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Thursday, July 18, 2024

32-year-old former American footballer who juggled playing with studying becomes professor of Mathematics at US university

A 32-year-old former American footballer named John Urschel who balanced playing with studying has become a Mathematics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.

John Urschel is a former professional American football guard and center. He played his entire American National Football League career with the Baltimore Ravens before he retired at the age of 26.

Despite being a football star, John balanced his academics with his career. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mathematics at the Pennsylvania State University, United States.

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After he graduated from Pennsylvania State University, he proceeded to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for his doctorate degree in Mathematics.


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John would play football during the day and study for his PhD at night as reported by Afrotech. His teammates at Baltimore Raven said they knew that he was working toward a degree, but had no idea that he was using his free time to publish six academic papers.

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He said he retired early in 2017 to take his interest in advanced theoretical mathematics head-on, completing his doctorate degree at MIT four years later.

According to his bio on the MIT website,  John said he is currently a mathematician focused on matrix analysis and computations, with an emphasis on theoretical results and provable guarantees for practical problems.



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He added that his research interests include numerical linear algebra, spectral graph theory, and topics in theoretical machine learning. John stated that there have been many times that he had to make the decision between his love for math and his love for the game.

“I felt actually kind of guilty,” Urschel explained in a 2017 Sports Illustrated interview. “I was actually kind of ashamed of myself. I was doing math while I was playing, but I always prided myself on doing what I wanted to do and not budging on things,” he added.


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