Professional Background

I have held several administrative roles and currently serve as the Provost of Lafayette College.

I arrived at Lafayette in the Fall of 1992 as a member of the Department of Mathematics. During my time at Lafayette I have taught lots and lots of calculus, applied statistics, and a wide variety of mathematics courses across the department’s offerings.  I have also taught a sophomore level writing intensive class on ethnomathematics, as part of Lafayette’s core curriculum.

I have an active interest in the use of writing in the mathematics classroom. In fact, Tom Rishel and I have a book on the use of writing as an aid for teaching and learning mathematics. (It is available from the MAA.)

My research is in geometric group theory. That is to say, I study infinite groups, borrowing liberally from other areas of mathematics and closely related fields. In particular, my work involves algorithmic, combinatorial, geometric and topological issues that arise in the study of infinite groups. I earned my PhD at Cornell University, after having gotten my undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia.

If you are interested in a gentle introduction to geometric group theory, then take a look at my book: Groups, Graphs and Trees.

Personal Information

JohnMI was born in Wyoming and grew up in various Western and mid-Western states. I try to get back out West whenever possible, especially to the Teton Valley in Idaho.

After many years of working at Princeton University, my wife Trisha Thorme is now the Executive Director of Episcopal Community Services of the Diocese of New Jersey.