Thomas A. Garrity, "All the Math You Missed (But Need to Know for Graduate School)" (Cambridge UP, 2021)


Graduate students in many programs besides mathematics will need to be familiar with the methods and results of a variety of mathematical topics. Just as importantly, these students will need to develop a level of mathematical maturity—how to think in broad strokes about the subject, how to study it, and even how to communicate their work. The gap between undergraduate training and graduate requirements can also give rise to misconceptions about how mathematics is done and what needs drive cutting-edge research.

Thomas A. Garrity
's book All the Math You Missed (But Need to Know for Graduate School), now in its second edition (Cambridge UP, 2021), is a wide bridge across this gap—i do believe the material will bring any rising graduate student to readiness in the subject, whatever their needs. But it provides much more: Readers gain an intuition about the results and how they cohere that may be years coming through coursework alone; and an exposure to the culture of the mathematics community through historical vignettes, folklore, and prevailing beliefs (e.g. on the Riemann Hypothesis and whether P = NP). For such a broad introduction, the book is also surprisingly self-contained, and the chapters chart a uniformly continuous path through its topics.

In our interview, Dr. Garrity recounted the origins of the book, described his outlook on undergraduate and graduate mathematics, and elaborated on the style(s) he adopted across its topics. We also got into the choices of content and depth he made and what role both editions have played over 23 years. The discussion resonated with several of my own experiences, and in any event i plan to keep my copy of the book handy for any (undergraduate or graduate) students i teach or mentor in future.

Suggested companion works:
• Saunders MacLane, Mathematics Form and Function
• Timothy Gowers, June Barrow-Green, and Imre Leader (ed.), The Princeton Companion to Mathematics

Thomas A. Garrity is the Webster Atwell Class of 1921 Professor of Mathematics at Williams College, Massachusetts, where he was the director of the Williams College Project for Effective Teaching for many years. Among his awards are Rice University's Nicolas Salgo Outstanding Teaching award and the Haimo award of the MAA. His other books include Algebraic Geometry: A Problem Solving Approach (2013, co-authored) and Electricity and Magnetism for Mathematicians (2015).

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Cory Brunson

Cory Brunson is an Assistant Professor at the Laboratory for Systems Medicine at the University of Florida. His research focuses on geometric and topological approaches to the analysis of medical and healthcare data.

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