching award from the Mathematical Association of America. He has published numerous articles and been involved in several grant projects, including co-directing a $600,000 National Science Foundation-funded effort to help underrepresented math majors persist in obtaining a graduate degree in mathematics.
While the presentation is free, on-campus parking is $8 for the day, or $2 per hour at select parking spaces on campus. Details are available online.