Timothy McLarnan
Professor of Mathematics

Tim McLarnan is a professor of mathematics with broad scholarly interests in such subjects as combinatorics, number theory, logic, geometry, and their applications to crystal chemistry. He teaches a variety of courses, and he says, "there's not a course we teach that doesn't invite new questions and from which both my students and I don't learn."

Tim describes Earlham this way: "It's a community on a human scale where I can meet students and watch them grow over their whole college career."

Contact Info

Campus Mail
Drawer 186

Phone
765-983-1351

E-mail
timm@earlham.edu

Office
212 Dennis Hall

Programs/Departments

  • Mathematics

Degrees

  • Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
  • Ph.D., University of Chicago
  • M.S., University of Chicago
  • B.A., University of Chicago

Selected Courses:

My favorite class is Discrete Mathematics, a class that is all about invention and discovery in mathematics. The subject matter is number theory and combinatorics, but really what it consists of is my asking vague questions and students doing numerical experimentation, looking for patterns, then trying to describe those patterns as clearly as possible and to convince themselves and others that the patterns always work. That is, it's about invention and discovery in mathematics. It's a course aimed at showing that mathematics isn't a mindless piece of dreary memorization, but that it's both an exciting adventure and an exquisite art. Every piece of mathematics — its questions, its definitions, its theorems, and their proofs — is the work of human beings. As human beings, we all have all the prerequisites to engage in this inventions and discovery. I don't know anything else deeper and more beautiful. Of course, everything else in mathematics also has this depth, excitement, and beauty. There's not a course we teach that doesn't invite new questions and from which both my students and I don't learn.

I'm broadly interested in mathematics. These days I suppose I'm the department's real analyst, but I've had serious interests in combinatorics, number theory, logic, geometry, and their applications to crystal chemistry.

I've written about 30 papers in mineralogy, chemistry and mathematics.

Mathematics Association of America

It's a community on a human scale where I can meet students and watch them grow over their whole college career. It's a community in which everyone has continual contact with people and ideas from every academic discipline. It's a community that tries to live on Quaker principles of equality, of respect for all persons, and of consensus decision-making: where the most respected members of the community are those who listen best to others and who best articulate solutions that work for everyone. And it's a community where I can live in the woods without another house in sight and can still get to work in 15 minutes in a car or 40 minutes on a bicycle.

Independent. Engaged in their own education. Attentive to one another. Creative in their plans for their future lives, and for the world.

I'm active in the Orthodox Church. I meditate, though not often enough. I walk and cycle. I have kids and try to be involved in their lives. I learn new math.

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