Mathematics Department - News from the Undergraduate Program, Rutgers, New Brunswick

News from the Undergraduate Program Spring 2006

Mathematics Undergraduate Program

Developments in the Undergraduate Curriculum:
New Courses New Faces New Web Pages Directed Reading

Gregory Cherlin Two major developments this year are the reorganization of several units of Rutgers New Brunswick into a unified School of Arts and Sciences, and a sudden and significant budget cut at Rutgers which it has been a challenge to absorb.

The reorganization should produce simpler and more uniform administrative procedures, and once the adjustment period is over, should make it easier for students to navigate the Rutgers bureaucracy successfully.

The budget cuts, on the other hand, are a continuing challenge to students, faculty, and administrators alike. Students may notice larger classes and more difficulty finding open sections at convenient times. At the end of the day we were able, with reduced resources, to serve the same number of students by increasing class sizes modestly and reallocating sections with ruthless efficiency. The price we paid was a more difficult regisration process and greater use of our web-based special permissions system, located at (activated at the beginning of each term).

Honors and Prizes (2006)


  • Weill Scholarships for full time students majoring in mathematics, based on academic merit
    Alex Conway Danielle Devletian Matthew Meola Justin Palumbo Matthew Samuel Charles Siegel Eric Wayman
  • The Kenneth and Rosalind Wolfson Annual Award for Academic Excellence in Mathematics
  • Joseph Walsh
  • The Henry G. Sanders 1925 Memorial Scholarship in Mathematics
  • Jessica Chen and Christopher Sadowski

Prizes (2006)

  • The Bogart Prize for outstanding overall achievement as a mathematics major
  • Marla Slusky
  • Bradley Memorial Prize for best overall performance on a prize exam
  • Siwei Zhu
  • Lawrence Corwin Memorial Math Prize
    for a University College Graduating Senior mathematics major with outstanding performance in upper level mathematics courses
  • Paul Geyer
  • The Lawrence Corwin Prize in Mathematics for superior performance on a prize examination
  • Matthew Meola
  • The Richard Morris Award for a Douglass College Graduating Senior mathematics major with an outstanding performance in upper level mathematics courses
  • Aziza Jefferson
  • The Jacqueline B. Lewis Award
  • Granted to an eligible University College student to help support graduate study in mathematics or psychology.
    Paul Geyer
  • Pi Mu Epsilon Prize
    Awarded by the Douglass College chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon to the member of the junior class at Douglass College with superior achievement in mathematics
    Khrystyna Choliy
  • Honorable Mentions
    Alexander Conway, John Kim, Justin Palumbo, Matthew Samuel

Graduation with Honors

  • Highest honors: Joseph Walsh
  • High honors: Siwei Zhu
  • Honors: Michael Burger, Dennis Faynberg, Evan Galipeau, Aron Samkoff, Zhongqiu Yu

Putnam Competition Results

Several Rutgers Students performed exceptionally on this national competition in Fall 2005: results.

(Waiting for Fall 2006 results.)

New Courses

  • Along with our new Masters Program in Financial Mathematics, we introduced an undergraduate course in financial mathematics designed by Professor Dan Ocone in Fall 2006. This proved very popular, and a Careers and Ideas talk by Professor Ocone was delivered to a standing-room-only audience. While under development the course runs as a topics course with the number 495. It will be given again, by Professor Ocone, in Fall 2007, under the same number.
  • We will also be introducing a 5-year program leading to a Masters Degree in Financial Mathematics (and saving the student one year).
  • The Computer Science Department has introduced a new course, CS 107, suitable for mathematics majors, which can be used in place of the older CS 111 to fulfill a requirement for the math major. Students with a particular interest in computing are still encouraged to take CS 111, which continues to fulfill that requirement.
  • Another topics course, a Connections Seminar for math students with an interest in K-12 teaching, has been running in Spring under as a topics course, also with the number 495, taught by one or both of Amy Cohen and Keith Weber. This course relates some of the mathematics studied in the courses required for the major with the needs of future teachers in the classrooms.
  • Other mathematics courses intended for future teachers have been developed. One of these has now entered the catalog as an established course, Math 107, Mathematics for Elementary Teaching.
    Another, Problem Solving and Reasoning with Discrete Mathematics, is being given in Spring 2007 as 103 T1, by Professor Rosenstein.
  • Our course Selected Topics in Algebra (Math 357) has been devoted to applications of algebra to signal processing, in a course developed by Professor Roe Goodman:
    [Discrete wavelet transforms] allow us to separate a digitized signal (or image) into low frequency components (coarse outline) and high frequency components (detailed features) in a computationally effective way. Then the signal or image can be compressed or enhanced (noise reduction) using these components.

New faces

There have been some administrative changes in and around the undergraduate office.

  • The new Undergraduate Vice Chair is Gregory Cherlin.
  • Our new Administrative Assistant is Maureen Clausen.
  • Simon Thomas is the new head of the Honors Track in Mathematics, taking over from Michael Saks, now Graduate Director
  • Dan Ocone has taken over from Professor Goodman as Actuarial Advisor.

New or enhanced web pages

We have adjusted our web pages, which contain a lot of information but are not always easy to navigate.
The "Undergraduate Program" link goes to a variety of pages of interest primarily to math majors or students strongly involved with mathematics.
General information of use to all students is found in the "Information for Students" menu, which includes a number of new or enhanced entries:

  • The Advising Office
  • This contains the usual advising schedule and links to other useful information, including the new Degree Navigator software which is still experimental, but provides a kind of "software advisor". It is still advisable to check anything tricky with the Head Advisor, until the bugs are worked out.
  • Course Materials and Course Descriptions
  • The Course Descriptions takes you mainly to catalog copy, but the Course Materials page links to more detailed pages including syllabi for most of the courses we offer. This is a useful spot to visit if you want to know more about a course than you can get from the catalog description.
  • Tutoring Links
  • A new page with a few useful links. This includes links to the schedules for televised reviews which are given for some courses.

The Directed Reading Program

The Directed Reading Program is a program in which undergraduate students are paired with graduate student mentors for semester-long independent study projects. The program is modeled after the Directed Reading Program at the University of Chicago. It runs each semester and during the summer.


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