Maria Zack, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Mathematical, Information & Computer Sciences
Chair, Department of Physics & Engineering
Professor of Mathematics

Dr. Zack holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics from UCSD. Her industry experience includes consulting work for the Institute for Defense Analysis Center for Communications Research, as well as involvement in numerous strategic planning efforts in the US and abroad. She has been awarded NSF, MAA and Wesleyan Center grants and has organized conferences for CSHPM, CCSC, SPAWAR, ACMS, MAA, Nexus and more. Dr. Zack is an integral part of the University's accreditation process and regularly serves on review boards for WASC. Her extensive involvement in the mathematics and architecture community greatly enriches our academic programs.

Dr. Zack's research interests include connections between engineering and mathematics, mathematical history, architecture and mathematics, cryptography and cryptanalysis. She is an active member of the Nexus Network, for which she has published papers on Portuguese engineering, the astronomical research of Robert Hooke and Christopher Wren's contributions to the architectural rebuilding of London. She is a member of the editorial board of the Nexus Network Journal and she is the editor of the refereed Proceedings of the Canadian Society of History and Philosophy of Mathematics. She shares her enthusiasm for mathematical history, engineering and architecture by taking students to England to study every other summer.

Outside of the classroom, Dr. Zack enjoys cooking, reading and traveling. She is a member of the Board at Lamb's Player's Theatre and has been a trustee of the Medical Benevolence Foundation, for which she often travels to Kenya to visit church plants and the Tumutumu Hospital. She is also involved with the Plant with Purpose organization, which works to reverse deforestation. Her other hobbies include studying church architecture and baking desserts for the department.


  • Ph.D., Mathematics, University of California, San Diego
  • B.A., Mathematics, University of California, San Diego

Courses Taught

  • Senior Seminar – CSC/ISS/MTH 481
  • Internship in Computer Information Systems – ISS 472
  • Calculus and Modeling – MTH 121
  • Computer Aided Calculus – MTH 131
  • Pre-Calculus – MTH 133
  • Mathematical Analysis for Business and Economics – MTH 153
  • Calculus I – MTH 164
  • Fundamentals of Elementary Mathematics II – MTH 213/223
  • Linear Algebra – MTH 232/233
  • Number Theory with Proofs – MTH 242
  • Calculus III – MTH 274
  • Problem Solving – MTH 303
  • Discrete Mathematics – MTH 343
  • History of Mathematics – MTH 352
  • Mathematical Statistics – MTH 364/382
  • Real Analysis – MTH 424
  • Abstract Algebra – MTH 444/452
  • History of Mathematics in Engineering, Time: Space and Place – MTH 471
  • Special Topics – MTH 492
  • Service Learning – MTH 496

Experience in Field

  • Professor and Chair, Mathematical Information & Computer Science and Chair, Physics & Engineering - Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, CA 2016 – Present
  • Professor and Chair, Mathematical, Information & Computer Science - Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, CA 2002 – 2016
  • Professor, Mathematics - Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, CA 1994 – 2002
  • Assistant Professor, Mathematics - Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 1989 – 1990
  • Part-Time Research Staff Member - Institute for Defense Analysis Center for Communications Research, La Jolla, CA 1995 – 2007
  • Research Staff Member - Institute for Defense Analysis Center for Communications Research, La Jolla, CA 1991 – 1995

Professional and Community Involvement

Conference Organized:

  • Organized Conference: Meeting of the BSHM, CSHPM, HOMSIGMAA, POMSIGMAA jointly with the MathFest Centennial, Washington, DC August 2015
  • Organized Conference: Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges, Inaugural Southwestern Regional Conference, Los Angeles, CA  April 2008

Community Involvement:

  • Board Member for Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences 2009 – Present and President 2015 – Present
  • Editor of The Proceedings of the Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics, 2014 – Present. The book series published by Birkhäuser and my contract to edit the series extended through 2019.
  • Editorial Board Member, Nexus Network Journal 2014 – Present
  • Board Member, Lamb's Players Theatre 2014 – Present
  • Gala Committee, Plant With Purpose 2012 – Present
  • Accreditation Evaluator for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges 2008 – Present
  • Trustee of the Medical Benevolence Foundation 1997 – 2012
  • President of the Medical Benevolence Foundation 2007 – 2008

Awards and Honors

  • Council of Independent Colleges, NetVUE Professional Development Grant ($10,000) 2016 – 2017
  • National Science Foundation, SSTEM Grant ($576,000) 2016 – 2020
  • Council of Independent Colleges, NetVUE Grant ($50,000) 2014 – 2015
  • Wesleyan Center Research Grant 2006 – 2007

Dissertations, Presentations, and Publications

Papers and Talks:

  • M. Zack, January 2016, “Some Aspects of the History of the Cycloid,” Joint Mathematics Meetings, Seattle, WA
  • M. Zack, June 2015, “Lisbon, London and the Mathematics of Materials,” Meeting of American and European Mathematical Societies, Porto, Portugal
  • M. Zack, April 2015, “What can the Lisbon Earthquake Tell Us about the Connections between Mathematics, Urban Planning and Engineering in Eighteenth Century Portugal?,” Pohle Colloquium Lecture, New York, NY
  • M. Zack, May 2012, “Through the Looking Glass: Dodgson’s View of Determinants,” CSHPM Conference, Waterloo, ON.


  • M. Zack and E Landry, eds, 2016, Research in History and Philosophy of Mathematics: The CSHPM 2015 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, Birkhauser, Basel.
  • M. Zack, 2016, “Rebuilding Mathematically: London and Lisbon,” Nexus Network Journal, to appear 2016.
  • M Zack, 2014, “Pombaline Construction: The Enlightenment and the Mathematics of Materials in Lisbon,” Mathematical Intelligencer, Volume 36 Number 4, Springer Verlag, New York.
  • M. Zack, 2014, “Are There Connections Between the Mathematical Thought and Architecture of Sir Christopher Wren?,” Architecture and Mathematics from Antiquity to the Future, p171-180, Birkhauser. Basel.
  • M. Zack, 2013, “Computing the Determinant Through the Looking Glass,” Loci: Convergence (July 2013), Mathematical Association of America. DOI:10.4169/loci003992.
  • M. Zack, 2010, “Robert Hooke and An Attempt to Prove the Motion of the Earth from Observation,” The Proceedings of the Canadian Society of the Philosophy and History of Mathematics, New York, CSHPM.
  • M. Zack, 1989, “Measuring Randomness and Evaluation Random Number Generators Using the Finite Heisenberg Group,” Colloquia Mathematica Societatis Janos Bolyai, North Holland Publishing.