Michael Hvidsten


Professor and Chair 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-303Geometry122015/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-177Introduction to Computer Science I Lab102015/FA, 2014/FA, 2009/SP, 2006/FA, 2005/FA, 2005/SP, 2003/FA, and 2000/SP
MCS-222Multivariable Calculus102015/FA, 2015/SP, 2013/FA, 2011/FA, 2011/SP, 2009/SP, 2007/SP, 2004/FA, and 2001/FA
MCS-121Calculus I92015/SP, 2014/FA, 2010/FA, 2008/FA, 2007/SP, 2005/SP, 2004/FA, 2002/SP, and 1999/SP
MCS-122Calculus II82013/SP, 2011/SP, 2010/FA, 2008/SP, 2006/SP, 2004/FA, and 2001/FA
MCS-300Mathematics Seminar62004/SP, 2001/FA, 2001/SP, 2000/FA, 2000/SP, and 1999/FA
MCS-355Scientific Computing52016/SP, 2012/SP, 2008/SP, 2001/SP, and 1999/SP
FTS-100FTS:Computing42013/FA, 2012/FA, 2008/FA, and 2006/FA
MCS-178Introduction to Computer Science II Lab42009/SP, 2006/FA, 2000/SP, and 1999/FA
MCS-221Linear Algebra42007/FA, 2006/SP, 2004/SP, and 2003/FA
MCS-350Honors Thesis32014/SP, 2008/FA, and 2007/JN
MCS-119Calculus with Precalculus Review 1B32014/SP, 2013/SP, and 2011/FA
MCS-115The Nature of Math32012/FA and 2012/SP
MCS-170Nature of Computer Science32006/SP, 2005/FA, and 2005/SP
MCS-344Topics in Advanced Mathematics: Differential Geometry22011/FA and 2007/FA
PHY-235Robotics Workshop22011/JN and 2008/JN
MCS-177Introduction to Computer Science I22009/SP and 2000/FA
MCS-321Elementary Theory of Complex Variables22007/SP and 2002/SP
MCS-170Nature of Computer Science Lab22005/FA and 2005/SP
MCS-120Pre-Calculus22004/JN and 2001/JN
MCS-236Relation-Based Structures22002/SP and 2001/SP
MCS-201Math Foundtns-MS Tchrs12016/SP
MCS-270Object-Oriented Software12014/SP
MCS-118Calculus with Precalculus Review 1A12011/SP
MCS-273Introduction to C++ Programming12009/JN
MCS-399Mathematics and Computer Science Seminar12008/SP
MCS-394Topic in Advanced Mathematics: Computer Graphics12004/SP
MCS-200Problem Solving12003/FA
MCS-501Teaching Geometry with Software12000/SU
MCS-313Modern Algebra I12000/SP
MCS-358Mathematical Model Building12000/JN
PHY-230Applied Calculus11999/FA

Courses prior to Spring semester 1999 are not displayed.