Brief Bio

Dr. John A. Adam has been Professor of Mathematics at Old Dominion University since 1984. His Ph.D. from the University of London was in theoretical astrophysics (an exceedingly long time ago). As an undergraduate he was exposed to a concentrated diet of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and he has never fully recovered, even at his advanced age. His first introduction to the USA was through the humor of The Far Side cartoons by Gary Larson. He has broad interests in mathematical modeling and applied mathematics, ranging from mathematical biology to meteorological optics. He is a frequent contributor to Earth Science Picture of the Day ( In 2007 he was winner of an Outstanding Faculty Award for the State of Virginia. In 2012 he was a recipient of a Carl B. Allendoerfer Award from the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). The Award is made to authors of expository articles published in the MAA journal Mathematics Magazine. He has published approximately 110 papers in mathematical and scientific journals, and given over 160 talks and presentations to professional and university/college groups. He has written several books (all published by Princeton University Press): Mathematics in Nature: Modeling Patterns in the Natural World, X and the City: Modeling Aspects of Urban Life and A Mathematical Nature Walk. He is also co-author (with physicist Lawrence Weinstein) of Guesstimation: Solving the World’s Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin. His latest book, Rays, Waves and Scattering: Topics in Classical Mathematical Physics was published in June 2017. Dr. Adam also enjoys writing resource articles on applied mathematics for teachers.

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