Michael Brown

Professor of Mathematics
  • Mathematics and Computer Science
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(617) 521-2688

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  • Ph.D., Harvard University 
  • A.M., Harvard University
  • B.A., Columbia College of Columbia University in New York

About Me

Michael L. Brown is Professor of Mathematics and Statistics. He came to Simmons in 1986 and, for his first fifteen years at the College, taught half-time in mathematics and statistics, and half-time in computer science. Following that period, he has been teaching entirely in mathematics and statistics. 

Professor Brown’s interests have been wide-ranging and interdisciplinary. As an applied mathematician, earlier in his career, he published in major journals in mathematical statistics, biophysics, and medical informatics. He also produced working papers in computer hardware design and econometric modeling. He in addition published expository mathematics. He was a postdoctoral Research Associate at the Computer Research Center of the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

In recent years his interdisciplinary reach has taken new directions. He seeks to connect the mathematical sciences with issues of public interest, as well as with the arts. Twelve of his Letters to the Editor (eleven signed with his Simmons affiliation) on these topics have appeared in the New York Times. He is also concerned with the deeper motivations for learning and, more generally, questions of meaning and ethics in psychological life. He is a member of the Faculty Learning Community on Student Learning Theory, and has been a longtime member of the Simmons Honor Board. In the arts, he has a particular interest in theatre and drama, exemplified for instance by his very well-received performed readings at the Harvard Strindberg Symposium, a centennial gathering of scholars in honor of one of the founders of the modern theatre. 

His Ph.D. is in Applied Mathematics, with a specialty in mathematical statistics, from Harvard. His A.M. is in Applied Mathematics, with a specialty in the mathematical physics of fluid dynamics, also from Harvard. His B.A. is from Columbia College of Columbia University in New York, where he was the valedictorian of his graduating class of more than 600 students.

What I Teach

  • Math 118 Introductory Statistics
  • Math 120 Calculus I
  • Math 121 Calculus II
  • Math 338 Probability
  • Math 339 Probability and Mathematical Statistics
  • Math 343 Mathematical Modeling

Research/Creative Activities

Examples of Professor Brown’s earlier work include lectures on his statistical research to the Yale Statistics Department and the Summer Session on Statistics at the Harvard School of Public Health. Investigations reported in these lectures subsequently appeared as solely-authored papers in (respectively) the Journal of the American Statistical Association (Theory and Methods Section), and the journal, Methods of Information in Medicine. He has also worked on the statistical analysis of protein folding computer simulations, work that appeared with co-authors in the journal Biopolymers

He is currently concerned in part with meta issues of mathematics and learning, in particular with ways in which mathematical learning can strengthen cognitive functioning.