Ever wondered if there is a proper way to light your Christmas tree? When it comes to Christmas, most people don’t immediately think of mathematics. University of Mobile Professor of Mathematics Troy Henderson does.
One of Henderson’s passions is to show students just how much mathematics is involved in daily living. His website that calculates the exact spacing for lights on a Christmas tree (using the diameter, length, and height) is one of the many fascinating examples of the practical uses of mathematics. He also has a mathematical model for equally spacing Christmas tree ornaments and another for the cooking process of smoking barbecue.
But Henderson teaches more than math problems. He also strives to help students understand what the true meaning of success really is.
“Success from the perspective of the world is much different than success from the Lord’s perspective. It is my goal, as a mathematics professor at the University of Mobile, to ensure that mathematics majors understand the difference,” says Henderson.
Read more to learn what it means to this College of Arts and Sciences professor not only to teach about a subject he loves, but also to disciple students in their walk with Jesus Christ.
Q: You have taught at UM since 2007. What is your background?
A: I hold a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Texas A&M University. I also hold a Master of Arts in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, both from The University of Alabama. Prior to coming to the University of Mobile, I taught at the United States Military Academy (West Point) in New York.
Q: Why should someone choose to study Mathematics?
A: Mathematics is a discipline that primarily focuses on problem solving. If one is fascinated by the development of problem solving skills, then studying Mathematics will certainly promote this development.
Q: What courses do you typically teach?
A: I teach algebra, precalculus, trigonometry, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, number theory, modern algebra, applied mathematics and financial mathematics. Calculus and linear alegebra are among my favorite courses to teach due to their foundational nature in applied mathematics.
Q: UM offers “Higher Education for a Higher Purpose.” What does that mean to you?
A: Mathematics is the means for which the Lord has provided me to engage students with the truth of the person of Christ. I do not simply want my students to see me as their mathematics professor, but rather a faithful follower of Christ who happens to teach mathematics.
Q: What do you like most about UM?
A: I love working with faculty, staff and students who profess faith in Christ and strive to know Him more.
Q: What are some of your interests?
A: I enjoy serving in my church, woodworking, and smoking (and eating) BBQ.