20th  Top Connecticut College alumni 
Edward B. Burger  

Born  1964 (age 45–46) 
Residence  Williamstown, Massachusetts 
Citizenship  United States 
Ethnicity  Caucasian 
Fields  Mathematics Algebraic number theory Diophantine analysis padic analysis Geometry of numbers The theory of continued fractions 
Institutions  Williams College 
Alma mater  Connecticut College University of Texas at Austin 
Edward B. Burger (born 1964)^{[1]}^{[2]} is professor of mathematics in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Williams College. He graduated from Connecticut College in 1985, where he earned B.A. Summa Cum Laude with Distinction in Mathematics^{[3]}. In 1990, he received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin^{[3]}. He did his postdoctoral work at the University of Waterloo in Canada^{[4]}.
His research interests include algebraic number theory, Diophantine analysis, padic analysis, geometry of numbers, and the theory of continued fractions.^{[3]}^{[5]} He teaches abstract algebra, "The Art of Creating Mathematics", and Diophantine analysis.^{[5]} He has taught or been a visiting scholar at the University of Texas at Austin, Westminster College, James Madison University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the Macquarie University in Australia.^{[5]}
Burger has been honored for his innovative work in developing educational and entertaining mathematics electronic textbooks. He has been a keynote speaker, invited special session speaker, or the conference chair at a number of Mathematical Association of America and American Mathematical Society conferences^{[6]}.
Contents 
Edward Burger is a pioneer^{[7]} in rich, multimedia Internet lectures that, together with written material, form an electronic textbook. By providing students with the presence of a recorded instructor, the material is much more interactive and engaging compared to traditional text books. Together with Thinkwell, Burger "crafted the firstever virtual, CDROM video, interactive, mathematics texts/courses"^{[8]} published over the World Wide Web; he is featured in several of the entertaining multimedia math lessons. Additionally, his lesson tutorial videos earned publisher Holt, Rinehart and Wilson one of the 2007 Awards of Excellence^{[9]} from Technology & Learning, an academic publication.
Burger has written and starred in number of educational videos, including the 24lecture video series Zero to Infinity: A History of Numbers and An Introduction to Number Theory. He has delivered more than 400 lectures worldwide and has appeared on more than 40 radio and TV programs including ABC News Now on WABCTV in New York and National Public Radio.^{[5]}
In recognition for his work in multimedia education technology, The Association of Educational Publishers awarded Burger with the 2007 Distinguished Achievement Award for Educational Video Technology^{[10]}
It should come as no surprise that someone so visually focused would embrace creativity as one of the cornerstones of his teaching methods:
“  Creativity is a means of making new discoveries or creating new ideas or objects—a means to an end, where the end is originality. Mathematicians are both artists and explorers: artists, because they use original thinking and creativity to make new discoveries; explorers, because, unlike artists, what we create is either true or false given the axioms mathematics has as its pillars. Someone might have a result that they deem “beautiful,” but if it’s not true, the mathematics community will not care.^{[11]}  ” 
Burger feels that "math trauma" is commonly inflicted upon America's elementary and middleschool students, particularly girls, having received a seventhgrade report card stating: "Eddie is a nice boy, but he'll never do well in arithmetic."^{[2]} The problem is not with math, but with the way in which it is taught. "When we teach mathematics, we are not sensitive to the audience. Teachers are performers in front of an audience. Some teachers don't realize they have to reach their audience."^{[12]}
He offers his students "challenging questions for which the solution is by no means apparent"^{[11]}. For example, when teaching students about topology, he asked students if it is "possible to take a cord of rope 6 feet (1.8 m) long and tie it snugly around your right ankle and your left ankle, take off your pants, turn them inside out, and put your pants back on without ever cutting the rope?" He proceeded to demonstrate the solution to that challenge, wearing huge Boston Red Sox boxer shorts under his trousers, at the Boston Public Library in the summer of 2005.^{[12]} Failure is closely tied to creativity:
“  In all my courses, I emphasize the power of failure: learning from failed attempts and taking risks. Five percent of students’ final grades are based on their narrative of failure: how they learned from their failed attempts. I judge the quality of their failure by the size of the risk they’ve taken and the amount of insight they have generated from their mistakes. I do that as an invitation to the student to take risks, to try ideas without fear of failure.^{[11]}  ” 
"As a professor, I'm basically performing three times a week. I like to be funny and to make my students laugh," he said. In addition to his math courses, Burger teaches a short course in comedy writing during the winter study program at Williams. Combining math with comedy comes from his days as a standup comic at the Laff Stop Comedy Club in Austin in the late1980s.^{[2]}
Burger states that "mathematics is basically an approach to solving difficult problems. The techniques and strategies that we can learn in mathematics are techniques and strategies we can use to solve any difficult problem."^{[13]} In the textbook he coauthored with Michael Starbird, The Heart of Mathematics, they offer their favorite top ten mathematical ways of thinking:^{[13]}
Burger has written 12 books and has had more than 30 papers published in scholarly journals.^{[14]} With Michael Starbird, he coauthored The Heart of Mathematics: An invitation to effective thinking, for which they won a 2001 Robert W. Hamilton Book Award, and Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz,, a humorous look at mathematics filed under both math and humor in the Library of Congress catalog^{[12]}. Burger is also an associate editor for the American Mathematical Monthly and a member of the Editorial Board for [AK Peters Publishing].^{[5]}
Some of the books and papers he has authored or coauthored include:^{[15]}^{[16]}
Additionally, Burger has created virtual video textbooks on CDROM and on the web for Thinkwell on the topics of "College Algebra", 2000; "PreCalculus", 2000; "Calculus", 2001; "Intermediate Algebra", 2001; "Beginning Algebra", 2004; "Trigonometry", 2006; and "Prealgebra", 2007.
Burger has held the following professional positions:^{[10]}^{[18]}
Some of the honors and awards Burger has received include:
Burger is a Gaudino Scholar (2008)^{[5]} at Williams College, where he was also awarded the 2007 Nelson Bushnell Prize for Scholarship and Teaching^{[10]}.
Burger has been honored by The Mathematical Association of America on several occasions: 2001, Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics^{[19]}; 20012003, George Pólya Lecturer^{[20]}; 2004, Chauvenet Prize^{[21]}; and 2006, Lester R. Ford Award^{[22]}
