Stephen Casey, professor and chair of American University’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, has been honored with a Drew University Alumni Achievement Award in the Sciences. Casey graduated from Drew University in 1979 with a major in mathematics, where he also studied physics, philosophy, and classical studies.
Casey said his students at American University motivate him in both his teaching and his research. “They inspire me to constantly recreate the magic of my time at Drew,” he says. “Being an active research mathematician also makes me a student of the subject, and this allows me to bring my ‘field experience’ into the classroom. I think that mathematics is a very challenging subject, and I feel that we do our students a great disservice in making it look easy. The students read their mathematics from carefully worded texts, and watch professors give very precise lectures. Then, they struggle with their homework, thinking, ‘Why can’t I get this?’”
Casey wants student to understand that math can be hard for everyone. “There are open problems dating back hundreds of years,” he says. “Many of these require only a bit of freshman calculus or a bit of basic number theory to explain. Every person engaged in mathematics is challenged by a problem they cannot solve. Therefore, we need to let our students know that we, the faculty, are still students. We are, through our research, constantly learning new concepts, and constantly challenged by new problems.”
A Distinguished Career
Casey’s research focuses on complex analysis, harmonic analysis and number theory with applications to signal and image processing. He is a founding member of the Editorial Board for Sampling Theory in Signal and Image Processing and an associate editor of The Journal of Signal and Image Processing. He was also unanimously selected by the SampTA Steering Committee to be the chair of SampTA 2015, the 11th biennial international conference on Sampling Theory and its Applications, and was named guest editor-in-chief of Sampling Theory in Signal and Image Processing from 2015-2017. He was invited by Springer-Birkhäuser to co-edit a book in their Applied and Numerical Harmonic Analysis Series based on the SampTA papers and talks.
Casey has been a visiting research professor at the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland and a Visiting Research Professor at the Norbert Wiener Center for Harmonic Analysis (NWC) at the University of Maryland. He spent three weeks in the summer of 2018 as a guest of the Austrian Academy of Sciences Acoustics Research Institute, working on signal processing problems in non-Euclidean geometries. He will be visiting research professor at the NWC at the University of Maryland for academic year 2019-20.
Prolific Author, Speaker, Researcher
Casey has published nearly 50 articles, and is completing work on two books. He has given more than 100 talks and lectured at universities in Europe, Asia and North America.
His research has been funded by 20 research grants and four contracts, including grants from the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Army Research Office, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Casey also received two patents for his work in adaptive signal processing.
In the Classroom
Casey has receive American University’s 1998 University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching and the 1999 selection by the AU students for Outstanding Teaching. He also received AU's 2010 Award for Teaching with Technology for his work in visualizing Complex Analysis using computer animations, and AU's 2012 Ideas Incubator Award for his work in Computational Science.