Jordan Ellenberg

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Jordan Ellenberg
Born 1971 (age 42–43)
Potomac, Maryland
Nationality American
Fields Mathematics
Institutions University of Wisconsin–Madison
Alma mater Harvard University
Doctoral advisor Barry Mazur

Jordan Stuart Ellenberg (born 1971) is an American mathematician working as a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[1] His research covers a wide variety of topics within arithmetic geometry. He received both the A.B. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he was a two-time Putnam Fellow.

In addition to his research articles, he has authored

He can be heard on NPR's All Tech Considered segment "The Path from Syphilis to Faster MRIs"[5] discussing the benefits of mathematically filling in the blanks.

In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[6]

Child prodigy[edit]

Ellenberg was a child prodigy who taught himself to read at the age of 2 by watching Sesame Street.[7] His mother discovered his ability one day while she was driving on the Capital Beltway when her toddler informed her: "The sign says `Bethesda is to the right.'" In second grade, he helped his teenaged babysitter with her math homework. When he was seven, Ellenberg was discovered by Eric Walstein, a teacher at the nearby Montgomery Blair High School. Walstein took Ellenberg under his wing and oversaw his mathematical development. By fourth grade, he was participating in high school competitions (such as the American Regions Mathematics League) as a member of the Montgomery County math team. And by eighth grade, he had started college-level work. He was part of the Johns Hopkins University Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth longitudinal cohort. He scored above 700 on the Math portion of the SAT-I exam at, or before the age of 13. When he was in eighth grade, he took honors calculus classes at the University of Maryland; when he was a junior at Winston Churchill High School, he earned a perfect score of 1600 on the SAT; and as a high school senior, he placed second in the national Westinghouse Science Talent Search. He participated in the International Mathematical Olympiads three times, winning two gold medals in 1987 and 1989 (with perfect scores) and a silver medal in 1988.[8] He was also a two-time Putnam fellow[9] (1990 and 1992) while at Harvard.



  • How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking (Penguin, 2014) 978-1594205224


  • The Grasshopper King (Coffee House Press, 2003) 978-1566891394



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