Alex M. McAllister

Contact Info
Teaching
Research
Education
Personal Info
Contact Information

I am a Professor of Mathematics at Centre College. I have taught courses in mathematics, computer science, philosophy, and humanities.
I can be reached via e-mail at alex.mcallister@centre.edu or in my office in 117 Olin Hall during my office hours. You can also reach me via any of the following:

Math Department
Centre College
600 West Walnut Street
Danville, KY 40422-1394
(859) 238 - 5408 (office)
(859) 238 - 5314 (dept)
(859) 236 - 9610 (fax)

(859) 936 - 9651 (home)
preferably for time = t with 9 AM < t < 9 PM

Teaching

I love teaching - that's one of the main reasons I am at Centre College. You can reach my course web pages via the following links:

Term Course
Fall, 2013 MAT 170: Calculus I
MAT 330: Abstract Algebra I

In 2009 I was honored to receive one of Centre's teaching awards, which included a request for a statement of my teaching philosophy. Here's what I shared:

My teaching philosophy is a blend of idealism and pragmatism.

On the idealistic side, I approach my classroom as a place of transformation. I am helping our students build better brains and, in doing so, they leave my classes changed in positive ways and more able to make a difference for good in our world. I am hopeful that my students will come to appreciate and respect mathematics, and remain eager to learn more. As Arnold Ostebee and Paul Zorn wrote in the preface of a textbook: "Here's another reason to study calculus: because calculus is among our species' deepest, richest, farthest-reaching, and most beautiful intellectual achievements." The same can be said of many other areas of mathematics. What a privilege I have to share such wisdom and beauty with my students! I also seek to have fun in the classroom. I believe that my love for math and my own positive, transformational experiences of mathematics enable opportunities for my students loving, playing with, and being changed by mathematics.

On the pragmatic side, I recognize that not all my students share this affection for mathematics (at least not yet!). In fact, many of my students may think of my class as their least favorite, with mathematics stirring up strong emotions of fear, anger, and despair. Or worse yet, apathy. And so, I assign and collect daily homework and quizzesódespite all the time the grading consumesóbecause such exercises require my students to spend time with mathematics between classes and so enable their learning. Similarly, I always hold study sessions the evening before an exam, because I know that is when many of my students will be studying, and I can help them focus and learn that much more. Finally, I try to encourage the self-doubting students in their successes. I tell them that hard work trumps natural ability and I urge my students to intentionally invest in themselves in their efforts to reap the rewards of learning mathematics.

One more thing: the picture at the top of this webpage was taken on Mykonos Island, Greece on January 22, 2012. I was there with Dramatic Arts Professor Matthew Hallock and 28 Centre students for HUM 254: Drama and Math in Ancient Greece. We plan to go back in January 2015, if you might be interested?!

Research

If you're interested in a copy of a paper, or if you have any questions or comments, please be in touch.

Books

  • Mathematical Impossibilities, in preparation, a general-interest book presenting the ideas and
    people associated with certain fundamental mathematical questions.
  • A Transition to Advanced Mathematics: A Survey Course with William W. Johnston
    A textbook for a transition course surveying mathematics.
    published by Oxford University Press, August 2009, ISBN: 978-0-19-531076-4.
  • Schaum's Easy Outlines: Logic, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2005. ISBN: 0-07-145535-3.
    An abridgement based on Schaum's Outline of Theory and Problems of Logic, Second Edition
    by John Nolt, Dennis Rohatyn, and Achille Varzi, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1998.
    Abridgment Editor: Alex M. McAllister, 135 pages.
Publications
  • A Survey Transition Course, William W. Johnston and Alex M. McAllister,
    expository publication, in PRIMUS: Problems, Resources, and Issues in Mathematics
    Undergraduate Studies, Volume 22, Issue 1, 30-42, February 2012.
    available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10511970.2010.489200.
  • Turing upper bounds for countable jump ideals,
    research publication, in Nonstandard Models of Arithmetic and Set Theory,
    Contemporary Mathematics,ISSN: 0271-4132, Volume 361, October 2004, 129 - 143.
  • The Kentucky Section goes high-tech: The tale of an e-newsletter,
    expository publication in Focus of the MAA, Volume 23, Number 2, February 2003, 8 - 9.
  • Bounded Scott Set Saturation,
    research publication in Mathematical Logic Quarterly, Volume 48, Number 2, 2002, 245 - 259.
  • An Experiment that Worked: Revising the Calculus Curriculum, with William W. Johnston and
    John H. Wilson, expository publication in Focus of the MAA, Volume 21, Number 8,
    November 2001, 8 - 9.
  • Computability in structures representing a Scott set,
    research publication in Archive for Mathematical Logic, Volume 40, 2001, 147 - 165.
  • Completions of PA: models and enumerations of representable sets,
    research publication in Journal of Symbolic Logic, Volume 63, Number 3, September 1998,
    1063 - 1082.
  • Evaluation of high-level bound-bound and bound-continuum hydrogenic oscillator
    strengths by asymptotic expansion, (K. Omidvar and A.M. McAllister),
    Physical Review A, Volume 51, Number 2, Febuary 1995, 1063 - 1066.
Manuscripts
  • Reading Your Mathematics Textbook, (expository), September 1999, revised 2008, 1 page.
  • An Introduction to LaTeX and VTeX, (expository), August 2003, revised 2004, 12 pages.
  • Introduction to Maple, (expository), August 2002, 4 pages.
  • A Dreamweaver Primer, (expository), May 2002, 28 pages.
  • My Understanding of the ACS Information Fluency Project, (expository), Feb. 2002, 3 pages.
  • The Turing partial order of w-models defined via completions of arithmetic, (research), Summer 2001, 15 pages.
  • Scott Set Saturation and Relative Computability of Models and Enumerations, (research), Summer 1998, 35 pages.
  • Elementarily Equivalent Structures of all Noncomputable Degrees, (research), Fall 1996, 5 pages.
  • Enumerations of all Noncomputable Degrees, (research), Fall 1996, 3 pages.
  • Enumerations of Jump Ideals and Scott Sets, (research), Summer 1995, 7 pages.
Poetry published at Centre College
  • #74 Danny, Vantage Point, Volume 36, Number 2, January 2003.
  • #87 Questions, Vantage Point, Volume 36, Number 2, January 2003.
Education

Ph.D. in Mathematics, May 1997
University of Notre Dame
Dissertation: Computability in Structures Representing a Scott Set
Advisor: Julia F. Knight
Specialization: Mathematical Logic and Foundations
B.S.in Mathematics, cum laude, PBK, PME, PKP, May 1992
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
* includes 37 credit hours of Computer Engineering course work
Personal Information

I am married to Julie Eberhardt McAllister. We met each other at Virginia Tech where Julie earned her B.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Julie completed two years towards a Masters of Divinity at the University of Notre Dame and completed her Masters degree in theology at St. Michael's College in Burlington, Vermont. After spending some recent time taking care of our family, Julie is in the middle of earning her Masters degree in Health Administration at the University of Kentucky.

We have three children - Benjamin Martin, Daniel John, and Ella Margaret - and three pets - a dog and cats cats. Our family enjoys soccer, walking, kayaking, festive holidays, and good friends. We're also in the middle of gutting and rebuilding a 100 year old house -- I've learned why most houses are built by teams of people! The rest of our family resides throughout the Southeast in Alabama, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia.

Some of my hobbies include running, biking, weight-lifting, playing guitar, woodworking, doing yardwork, watching movies, and playing with my kids. Some more biographical information is available on the mathematics department webage at: Mathematics Biographies.