Nico Spronk

Associate Professor

Department of Pure Mathematics

University of Waterloo

Office: MC 5322

Phone: 519-888-4567 ext. 35559

E-mail: nspronk at uwaterloo dot ca

Fax: 519-725-0160

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Teaching -- Fall 2015

PMath 451/651 -- Measure Theory

Teaching -- Fall 2015

PMath 950 -- Harmonic Analysis


Research Papers                      Department Seminars/Colloquia

Mathematics Genealogy Project. Mathematically, I'm apparently a descendant of Gauss, Euler, Fourier and Hilbert.

Present students
Matthew Wiersma, 2012/09-
Kamyar Moshksar, 2014/01-

Present postdocs
Mahmood Alaghmandan, 2014/01-
Mahya Ghandehari, 2014/01-
Matthew Mazowita, 2014.01-

Previous students
Mahya Ghandehari, 2005/09-2010/08, Harmonic Analysis of Rajchman Algebras, AARMS post-docs at Dalhousie, Visiting Assistant Professor at Saskatchewan, Fields post-doc Waterloo
Laura Marti Perez, 2006/09-2011/12, The Fourier Algebra of a Locally Trivial Groupoid, teaching high-school in Denmark
Elcim Elgun, 2007/09-2013/01, The Eberlein Compactification of Locally Compact Groups, postdoc at Lakehead University
Aaron Tikuisis, 2006/09-2007/08, Amenability for the Fourier algebra, PhD with G. Elliot, University of Toronto; then post-doc at University of Muenster, now post-doc at University of Aberdeen
Micheal Brannan, 2006/09-2008/08, Operator spaces and ideals in Fourier algebras, PhD with J. Mingo and R. Spiecher, Queen's University; now post-doc at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Cameron Zwarich, 2006/09-2008/08, von Neumann algebras for abstract harmonic analysis, Apple Computer, Cuppertino
Matthew Wiersma, 2011/09-2012/08, Approximation properties for group C*-algebras, PhD student, Waterloo
Cameron Williams, 2013/09-2014/08, harmonic analysis and induced representations, PhD student at U. of Houston

Previous Post-docs
Ebrahim Samei, 2007/01-2008/12, Amenability properties of Banach algebras of harmonic analysis
Hun Hee Lee, 2007/09-2009/04, Operator spaces and Banach algebras of harmonic analysis
Pekka Salmi, 2010/09-2011/08, Locally compact quantum groups
Yin-Hei (Michael) Cheng, 2011/01-2011/08, Abstract harmonic analysis


-I am married to Stephenie Koerne. A picture of us together.


Newton couldn't count?
"The popular idea of mathematics is that it is largely concerned with calculations," writes Karl Sabbagh in The Riemann Hypothesis (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). "What many people don't realize -- and mathematicians at parties have given up correcting them -- is that mathematicians are often no better calculators, and sometimes worse, than the average non-mathematician. . . . Even the giants of mathematics suffer from this minor disability: 'Sir Isaac Newton,' said one observer, 'though so deep in algebra and fluxions, could not readily make up a common account; and, when he was Master of the Mint, used to get somebody else else to make up his accounts for him.' "
Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education
I am involved in an evil enterprise.
"The good Christian should beware of mathematicians and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and confine man in the bonds of Hell."
-- St. Augustine
(I've been advised that this is a common misquote. One should really interpret "mathematician" here as "numerologist", or perhaps, general "charlatan diviner". Take away points: (1) do not assign value to mathematical reasoning beyond itself; (2) don't read horoscopes.)
Don't add this to your Teaching Statement.
"Our brains respond better to difficulty than we imagine," writes Ian Leslie in Intelligent Life magazine. "In schools, teachers and pupils alike often assume that if a concept has been easy to learn, then the lesson has been successful. But numerous studies have now found that when classroom material is made harder to absorb, pupils retain more of it over the long term, and understand it on a deeper level. Robert Bjork, of the University of California, coined the phrase 'desirable difficulties' to describe the counterintuitive notion that learning should be made harder by, for instance, spacing sessions farther apart so that students have to make more effort to recall what they learned last time. Psychologists at Princeton found that students remembered reading material better when it was printed in an ugly font."
Yay for group-think.
"Plenty of research suggests having a strong, supportive social network has a positive impact on one's health and well-being," says Pacific Standard magazine. "But with an election approaching, it's worth noting that this sort of interconnectedness apparently has a dark side. It seems to make us less-sophisticated thinkers, at least in the realm of politics and policy. That's the conclusion of a study recently published in the journal Political Psychology. [Researchers] conclude close-knit networks of friends and acquaintances apparently create 'social bubbles,' which can limit 'how one communicates with others and reasons about politics.' The result, they add, is 'low-quality thinking' about matters of great importance."