Oliver Knill, PhD

Preceptor in Mathematics, Harvard University

Oliver Knill earned his BA and PhD in mathematics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Switzerland. Since 2000, he has been a preceptor in the mathematics department at Harvard University. Prior to coming to Harvard, Knill taught for three years at Caltech in Pasadena, for one year at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and spent three years in Austin on a research fellowship at the University of Texas. Knill started his research in the field of dynamical systems and spectral theory, but more recently has shifted to applications of probability theory, analysis, geometry, and graph theory. In mathematics education, Knill's focus is on the use of technology for teaching and learning. Recent projects in that area included cross-platform JavaScript animations, the use of computer algebra systems for visualization, inverse problems in computer vision for panorama photography, and the use of computer algebra systems for 3-D printing in education.


  • PhD Swiss Federal Institute of Technology



Courses with Oliver Knill

Fall term 2017

Teaching Mathematics with a Historical Perspective

The difficulty of both learning and teaching math is evident in its history. The struggle of early research mathematicians who developed and formalized a topic parallels the struggle of students and teachers in the modern classroom. Students learning about the concept of limits and series undergo a similar process as the pioneers of calculus did when they developed the subject.