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Kevin J. Hastings
Professor and Chair of Mathematics
2 East South Street
Galesburg, IL 61401-4999
At Knox, mathematics is marked by a commitment to analytic rigor, an emphasis on clear understanding, the ability to communicate effectively with others, and an excitement about the unlimited possibilities within this field of knowledge.
Today, the pleasure and the excitement of studying mathematics are intensified by the capacities of modern computers, which have helped bring new developments within the reach of the serious undergraduate. Knox has been at the forefront in capturing the power of computers, both for class assignments and in research.
A distinctive feature of the mathematics major at Knox is the importance given to effective communication. In all courses students are expected to speak and to write clearly in the discipline. Certain courses, such as "Mathematical Structures" and "Analysis 1" are identified as writing intensive and are places where particular attention is devoted to the development of students' mathematical writing abilities. As a "capstone" experience, all mathematics majors are required to participate in the independent study of a topic of current interest and produce a professional quality paper and public talk on the topic.
Mathematics students begin with a solid foundation in calculus, linear algebra and mathematical structures before proceeding to a variety of advanced courses and independent work. Some majors undertake a College Honors project, which involves a year of research on a mathematical topic, a paper and an oral defense. Recent Honors projects have dealt with topics such as fundamental solutions for partial differential equations and options pricing.The Department of Mathematics also offers a major in the exciting and rapidly developing field of Financial Mathematics, which is concerned with the study of investment behavior in the face of risk, and valuation of derivative products that are based on simple underlying assets.
The mathematics department is housed in the Umbeck Science and Mathematics Center. Its Kresge Science and Mathematics Library holds relevant journals and a large collection of mathematics texts, in addition to which Knoxstudents and faculty have access on line to a wide variety of digital references. Knox has superb computing facilities for student use. Knox's high speed fiber optic and wireless networks give students access anywhere on campus, including their own rooms, free DS-3 access to the Internet and to advanced software, including the Mathematica computer algebra and graphics system that is used heavily in many courses in the department and for student research. The Stellyes and Caterpillar Labs provide Windows computers in the Umbeck Science and Mathematics Center. Additional facilities include several science-related computer labs, a data analysis lab in George Davis Hall, and a 24/7 general computer lab in Seymour Union.