The City College of New YorkCCNY
Department of Mathematics
Division of Science

Ethan Akin

Portrait of Ethan Akin
MR 325A
Office hours
Tuesday, 11:00-1:00,Thursday 11:00-12:00
Office phone
(212) 650-5136


Back when dinosaurs roamed Manhattan, I was an undergraduate at City College, taking classes with Jesse Douglas, among others, and graduating in 1965. After my PhD at Princeton (1969), I taught at University of California, Berkeley from Fall, 1968 through Spring, 1970. In the Fall of 1970 I returned to City College where I have been teaching ever since, aging slightly. Akin 1, Akin 2, Akin 3, Akin 4, Akin 5 Akin 6


I work in the topological part of dynamical systems theory. Below I have posted pdf files of some introductory material describing two books, "The General Topology of Dynamical Systems" (1993) and "Recurrence in Topological Dynamics: Furstenberg Families and Ellis Actions" (1997) as well as two monographs "Simplicial Dynamical Systems" (1999) and "Dynamics of Topologically Generic Homeomorphisms" (2003). The survey of topological dynamics is my - rather idiosyncratic - view of the subject. It is in the Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science (2009).

My work in population genetics is represented by an old paper: "Cycling in Simple Genetic Systems" (1982).

Tourist's Guide to The General Topology of Dynamical Systems

Recurrence in Topological Dynamics (Introduction)

Simplicial Dynamical Systems (Introduction)

The Dynamics of Topologically Generic Homeomorphisms (Introduction)

Topological Dynamics: A Survey

Cycling in Simple Genetic Systems

Of perhaps more general interest is "Why the 3X+1 Problem Is Hard?" (2004). This is an introduction to the -simple to state, but unsolved- Collatz Problem.

Why is the 3X + 1 Problem Hard?

"The Spiteful Computer" (1992) is a description of an odd determinism paradox.

The Spiteful Computer

Following the recent work of Press and Dyson there have been advances in the study of the Prisoner's Dilemma: "The Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma: Good Strategies and Their Dynamics" (2013).

The Prisoner's Dilemma

In addition, I have posted my contribution, "In Defense of Mindless Rote" (2001), to the current Math Wars over the teaching of mathematics at pre-college levels.

In Defense of Mindless Rote

Finally, because of my work in mathematical applications to population genetics, I became interested in the controversy about Intelligent Design. In "Theses on Johnson" (2001) I defend -at length- the view that the ID position is wrong but interesting, as opposed to wrong and stupid, which is the general opinion among biologists.

Theses on Johnson

Class Documents

Math 203 MatLab Notes

Math 39104 KL Homework and Course Notes


Ethan Akin is not teaching in Summer 2024.

Past teaching

The City College of New YorkCUNY
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