Jordan Ellenberg

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Jordan Ellenberg
Born 1971 (age 45–46)
Potomac, Maryland
Nationality American
Alma mater Harvard University
Awards Guggenheim Fellowship (2015)[1]
Scientific career
Fields Mathematics
Institutions University of Wisconsin–Madison
Doctoral advisor Barry Mazur

Jordan Stuart Ellenberg (born 1971) is an American mathematician who is a professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[2] His research involves arithmetic geometry. He received both the A.B. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he was a two-time Putnam Fellow.

Early life

Ellenberg was born in Potomac, Maryland. He was a child prodigy who taught himself to read at the age of two by watching Sesame Street.[3] His mother discovered his ability one day while she was driving on the Capital Beltway when her toddler informed her: "The sign says `Bethesda is to the right.'" In second grade, he helped his teenage babysitter with her math homework. When he was seven, Ellenberg was discovered by Eric Walstein, a teacher at the nearby Montgomery Blair High School. Walstein took Ellenberg under his wing and oversaw his mathematical development. By fourth grade, he was participating in high school competitions (such as the American Regions Mathematics League) as a member of the Montgomery County math team. And by eighth grade, he had started college-level work. He was part of the Johns Hopkins University Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth longitudinal cohort. He scored a perfect 800 on the math portion and a 680 on the verbal portion of the SAT-I exam at the age of 12.[4] When he was in eighth grade, he took honors calculus classes at the University of Maryland; when he was a junior at Winston Churchill High School, he earned a perfect score of 1600 on the SAT; and as a high school senior, he placed second in the national Westinghouse Science Talent Search.[5] He participated in the International Mathematical Olympiads three times, winning gold medals in 1987 and 1989 (with perfect scores) and a silver medal in 1988.[6] He was also a two-time Putnam fellow[7] (1990 and 1992) while at Harvard.


In addition to his research articles, he has authored a novel, The Grasshopper King,[8] which was a finalist for the 2004 Young Lions Fiction Award;[9] the "Do the Math" column in Slate;[10] a non-fiction book, How Not to Be Wrong;[11][12][13] and articles on mathematical topics in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Wired, Seed, and The Believer.

In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[14]





  • Ellenberg, Jordan (May 30, 2014). "The Wrong Way to Treat Child Geniuses". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Jordan S. Ellenberg". 
  3. ^ Amy Goldstein (June 7, 1989). "A Sine of a True Genius; Md. Youth Wins Major Math Competition: Jordan Ellenberg". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 25, 2017. 
  4. ^ Jordan Ellenberg (May 30, 2014). "The Wrong Way to Treat Child Geniuses". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 9, 2014. 
  5. ^ Peter Baker (January 27, 1989). "Westinghouse Honors Three Young Scientists". Washington Post. Retrieved October 25, 2017. 
  6. ^ "International Mathematical Olympiad: Jordan Ellenberg". IMO. Retrieved April 8, 2010. 
  7. ^ "William Lowell Putnam Competition: 1938 – 2008". UNL. Retrieved October 10, 2008. 
  8. ^ "The Grasshopper King: Jordan Ellenberg: 9781566891394: Books". 
  9. ^ Young Lions Fiction Award
  10. ^ "Do The Math". Slate Magazine. 
  11. ^ How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking. The Royal Institution/YouTube. June 24, 2015. 
  12. ^ Jordan Ellenberg (May 29, 2014). How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking. Penguin Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-698-16384-3. 
  13. ^ "How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking: Jordan Ellenberg: 0884817006765: Books". 
  14. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  15. ^ Bellos, Alex (June 13, 2014). "How Not to Be Wrong: The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life by Jordan Ellenberg - review". The Guardian. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  16. ^ Suri, Manil (June 13, 2014). "Book review: "How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking," by Jordan Ellenberg". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  17. ^ Lamb, Evelyn (May 31, 2014). "How Not to Be Wrong (Book Review)". Scientific American. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 

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