Sanjoy Mahajan is internationally known for his work in improving mathematics and science teaching. He obtained his PhD in theoretical physics from the California Institute of Technology, and has undergraduate degrees in mathematics from Oxford University and in physics from Stanford University.
His wonderful teachers sparked a lifelong interest in science teaching—an interest he followed first as a faculty member in the physics department at the University of Cambridge. While at Cambridge, Mahajan was a founding faculty member of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Cape Town, South Africa, where he was the first curriculum director and taught the first physics and computer science courses.
In an earlier life, he coauthored a computer program that learned from its mistakes to play world-championship-level Othello. His interest in artificial and natural minds and science teaching converged at MIT, where he is an associate director of the Teaching and Learning Laboratory.
At MIT, Mahajan teaches in the mathematics, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering departments. His courses have included the Art of Approximation in Science and Engineering, Teaching College-Level Science and Engineering, and Street-fighting Mathematics. His book Street-Fighting Mathematics: The Art of Educated Guessing and Opportunistic Problem Solving was published in March 2010. It is available in print and online under a Creative Commons Noncommercial ShareAlike license.
For the 2010–2011 academic year, Mahajan is visiting associate professor of applied science and engineering at Olin College of Engineering, a liberal arts engineering college, whose mission is the transformation of engineering education.