Rustum Choksi: Winner, Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching (Full Professor)
Students coming from high school often arrive with specific – and mistaken – expectations of the mathematics classroom. In Rustum Choksi’s courses he emphasizes a pedagogical paradigm shift, whereby mathematics is not about memorization nor symbolic manipulations and calculations but rather a beautiful and diverse discipline which is often a means to understanding our complex world.
“The more you give to mathematics, the more it gives back,” says Choksi, recipient of the Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching in the Full Professor category at the fall convocation ceremonies on November 20. “Mathematics is about building your ability to think rigorously and rationally by studying basic structures and quantities, how these quantities change, their interdependencies, and how one can best estimate them,” he says.
“The study of math is a continuum,” says Choksi, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. “For example, one can explore and connect fundamental algebraic and geometric structures from a purely mathematical point of view; one can apply deep ideas in probability to gain insights about the training of deep neural networks; one can use our understanding of partial differential equations to derive state of the art computational tools for addressing and modelling fluids and complex materials. This is something I love about mathematics, and something which should be celebrated in our classes.”