Michael Hvidsten


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Professor Emeritus in Math, Comp Sci, and Statistics

Mike Hvidsten received his PhD in 1985. His thesis work was in the area of minimal surfaces, a subfield within the field of differential geometry. Perhaps he was attracted to the study of minimal surfaces due to his love of blowing soap bubbles. If you take a piece of wire, wrap it into a loop, and dip it into soap film, the resulting surface will minimize area subject to the wire boundary -- you will form a minimal surface.

Mike joined the Gustavus faculty in the fall of 1987, after spending two years in a post-doctoral research position at Michigan State University. Mike has taught almost every math course offered by the Gustavus Math and Computer Science department, as well as several computer science courses. He has received six National Science Foundation grants and has given over thirty invited or contributed presentations at regional and national mathematics meetings.

Mike is the author of a college textbook on Geometry and is the programmer behind the software project "Geometry Explorer." This program allows students to actively explore Euclidean and Non-Euclidean environments on the computer.

In 2005 Mike received the Gustavus Faculty Scholarship Award and in 2007 he received the Meritorious Service Award from the North Central Section of the Mathematical Association of America.

In his spare time, Mike is actively involved in Amnesty International,  enjoys reading and writing science fiction, and loves to tinker with gadgets in his basement workshop.


B.A. St. Olaf College (1981); M.S. in Applied Mathematics, University of Illinois (1984); Ph.D. in Mathematics, University of Illinois (1985)

Courses Taught

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
MCS-222 Multivariable Calculus 15 2021/SP, 2020/FA, 2019/FA, 2019/SP, 2018/FA, 2015/FA, 2015/SP, 2013/FA, 2011/FA, 2011/SP, 2009/SP, 2007/SP, 2004/FA, and 2001/FA
MCS-177 Introduction to Computer Science I Lab 14 2020/SP, 2019/FA, 2015/FA, 2014/FA, 2009/SP, 2006/FA, 2005/FA, 2005/SP, 2003/FA, and 2000/SP
MCS-303 Geometry 14 2020/SP, 2017/FA, 2015/FA, 2014/SP, 2013/SP, 2012/SP, 2008/FA, 2007/FA, 2006/FA, 2005/FA, 2003/FA, 2001/FA, 2000/FA, and 1999/FA
MCS-121 Calculus I 10 2018/FA, 2015/SP, 2014/FA, 2010/FA, 2008/FA, 2007/SP, 2005/SP, 2004/FA, 2002/SP, and 1999/SP
MCS-355 Scientific Computing 8 2021/SP, 2019/SP, 2018/SP, 2016/SP, 2012/SP, 2008/SP, 2001/SP, and 1999/SP
MCS-122 Calculus II 8 2013/SP, 2011/SP, 2010/FA, 2008/SP, 2006/SP, 2004/FA, and 2001/FA
MCS-177 Introduction to Computer Science I 6 2018/SP, 2017/FA, 2009/SP, and 2000/FA
MCS-300 Mathematics Seminar 6 2004/SP, 2001/FA, 2001/SP, 2000/FA, 2000/SP, and 1999/FA
MCS-221 Linear Algebra 5 2020/FA, 2007/FA, 2006/SP, 2004/SP, and 2003/FA
FTS-100 FTS:Computing 4 2013/FA, 2012/FA, 2008/FA, and 2006/FA
MCS-178 Introduction to Computer Science II Lab 4 2009/SP, 2006/FA, 2000/SP, and 1999/FA
MCS-350 Honors Thesis 3 2014/SP, 2008/FA, and 2007/JN
MCS-119 Calculus with Precalculus Review 1B 3 2014/SP, 2013/SP, and 2011/FA
MCS-115 The Nature of Math 3 2012/FA and 2012/SP
MCS-170 Nature of Computer Science 3 2006/SP, 2005/FA, and 2005/SP
MCS-344 Topics in Advanced Mathematics: Differential Geometry 2 2011/FA and 2007/FA
PHY-235 Robotics Workshop 2 2011/JN and 2008/JN
MCS-321 Elementary Theory of Complex Variables 2 2007/SP and 2002/SP
MCS-170 Nature of Computer Science Lab 2 2005/FA and 2005/SP
MCS-120 Pre-Calculus 2 2004/JN and 2001/JN
MCS-236 Relation-Based Structures 2 2002/SP and 2001/SP
MCS-244 ST:Calculus Tutoring Online 1 2020/SP
MCS-201 Math Foundtns-MS Tchrs 1 2016/SP
MCS-270 Object-Oriented Software 1 2014/SP
MCS-118 Calculus with Precalculus Review 1A 1 2011/SP
MCS-273 Introduction to C++ Programming 1 2009/JN
MCS-399 Mathematics and Computer Science Seminar 1 2008/SP
MCS-285 Robotics 1 2006/JN
MCS-394 Topic in Advanced Mathematics: Computer Graphics 1 2004/SP
MCS-200 Problem Solving 1 2003/FA
MCS-501 Teaching Geometry with Software 1 2000/SU
MCS-313 Modern Algebra I 1 2000/SP
MCS-358 Mathematical Model Building 1 2000/JN
PHY-230 Applied Calculus 1 1999/FA
Courses prior to Spring semester 1999 are not displayed.