William Dunham

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William Ward Dunham (born December 8, 1947 in Pittsburgh[1]) is an American mathematician and historian of mathematics, known for writings on Leonhard Euler and on the history of mathematics, especially calculus.

Dunham graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in 1969 and from Ohio State University with a master’s degree in 1970 and a doctorate under Norman Levine in 1974 with a dissertation on topology (Generalized Closed Sets And T(,1/2)-Spaces).[2] In 1975 he was Lecturer at Ohio State University, and in the same year became Assistant Professor and later Professor at Hanover College. He has been Professor of Mathematics at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania (Koehler Professor of Mathematics) since 1992. He was a visiting professor at Harvard University and at Ohio State University (Visiting Associate Professor 1987 to 1989)

His book The Mathematical Universe received the Association of American Publishers’ Best Mathematics Book Award for 1994, and his book Euler: The Master of Us All received the 2008 Beckenbach Prize from the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). For his book Euler and the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, he received the MAA’s George Polya Award in 1992, and for 1996: A Triple Anniversary, he received the MAA’s Trevor Evans Award in 1997. For Touring the Calculus he received the Lester Randolph Ford Award in 2006.[3]

In 1970 he married Penelope Higgins (Penny Dunham), who is also a colleague, and he has two children.


  • Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics, Wiley 1990
  • The Mathematical Universe, Wiley 1994
    • German translation: Mathematics from A-Z: An alphabetical tour through four millennia, Birkhäuser 1996
  • Euler: The Master of Us All, Mathematical Association of America, 1999, ISBN 0-88385-328-0.
  • Euler and the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 22, No. 4, 1991, pp. 282-293, reprinted in: The Genius of Euler: Reflections on his Life and Work. Mathematical Association of America, 2007[4]
  • The Calculus Gallery, Princeton University Press, 2008
  • Great Thinkers, Great Theorems (Video Lecture Series). The Teaching Company, 2010
  • Editor with Donald J. Albers, Gerald Alexanderson: The G. H. Hardy Reader, MAA Press, Cambridge University Press 2015
  • A Tribute to Euler, Clay Math, Annual Report 2008, pdf
  • Touring the Calculus, American Mathematical Monthly, vol. 112, 2005, pp. 1-19
  • 1996: A Triple Anniversary, Math Horizons, September 1996[5]

Web links

Individual references

  1. Pamela Kalte et al. American Men and Women of Mathematics, Thomson Gale 2004
  2. William Dunham in the Mathematics Genealogy Project (English) Template:MathGenealogyProject/Maintenance/id used
  3. Ford Award, MAA. There the essay is online.
  4. Online at the MAA
  5. Meant is the construction of the regular septagon with compass and ruler by Carl Friedrich Gauss, noted in his diary (1796), the proof of the prime number theorem by de la Vallée-Poussin (1896) and the first calculus textbook by L’Hospital or Johann I Bernoulli (1696), Online