Distinguished Professor of Mathematics Saad El-Zanati will deliver Illinois State University’s Distinguished Professorship Lecture at 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 3, in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center. The event is free and open to the public.

A researcher in the area of graph theory, El-Zanati believes that mathematics is a path for developing and sustaining curiosity and discovery, and not just a set of rules to be applied in problem solving. He will present Patterns and Relationships: A Mathematical Journey. His talk will explore the use of mathematical concepts to represent relationships between objects—even friendships and social interactions.

El-Zanati’s research focuses on several areas in graph theory and combinatorial design theory. He has done extensive work on graph designs and is recognized as a leading authority on graph labelings. He is the author of more than 80 research articles on discrete mathematics and he has presented his research at conferences around the globe. He is the co-author of a chapter in the second edition of the CRC Handbook of Combinatorial Designs, the premier reference guide for research mathematicians in the area of combinatorial designs.

image of Saad El-Zanati

Saad El-Zanati

Since 2007, El-Zanati has received more than $3 million in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). He is the principal investigator on five NSF grants that engage undergraduates in genuine mathematics research. He developed and implemented the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, which focuses on mathematics research and exemplary teaching practices for in-service and pre-service teachers.

During his tenure at Illinois State, El-Zanati initiated the collaborative Teacher-Scholar Program in Secondary Mathematics, bringing together education and mathematics faculty. He has been honored by Illinois State’s College of Arts and Sciences with the Outstanding College Teacher Award and by the University with the Outstanding Researcher Award.

El-Zanati joined Illinois State’s Department of Mathematics in 1991 after earning a Ph.D. from Auburn University.

The Distinguished Professor designation honors faculty who have achieved national recognition for scholarly research or leadership; been clearly identified by students, colleagues, or external agencies as an outstanding teacher; and have contributed significant public service within the academic discipline.

To set up an interview, contact Media Relations at (309) 438-5631, or email MediaRelations@IllinoisState.edu.