Faculty Profile: Gilbert Strang

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My life is in teaching. To have a chance to do that with a world audience is just wonderful.

MIT mathematics Professor Gilbert Strang was among the first MIT faculty members to publish a course on OpenCourseware. He has continued to contribute content through the years. By 2014, he had published five full courses, a video resource, and an online textbook on the OCW website.

He has also shared his knowledge and passion for mathematics in person, traveling extensively around the world. Open thinking has played a major role in his professional career. “A big part of my life is to open mathematics to students everywhere,” says Strang. “I'm very supportive of the whole idea of making these courses available to people around the world. Everyone has the capacity to learn mathematics, and if you can offer a little bit of guidance, the process of discovery is so valuable.”

Linear Algebra

linear-algebra.jpgThe concepts in Strang's foundational Linear Algebra course are useful in physics, economics and social sciences, natural sciences, computer sciences, and engineering. Due to its broad range of applications, it has long been one of the most popular courses on OCW. The 18.06 site has received more than 3 million visits since its first publication in 2002.

A new version was released in 2011, in the innovative OCW Scholar format designed for independent learners. The OCW Scholar version of Linear Algebra includes 35 lecture videos and 36 short (and highly-praised by teaching assistants) problem-solving help videos.

Calculus

Professor Strang has also published a collection of other materials on the OCW site including his Calculus textbook. First released in 1991 and still in print from Wellesley-Cambridge Press, the book is a useful resource for educators and independent learners alike. It is well organized, covers single variable and multivariable calculus in depth, and is rich with applications. The book has an online Instructor's Manual and a student Study Guide.

strang-calc.JPGWhen OCW approached Professor Strang about contributing to Highlights for High School, he offered his support immediately. “I've always wanted to contribute to K-12. I think high school students taking Algebra or Calculus would find some of the study materials useful.”

The result is Highlights of Calculus—a series of short videos that introduces the basics of calculus—how it works and why it is important. The intended audience is high school students, college students, or anyone who might need help understanding the subject.

The videos are garnering praise and thanks from viewers around the world. To quote one OCW user, “This series is fabulous! It summarizes the important points of calculus and gives me confidence to learn calculus without being so fearful about it.”

Higher Level Mathematics

Computational Science and Engineering

Professor Strang also teaches two graduate-level courses on Computational Science and Engineering, a discipline that deals with the development and application of computational models and simulations. Both courses are on OCW and have full sets of lecture videos:

Wavelets, Filter Banks, and Applications

Another graduate-level course that Professor Strang has published on OCW is Wavelets, Filter Banks, and Applications, a subject with broad applications, including audio and image compression, digital communication, medical imaging and scientific visualization.

Differential Equations and Linear Algebra textbook cover

Differential Equations and Linear Algebra Textbook

Professor Strang has continued to offer new insights into key mathematics subjects. In 2014, he published Differential Equations and Linear Algebra, which helps students in the basic Ordinary Differential Equations (ODE) course understand and solve fundamental problems in differential equations and linear algebra.

All of Professor Strang's books are available through Wellesley-Cambridge Press.

OCW Publications by Prof. Gilbert Strang: