Travis Kowalski (2004)

Department Head and Professor

Mathematics (MATH)


B.S., University of California Ph.D., University of California

(605) 394-2471
M 206C (campus map)
Research Expertise

My research interests lie in three main focus areas: (1) Complex analysis and formal power series: the use of "infinite polynomials" to solve a wide variety of problems. such as solving differential equations, solving recurrence relations, and determining invariants for CR manifolds. (2) Mathematical pedagogy: how we teach and assess mathematics to help students learn, understand, and retain it; in my case, the use of abilities-based assessment methods. (3) The intersection of mathematics, history, culture, and art. I have received both the George Polya Award and the Chauvenet Prize from the Mathematical Association of America for my article "The Sine of a Single Degree." 

Brief Bio

Though I started out as an art major, I graduated with a BS (and then a PhD) in mathematics. I maintain that I never changed my major, only my medium: I make art, not for your eyes, but for your mind. (I still make daily examples of "constrained art" with Sharpies on napkins.) I joined the South Dakota Mines community in 2004, where I spent the next 10 years terrified someone would find out I wasn't an applied mathematician. By way of punishment for my deception, I am currently the Interim Head of the Department of Mathematics. 


I view teaching as the most important part of my job as a mathematician. I've taught College Algebra, Trigonometry, Precalculus, Calculus 1-2-3, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, Advanced Calculus 1-2, Complex Analysis, Dynamical Systems, Mathematical Modeling, Game Theory, and Mathematics in a Cultural Context. I've received both the Benard Ennega Award (from South Dakota Mines) and the Burton Jones Award (from the MAA) for excellence in teaching. 

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