If you've come looking for information about what I do — or what I'm doing — the links at left can help direct you.
I believe... That mathematics was made to be understood, not merely "done." A committed evangelist of reform and literacy pedagogy, I believe every mathematical concept tells a story — and that that story is written in a variety of dialects: not merely in formulas but also in illustrations, numbers, and above all, in words. Truly successful students of mathematics are engaged with the whole story, not merely the computations.
This semester... I am teaching:
- Mathematics 302 — Abstract Algebra II
I believe... That self-directed learners are made, not born. Essential as mathematics is to a liberal-arts education, not every student arrives to college with the skill and confidence to succeed in college-level mathematics. I believe that any student, properly supported by both unstructured tutoring and mentoring, and structured coaching and small-group engagement, can turn mathematics from an adversary to an ally.
This semester... Math Services offers approximately thirty undergraduate math tutors on a drop-in basis during all business hours. We also provide attached learning assistants to enhanced sections of introductory math courses designed to assist students with gaps in their math background to be prepared for success in calculus.
Math Services is also offering a Trigonometry workshop series designed to build students' intuition and skill in trigonometry.
I believe... That the story of mathematics continues to unfold, and there is something for everybody in its telling. Mathematics is a beautiful subject in its own right, a discipline whose insistent logical consistency gives it a legitimate claim to perfection. However, I believe that math's "baser" nature — its manifestations in the sciences and other applications — are the key to making mathematics accessible to all open-minded critical learners, regardless of their discipline. Within even the highest mathematics, a lower purpose can ultimately be found.
This semester... Inspired by, and in collaboration with, my colleague Dr. Heidi Burgiel, I am working on untangling the global symmetries of one of M.C. Escher's woodcuts, and making the case that many of Escher's works share a common symmetrical theme. Our work on Escher's 1966 woodcut Path of Life III is published:
Burgiel, H. and Salomone, M. Logarithmic Spirals and Projective Geometry in M.C. Escher's "Path of Life III." Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 2 (1) (2012): 22-35.
I am also continuing research into how symmetry and geometry bear upon the dynamics of N-body problems. I am particularly interested in characterizing curvatures of Jacobi-Maupertuis metrics, using a variety of techniques.
Curriculum and Service
I believe... That practical quantitative skills are at the heart of the liberal arts, and the math faculty have a duty to support faculty and students from across the university with a thoughtful curriculum and ample professional development. In today's data-driven academy, the one-size-fits-all math curriculum of the past is showing its age. Students and scholars in many fields are now faced with the task of carefully writing and critically reading quantitative arguments in their discipline, arguments which are inaccessible without a solid foundation of quantitative reasoning skills.
This semester... I am facilitating Quantity Across the Curriculum (QuAC), a faculty learning community collaborating to enhance the offerings and effectiveness of quantitative assignments and courses in all disciplines. I am also working with faculty and administrators to clarify and assess the quantitative reasoning requirement of BSU's Core Curriculum.