Rob Gross

Sketch of Rob Gross
Department of Mathematics
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-3806
(617) 552-3758

Associate Professor of Mathematics

This web page contains my educational history, employment history, information about my books, some publications, information about courses that I’m teaching this year (2017–2018), information about Ideas in Math: The Grammar of Numbers, a course that Michael Connolly and I taught in the spring of 1998, and other useful stuff.

B.A., 1979, Princeton University.
Ph.D., 1986, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Thesis advisor: Joseph Silverman.

Associate Professor of Mathematics

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology    Teaching Assistant 1979–1983
Northeastern University Instructor 1983
Boston College Instructor 1984–6
Boston College Assistant Professor 1986–93
Boston College Associate Professor 1993–present
Boston University Visiting Associate Professor   1993–4, 2000–1

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Summing It Up: From One Plus One to Modern Number Theory, with Avner Ash. Princeton University Press, 2016. Reviews and errata.

Elliptic Tales: Curves, Counting, and Number Theory, with Avner Ash. Princeton University Press, 2012. Reviews and errata.

Fearless Symmetry: Exposing the Hidden Patterns of Numbers, with Avner Ash. Princeton University Press, 2006, paperback 2009. Reviews and errata.

Getting Started with Mathematica®, with C-K. Cheung, G.E. Keough, and Charles Landraitis.

Contributor to Standard Mathematical Tables and Formulæ, Thirty-first Edition, Edited by Daniel Zwillinger, CRC Press, 2003, New York.

Contributor to Standard Mathematical Tables and Formulæ, Thirtieth Edition, Edited by Daniel Zwillinger, CRC Press, 1996, New York.


“Frequencies of Successive Pairs of Prime Residues,” with Avner Ash, Laura Beltis, and Warren Sinnott, Experimental Mathematics, 20:4, 2011, 400–411. Click here for PDF format.

“Frequences of Successive Tuples of Frobenius Classes,” with Avner Ash and Brandon Bate, Experimental Mathematics, 18:1, 2009, 55–63. Click here for PDF format.

“Prime Specialization in Genus 0,” with Brian Conrad and Keith Conrad, Transactions of the American Mathematical Society, 360:6, June, 2008, 2867–2908. Click here for PDF format.

“Generalized Non-abelian Reciprocity Laws: A Context for Wiles’s Proof,” with Avner Ash, Bulletin of the London Mathematical Society, 32, 2000: 385–397. Click here for PDF format.

“A Generalization of a Conjecture of Hardy and Littlewood to Algebraic Number Fields,” with John H. Smith, Rocky Mountain Journal of Mathematics, 30:1, Spring, 2000: 195–215. Click here for PDF format.

S-Integer Points on Elliptic Curves,” with Joseph Silverman, Pacific Journal of Mathematics, 167, 1995: 263–288. Click here for PDF format.

“On the Integrality of Some Galois Representations,” Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society, 123:1, January, 1995: 299–301. Click here for PDF format.

“A Note on Roth’s Theorem,” Journal of Number Theory, 36:1, September, 1990: 127–132. Click here for PDF format.

“Antigenesis: A Cascade Theoretical Analysis of the Size Distribution of Antigen-Antibody Complexes: Applications of graphs in chemistry and physics,” with John Kennedy, Lou Quintas, and Martin Yarmush. Discrete Applied Mathematics 19:1–3, 1988: 177–194.


Supplementary notes to the Harvard Calculus Text, covering infinite series. Click here to get the file in PDF format.
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Current Courses

MATH2216.03: Introduction to Abstract Mathematics Fall
Prerequisites: None.
This course is designed to develop the student’s ability to do abstract mathematics through the presentation and development of the basic notions of logic and proof. Topics include elementary set theory, mappings, integers, rings, complex numbers, and polynomials.
Class home page.

MATH4410.01: Differential Equations Fall
Prerequisites: MATH2202 or equivalent multivariable calculus course, and MATH2210 or equivalent linear algebra course.
This course is an elective intended primarily for the student interested in seeing applications of mathematics. Among the topics covered will be first order differential equations, higher order linear differential equations with constant coefficients, linear systems, and Laplace transforms. If time permits, we will cover stability of solutions of systems of differential equations.
Class home page.

MATH4412: Partial Differential Equations
Prerequisites: Ordinary Differential Equations.
This course investigates the classical partial differential equations of applied mathematics (diffusion, Laplace/Poisson, and wave) and their methods of solution (separation of variables, Fourier series, transforms, Green’s functions, and eigenvalue applications). Additional topics will be included as time permits.
Class home page.

MATH4430: Introduction to Number Theory
Prerequisite: MATH2216, Introduction to Abstract Mathematics.
Topics covered include divisibility, unique factorization, congruences, number-theoretic functions, primitive roots, diophantine equations, continued fractions, quadratic residues, and the distribution of primes. An attempt will be made to provide historical background for various problems and to provide examples useful in the secondary school curriculum.
Class home page.


The Grammar of Numbers

In the spring of 1998, Michael Connolly (the chair of the Department of Slavic and Eastern European Languages) and I taught a course called: MT007/SL266 Ideas in Mathematics: The Grammar of Numbers. It had no prerequisites, and was a core mathematics course for non-math and non-science majors. This one-semester course studied the role of numbers, number names, and number symbols in various cultures. Topics include number mysticism, symbolism in religion and the arts, elementary number theory, number representations, and calendars.
Texts: The Magic Numbers of Doctor Matrix, Martin Gardner.
Number Words and Number Symbols: A Cultural History of Numbers, Karl Menninger.
Click here for more information.

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Other useful things

  • My .emacs file, for use with unix and emacs. Download.
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    Math Department Home Page
  • Last update: August 28, 2017