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John Polking



  • Higher Ed: Mathematics, Higher Ed: Education, Researcher 


John Polking was born and raised on a farm near the town of Breda in western Iowa. He went to Notre Dame, and then spent three years in the US Navy.

During graduate school at the University of Chicago, he spent some time consulting in industry. He received his PhD in 1966 for a thesis on partial differential equations. His current mathematical interests include partial differential equations and several complex variables.

After two years as an instructor at Brandeis, he came to Rice in 1968. With the exception of a year at the Courant Institute, another at the Institute for Advanced Study, and three years at the National Science Foundation, he has been at Rice since.

Currently, in addition to being a professor of mathematics, he is an active member of the Steering Committee for the IAS/Park City Mathematics Institute (PCMI). As part of his association with the PCMI, he is Site Director for the Rice Site, a group of twelve local high school teachers.

Currently Professor Polking's major activity is writing textbooks in ordinary differential equaitons. He has also written computer software for use in differential equations courses. 


Partial differential equations and complex analysis