Episode #19: Mathematics for flourishing, with Dr. Francis Su Flourish FM

 SelfImprovement
In this episode, we talked to Professor Francis Su about the role of mathematics in flourishing, how mathematics can promote flourishing, and his argument that the purpose of mathematics is to support flourishing.
Francis Su is the BenediktssonKarwa Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College and a former president of the Mathematical Association of America. In 2013, he received the Haimo Award, a nationwide teaching prize for college math faculty, and in 2018 he won the HalmosFord writing award. His work has been featured in Quanta Magazine, Wired, and the New York Times. His 2020 book Mathematics for Human Flourishing, which won the 2021 Euler Book Prize, offers an inclusive vision of what math is, who it’s for, and why anyone should learn it.
Key conversation points:
Francis’ definition of flourishing as a “wholeness of being and doing” and the way he distinguishes between flourishing and happiness
Francis’ argument on the role of mathematics in human flourishing
How mathematics can cultivate virtues important for flourishing and which virtues mathematics can cultivate in a particularly strong way
Francis’ approach towards teaching mathematics in such a way as to cultivate virtues among students of mathematics, such as creativity and an appreciation for beauty
Francis’ correspondence with Christopher Jackson, an inmate serving a 32year sentence for armed robberies who started writing to Francis seven years into his sentence, about his passion for mathematics, and the influence this correspondence has had on Francis’ work on mathematics and flourishing, and how he sees mathematics
Francis’ views on how mathematics education needs to change to cultivate virtues
francissu.com
flourishfmpodcast.com
In this episode, we talked to Professor Francis Su about the role of mathematics in flourishing, how mathematics can promote flourishing, and his argument that the purpose of mathematics is to support flourishing.
Francis Su is the BenediktssonKarwa Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College and a former president of the Mathematical Association of America. In 2013, he received the Haimo Award, a nationwide teaching prize for college math faculty, and in 2018 he won the HalmosFord writing award. His work has been featured in Quanta Magazine, Wired, and the New York Times. His 2020 book Mathematics for Human Flourishing, which won the 2021 Euler Book Prize, offers an inclusive vision of what math is, who it’s for, and why anyone should learn it.
Key conversation points:
Francis’ definition of flourishing as a “wholeness of being and doing” and the way he distinguishes between flourishing and happiness
Francis’ argument on the role of mathematics in human flourishing
How mathematics can cultivate virtues important for flourishing and which virtues mathematics can cultivate in a particularly strong way
Francis’ approach towards teaching mathematics in such a way as to cultivate virtues among students of mathematics, such as creativity and an appreciation for beauty
Francis’ correspondence with Christopher Jackson, an inmate serving a 32year sentence for armed robberies who started writing to Francis seven years into his sentence, about his passion for mathematics, and the influence this correspondence has had on Francis’ work on mathematics and flourishing, and how he sees mathematics
Francis’ views on how mathematics education needs to change to cultivate virtues
francissu.com
flourishfmpodcast.com
55 min