Michael Starbird is a University Distinguished Teaching Professor at The University of Texas at Austin and a member of UT's Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He received his B.A. degree from Pomona College and his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has been in the Department of Mathematics of UT except for leaves including one to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and one to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. He has received more than a dozen teaching awards including several that are awarded to only one professor at UT annually and including the Mathematical Association of America's 2007 national teaching award. He is a popular lecturer, having presented more than a hundred invited lectures since 2000. Starbird's books include, with co-author Edward B. Burger, the award-winning mathematics textbook for liberal arts students The Heart of Mathematics: An invitation to effective thinking and the trade book Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz: Making Light of Weighty Ideas. With David Marshall and Edward Odell he co-authored Number Theory Through Inquiry. His Teaching Company video courses in the Great Courses Series include Change and Motion: Calculus Made Clear, Meaning From Data: Statistics Made Clear, What are the Chances? Probability Made Clear, and Mathematics from the Visual World. These courses reach tens of thousands of people in the general public annually. In 1989, Starbird was UT's Recreational Sports Super Racquets Champion.
Starbird's mathematical research is in the field of topology. He recently served as a member-at-large of the Council of the American Mathematical Society and on the national education committees of both the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America where he consistently promotes the significant role that mathematics can play in the general education of students. He has given more than 150 invited lectures at colleges and universities throughout the country and more than 20 minicourses and workshops to mathematics teachers.
Starbird strives to present higher-level mathematics authentically to students and the general public and to teach thinking strategies that go beyond the mathematics. With those goals in mind, he wrote, with co-author Edward B. Burger, The Heart of Mathematics: An invitation to effective thinking, which won a 2001 Robert W. Hamilton Book Award and which is now used in hundreds of colleges and universities nationally each year. Burger and Starbird have also written a book that brings intriguing mathematical ideas to the public, entitled Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz: Making Light of Weighty Ideas, published by W.W. Norton, 2005. Starbird has produced four courses for The Teaching Company: Change and Motion: Calculus Made Clear (1st edition, 2001, and 2nd edition, 2007); Meaning from Data: Statistics Made Clear, 2005; What are the Chances? Probability Made Clear, 2007; and, with collaborator Edward Burger, The Joy of Thinking: The Beauty and Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas, 2003. These courses bring an authentic understanding of significant ideas in mathematics to tens of thousands of people who are not necessarily mathematically oriented. Starbird loves to see real people find the intrigue and fascination that mathematical thinking can bring.Link to Wikipedia site on Michael Starbird.