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Dr. Ze-Li Dou

Photo of Ze-Li Dou
Associate Professor Direct: 817.257.6058
B.A. Queens College, 1987 M.A. Princeton University, 1989 Ph.D. Princeton University, 1993

About Me

I grew up in China, became a man in New York, and shall grow old in Texas.

Throughout my life so far, for better and for worse, I have been curious of many things:

So was it when my life began
So is it now I am a man
So be it when I shall grow old
(And so) let me die!

The poem, which was among the very first I read in the English language while a struggling student, and from which I have taken the (slightly altered) lines, still characterizes my life better than anything known to me that is written in English.


I have been trained as a number theorist.

In addition to the fact that it has enabled me to explore curious phenomena in the field, number theory has connected me to many wonderful people in different countries with diverse cultural backgrounds. Here I shall mention only the TCU colleagues with whom I have had the privilege to collaborate: Bob Doran, George Gilbert, and Qiao Zhang.


I have been assigned to teach a wide variety of courses here at TCU, from pre-calculus to analysis, and from algebra to number theory.

In general, I consider myself a great teacher when (and only when) I am not in the classroom. It is somewhat easier for me, therefore, to conduct myself as a curious fellow student of the subject along with the class. For example, the history of mathematics is a subject of which I remain almost completely ignorant, but it is an endlessly stimulating experience “teaching” it, because I never know what I will learn with my students on any given day!