Education

  • PhD, University of Oklahoma (2019)
  • MA, University of Oklahoma (2014)
  • BA (Math/Computer Science), Bethel College (2011)
  • Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (Fall 2010)

Courses Taught

  • Discrete structures
  • Intro to proofs
  • Topology
  • Real analysis
  • Calculus I & II
  • Linear algebra
  • Preparation for industrial careers in mathematics
  • Intro to artificial intelligence

Research Interests

  • One-relator groups and generalizations
  • Orderable groups
  • Nonpositive and negative curvature conditions for groups
  • Computability and complexity questions for finitely presented groups

Ben Stucky

Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science

 Pronouns: he/him/his  Email: stuckybw@beloit.edu  Phone: 608-363-2193  Schedule an Appointment  Office: Room 218, Sanger Center for the Sciences

Hi there! My favorite part of teaching at Beloit is the close relationships I have with my students. I believe that everyone deserves to experience the joys of math and computer science, and I like to start my courses with discussions of Dr. Federico Ardila’s axioms. Students from marginalized groups (women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ individuals, folks with disabilities, and more) have been and continue to be excluded from these subjects and STEM in general. Additionally, many of my students’ future employers in government and industry do not encourage or welcome challenges to the status quo, routinely putting employees in positions of unknowingly or unwillingly furthering systemic injustices. I am committed to decolonizing and demilitarizing all of these subjects in any way that I can, in particular by equipping undergraduates to interrogate potential uses of their newfound technical math and computer science skills through the lens of a liberal arts training. Let’s work to tip the scales together!

I love to teach all kinds of courses. In intro-level courses like calculus, I get to meet students from many different majors, and I love to learn from them and help them see how mathematics can serve their interests in other disciplines. In more advanced courses like topology, I get to help students deepen their creative problem-solving abilities and logical reasoning, skills which serve them well regardless of their career goals.

In my research, I am most interested in topics blending theoretical math and theoretical computer science. The projects I am currently working on belong to the subfields of geometric and combinatorial group theory. Part of what makes these abstract mathematical objects called groups interesting to me is that there are fundamental questions about them that we can sometimes prove are impossible to answer (in the same sense as the impossibility of the famous halting problem from computer science). On the other hand, I approach these objects using tools from topology (which I would describe as a very “visual” branch of math) and studying certain well-behaved infinite groups by developing algorithms which shed more light on their known theoretical properties. Like anyone, I also think a lot about other topics in which I would not claim to be an expert. A piece of trivia about me is that I didn’t take a physics class in college and wish that I had. If I went back to school for another degree, I think I would study quantum mechanics and/or quantum computing.

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and volunteering in my community. I like skateboarding (and other board sports), listening to and making music (I played piano in the jazz band in college and grad school), watching math and science videos on YouTube (Chris Staecker’s channel is my absolute favorite), and casually following some video game speedrunning communities on Twitch (the hacking and reverse engineering involved in finding and exploiting glitches is especially awe inspiring to me). I love puzzles and games with a low floor and high ceiling; that is, ones with few and simple rules from which complex logic and deep strategy emerge. My favorites include Baba is You, Hanabi, Poker, Mafia, and of course the Game of Life (rules here).

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