William Gilbert Strang (born November 27, 1934), usually known as simply Gilbert Strang or Gil Strang, is an American mathematician with contributions to finite element theory, the calculus of variations, wavelet analysis, and linear algebra. He has made many contributions to mathematics education, including publishing mathematics textbooks. Strang is the MathWorks Professor of Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He teaches Linear Algebra, Computational Science, and Engineering, Learning from Data, and his lectures are freely available through MIT OpenCourseWare. Strang was born in Chicago in 1934. His parents, William and Mary Catherine Strang, came to America from Scotland. He and his sister Vivian grew up in Washington DC and Cincinnati and attended high school at Principia in St. Louis.
Strang completed his undergraduate degree (S.B.) in 1955 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received a Rhodes Scholarship from the University of Oxford, where he received his B.A. and M.A. from Balliol College in 1957. Strang earned his Ph. D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1959 as a National Science Foundation Fellow under the supervision of Peter K. Henrici. His dissertation was titled "Difference Methods for Mixed Boundary Value Problems."
While at Oxford, Strang met his future wife, Jillian Shannon, and they married in 1958. Following his Ph.D. at UCLA, they have lived in Wellesley, Massachusetts, for almost all his 62 years on the MIT faculty. The Strangs have three sons, David, John, and Robert, and describe themselves as a very close-knit family. Strang plans to retire in 2023.
Strang's teaching has focused on linear algebra, which has helped the subject become essential for students of many majors. His linear algebra video lectures are popular on YouTube and MIT OpenCourseWare. Strang founded Wellesley-Cambridge Press to publish Introduction to Linear Algebra (now in 6th edition) and ten other books.