Professor Marlow Anderson

Years at the college:1982 - 2020

B.S. Whitman College 1972
M.A. University of Kansas 1974
Ph.D. University of Kansas 1977

After earning his Ph.D. in 1977, Marlow Anderson taught at Indiana - Purdue University in Fort Wayne before coming to Colorado. His graduate work at the University of Kansas was in algebra, specifically lattice ordered groups, and he maintained his interest and research momentum when he joined the department at Colorado College in 1982. (Both Anderson and John Watkins were graduate students at the University of Kansas during the same period.) Anderson's connection with his mathematical colleague, Todd Feil (at Dennison University) led to a graduate level text, Lattice ordered groups: An Introduction (1988). The collaboration continued and produced another text in 1995: A First Course in Abstract Algebra. This was a unique algebra text in that it began with the ring of integers (drawing on students' familiarity with integers) before moving to fields and groups.  

Anderson has always had wide ranging interests in mathematics. Logic was an early fascination, geometry was one of the courses he enjoyed designing and teaching, and the history of mathematics became a strong interest. Early in his career at the college, Marlow organized the Fearless Friday Seminars, weekly seminars on a range of topics given by department members and occasional visitors. The seminar series still continues today undiminished. Anderson's connections with the wider mathematical community took on an added dimension in the early 1990's when he became involved with the PEW consortium, a science collaboration of several liberal arts colleges with the University of Chicago. As a result, he organized two mathematical PEW conferences at the college.

In the eyes of students over the years, Anderson became a unique character in the mathematics department. Sitting in the front row during one of Marlow's dynamic lectures often means enduring exploding chalk or spilled coffee. And his office is remarkable for its inordinately high entropy (the photo gives a hint.) Anderson is an active and essential player in the day-to-day workings of the department; he is the department photographer, and a co-inventor of number theory horseshoes, a venerable tradition at department picnics. By the early 1990's, the modern bureaucracy and the size of the department made the role of the chair particularly taxing. To ease the burden, in 1993, Anderson made a Faustian bargain with the department: he would be assistant chair forever in exchange for never having to be the chair. He took over the budgetary and scheduling duties in the department among several others; personnel decisions were left with the chair.

After many years of outstanding teaching Anderson received the Burton W. Jones Award for distinguished college teaching of mathematics in 2013. The award is given by the Rocky Mountain section of the Mathematical Association of America.

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