Robert L. Devaney of Boston University was one of six university faculty members to receive this year's National Science Foundation Director's Awards for Distinguished Teaching Scholars. The awards recognize faculty members who have found significant ways to connect research and teaching. Each winner receives $300,000 over four years to continue and expand their work. Devaney was the only mathematician among this year's winners, which ran the gamut from astronomy to tectonics.
The NSF Director's Awards were established last year by NSF Director Rita Colwell. They are are part of NSF's effort "to promote an interest among academics for both disciplinary scholarship and for the education of undergraduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education - including students not majoring in those fields."
Robert Devaney, who obtained his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley under Stephen Smale, works in dynamical systems, especially complex analytic dynamics. In addition to having written many books and papers, Devaney is well-known as an exceptional speaker who can communicate mathematical ideas to all kinds of audiences. He has given over 1,100 invited lectures all over the United States and in 30 other countries. (In his home page he notes that the only continent in which he has not yet given a talk is Antartica.) Several of his lectures are available on videotape from Science TV or Key Curriculum Press. He is also involved in many other projects, including one dedicated to using technology effectively with high school and college students.
Devaney received the Award for Distinguished University Teaching from the Northeastern Section of the MAA in 1994, and the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished University Teaching the following year.For more information, visit the NSF web site at http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/02/pr0239.htm and Devaney's home page at http://math.bu.edu/people/bob/.