Duncan Palamourdas

PhD, Mathematical Logic, UCLA

Konstantinos Palamourdas, otherwise known as Duncan, graduated with honors from the University of Athens with a double specialization in both Applied and Pure Math, and received a Master’s in Algorithms and Logic from the same university. Afterwards, he got a scholarship from UCLA for a PhD in Math. He then obtained a second Master’s, and a PhD in Mathematical Logic, also from UCLA. His dissertation was on Descriptive Set Theory, a major field of pure mathematics. While at UCLA, he was awarded the Robert Sorgenfrey Distinguished Teaching Award in recognition for his teaching contributions.

He teaches poker and chess to small classes which always fill up early. Since he was young, Duncan has had two major passions in his life: games and puzzles. He has always enjoyed the challenge of an intelligent brainteaser, or the inherent complexity of games like chess and poker — which is why he got involved with math and math Olympiads at a very young age.

Duncan attributes his love of teaching to his parents.

“My parents were the best and most efficient educators I have encountered in my entire life, and for that I will be eternally grateful! Their influence was so tremendous that I found joy in helping my own classmates with their homework while I was still in elementary school. Second, teaching helps me learn, because it pushes my cognitive limits to the next level. I am a big believer that if you can’t explain something in very simple terms then you don’t truly understand it yourself. As a result, I love the challenge of decomposing complicated ideas to their bare essentials. That’s because it really does affect my own perception of the world. I guess it’s a complex quest to conquer simplicity. And I love every minute of it!”

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