MESSAGE FROM THE DEPARTMENT CHAIR (Richard Lyons)
The 2007-08 year was a lively one around the Math Department, with many notable achievements by our students and faculty, and many interesting events sponsored by the Department. Here are some highlights:
- Graduate Program: Twelve Ph.D.'s were awarded or are expected to be awarded to our students in the year 2008, and more than our share of University honors went to our Ph.D. students. Eighteen students were admitted for Fall 2007, the largest incoming class in many years. More
- Undergraduate Program: The Honors Track continues to send graduates to Ph.D. studies at excellent programs around the country -- last year to Yale, Princeton (Physics), U.C.L.A. (two students), and Rutgers. Talented undergraduates dispatched their Princeton counterparts to take first place at last year's Garden State Undergraduate Mathematics Contest in April. Nine of our own undergraduates are doing REU's (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) mentored by our faculty this summer. A generous anonymous gift to the Department made this unusually large number possible. New courses continue to be developed, including several for prospective teachers, and an interdisciplinary course on the foundations of quantum mechanics in Fall 2008. More
- Mathematical Finance: The new Master's track in Mathematics-Mathematical Finance graduated its first M.S.'s, and admitted its first full class -- about 50 students -- to begin the three-semester course of study. More
- Conferences at Rutgers: On the first weekend in October, the Math Department hosted the Fall Eastern Sectional Meeting of the American Mathematical Society, where hundreds attended to hear two days of high-level talks. On Saturday night Sir Roger Penrose delivered the third annual A.M.S. Einstein Public Lecture, in which he discussed geometry and cosmology. The A.M.S. meeting was immediately followed by a conference on "Quantum Reality" in honor of Professor Shelly Goldstein's 60th birthday. As usual, Professor Joel Lebowitz hosted the semiannual Statistical Mechanics Meetings; and the next one, in December 2008, will be number 100 in the series! More
- In August the National Science Foundation awarded a five-year, $10,000,000 "Excursions in Computing" grant - one of four awarded nationally - to a ten-person team from Rutgers, N.Y.U., Princeton, and The Institute for Advanced Study, to investigate "Intractability." The Rutgers part of the team includes Michael Saks of the Mathematics Department, and Eric Allender and Mario Szegedy of the Computer Science Department.
Below you will find a link to an Exit Survey that we have been asking our graduating majors to fill out since 2007. If you were an undergraduate math major, then we'd love to have your response too, no matter what year you graduated.
ERIC CARLEN received a Chaire Pierre de Fermat, to fund a six-month research visit in mathematical physics and analysis at the University of Toulouse, France, beginning this fall. The competition for the Chaires de Fermat is open to scientists of all disciplines.
ADRIEN DELORO, Hill Assistant Professor, received the 2007 Sacks Prize of the Association for Symbolic Logic. The prize is awarded for the most outstanding Ph.D. thesis in Logic. Prof. Deloro's thesis, "Groupes simples connexes minimaux de type impair [odd type]," was written at Universié Paris VII under the direction of Eric Jaligot, on the Cherlin-Zilber Conjecture for groups of finite Morley rank.
SIMON GINDIKIN received the Pamĕtní Medal of Palacký University in the Czech Republic.
YANYAN LI received the Rutgers Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research, the highest research award within the university. He was cited for his deep studies of partial differential equations in geometric analysis, leading to important applications.
RICHARD LYONS was named Honorary Professor at the University of Birmingham, England.
ENDRE SZEMERÉDI, an Associate Member of the Mathematics Department and New Jersey Professor of Computer Science, received two distinguished mathematical awards. In January, the American Mathematical Society awarded him the Leroy P. Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research, honoring his 1975 paper "On sets of integers not containing k elements in arithmetic progression." In May, citing his work on structure of graphs and arithmetic progressions, the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences bestowed on him the Rolf Schock Prize in Mathematics. This prestigious award is given every three years. It was established by the will of Dr. Rolf Schock, a Swedish logician, philosopher, painter, and photographer, who died in 1986. There are four Rolf Schock Prizes, in Logic and Philosophy, Mathematics, Music, and Visual Arts, areas not recognized by Nobel Prizes.
WOLMER VASCONCELOS was honored by the Rutgers - New Brunswick Graduate School with its Award for Excellence in Teaching. Each year one such award is given in Mathematical Natural andn Sciences, and one in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Professor Vasconcelos was recognized not only for his inspiring supervision of some 16 Ph.D. students, but also for mentoring post-docs and other young faculty. They all wrote to support the nomination warmly and enthusiastically with recollections of his inspiring mathematical thinking and his caring attention to them.
VAN VU was selected to receive the 2008 George Pólya Prize of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), and cited "for developing fundamental concentration inequalities for random polynomials that are applicable to broader contexts than earlier inequalities, applying when the average rather than the maximum effect of terms is small... These inequalities have enabled the solution of long+standing problems in projective geometry, convex geometry, extremal graph theory, number theory, and theoretical computer science; they constitute one of the most important contributions to probabilistic combinatorics in the past ten years.".
MICHAEL WEINGART is a 2008 recipient of the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education, of the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences. He was cited for his extraordinary skills in the classroom at every level of the undergraduate curriculum.
Professor XIAOCHUN RONG returned from a sabbatical year in China and was promoted to Professor II. Congratulations to Xiaochun for the outstanding accomplishments that led to this promotion.
HAÏM BREZIS, Distinguished Visiting Professor for twenty years and member of our Nonlinear Analysis group, stayed at Rutgers not the usual six months but eight months last year, from July through February. We are very pleased that he plans to continue these longer visits in the future.
In addition to our Hill and Triennial Assistant Professors, whose terms are three years, there were several one-year postdoctoral visitors this year, working in various aspects of partial differential equations. HOAI-MINH NGUYEN worked with Professor Haim Brezis and will spend the next year at the Institute for Advanced Study. DANIEL ONOFREI worked with Professor Michael Vogelius and is going on to the University of Utah. And DARIO MONTICELLI worked with Yanyan Li and will return to the University of Milan.
SHABNAM BEHESHTI will be a non-tenure-track Assistant Professor for two years in our department starting in September, 2009, following a year at the Tata Institute in Mumbai, India. She wrote a Ph.D. dissertation in Mathematical Physics under the direction of Floyd Williams at the University of Massachusetts. At Rutgers she will be mentored by Michael Kiessling and Shadi Tahvildar-Zadeh.
LEV BORISOV will join the department as a full Professor in September, 2009. Lev is an algebraic geometer whose interests run from combinatorial geometry to string theory, elliptic genera and vertex algebras. Lev was graduated from Moscow State University, then came to the University of Michigan where his Ph.D. work was supervised by Igor Dolgachev. He has been on the faculty of Columbia University and is currently Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin.
DERRICK HART will be Hill Assistant Professor for the next three years. Derrick is a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri who studies combinatorial geometry in finite vector spaces. His Ph.D. adviser was Alex Iosevich, and he will be mentored by Van Vu.
LUIS MEDINA will begin a three-year appointment as non-tenure-track Assistant Professor in September, 2008. Luis works in experimental mathematics, having received his Ph.D. from Tulane University under the direction of Victor Moll. Professor Doron Zeilberger will be his mentor at Rutgers. Luis has won a Project NExT Fellowship, which he will hold during his first year at Rutgers.
PABLO MEJÍA RAMOS will be a tenure-track Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Mathematics and the Graduate School of Education, starting in the 2008-2009 academic year. His Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Warwick (U.K.) is under the direction of David Tall.
SCOTT RODNEY joined the department last summer as a non-tenure-track Assistant Professor, mentored in Analysis by Professor Richard Wheeden. His appointment continues for 2008-2009.
JULIA WOLF will be a non-tenure-track Assistant Professor from January, 2009 until June, 2011. She will spend the fall semester of 2008 at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley. She received the Ph.D. under Timothy Gowers at the University of Cambridge, and will be mentored by Endre Szemerédi. Her research is in additive combinatorics.
MINXIAN ZHU will be a Hill Assistant Professor. Minxian's research is about vertex operator algebras and quantum groups. Her Ph.D. adviser at Yale was Igor Frenkel, and Prof. Jim Lepowsky will mentor her research at Rutgers.
DEAN JACQUELINE B. LEWIS MEMORIAL LECTURES
CONFERENCES AT RUTGERS
On Saturday evening, October 6, the keynote address of the meeting, the 2007 Einstein Public Lecture of the American Mathematical Society, was delivered by Sir Roger Penrose to a packed house in the large lecture hall Scott 123. Entitled Spacetime Conformal Geometry and a New Extended Cosmology and stemming from his book The Road to Reality, it drew an audience from as far away as Boston, Albany, and West Point.
Immediately following the A.M.S. Meeting came the "Shellyfest," a two-day meeting on "Quantum Reality: Ontology, Probability, Relativity," again in honor of Prof. Goldstein's work.
The 98th and 99th Statistical Mechanics Meetings were held in December and May. This remarkable series of semiannual conferences, organized without interruption by Professor Joel Lebowitz since its inception in 1959, at Syracuse University, Yeshiva University, and Rutgers (since the 1970's), will reach number 100 in December, 2008.
The annual fall meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Mathematical Logic Seminar (MAMLS) took place under the guise of the Special Session on Set Theory of the Continuum at the A.M.S. Meeting in October (see above).
NEWS FROM THE UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM
(Gregory Cherlin, Undergraduate Vice-Chair)
Since Spring 2007 we have had an online "exit survey" which we ask our graduating seniors to fill out. This is found at http://sites.math.rutgers.edu/undergrad/Survey/exit.html. This provides useful feedback to the department which we use for program evaluation and curriculum development. At this time we do not have a separate survey for alumni from earlier years, but they are welcome to use the same form to make comments on the program or their later experience; it would be helpful to have the year of graduation included as a comment.
Our newest course, under development by Professor Goldstein, is a course on the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics being offered in Fall 2008 under our topics number, Math 395. This course is intended to be interdisciplinary and is directed at Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy majors with an interest in the rigorous foundations of quantum mechanics and the mathematics on which that depends.
Our undergraduate course on Mathematical Finance has now been officially added to the course catalog with the number 485. This fall it is offered by Professor Jesus Rodriguez. This course presents the mathematical theory and financial concepts used to model and analyze financial derivatives, and is suitable for majors in Mathematics, Statistics, Economics, or Engineering who have studied the theory of probability. It is a popular course which tends to fill up quickly during registration.
The department continues to develop courses suitable for undergraduates interested in careers in teaching at the K-8 level. We expect to offer five such courses at the 100 level. In addition to our established 107 (Number Systems) and 103 (Math for Liberal Arts), Professor Cohen is teaching a course on Geometry for Elementary Teachers this fall (Math 197) and Professor Rosenstein will teach Problem Solving and Reasoning with Discrete Mathematics in spring 2009 (Math 198). These course numbers are temporary and will be changed when the courses are added to the catalog. Our fifth course will be based on our Math 104, Elementary Combinatorics and Probability, with a new syllabus developed by Michael Weingart. At this time we recommend that students who wish to take Math 104 take Math 103 first, though this is not a prerequisite.
For students in the 5-year Math/Education program, we will again offer our Connections Seminar in Spring 2009 (Math 495). This course, developed by Amy Cohen and Keith Weber, and taught in Spring 2008 by Professor V. Retakh, is normally taken in the fifth year of that program. It explores the connection between the material studied in upper level mathematics courses and the needs of high school mathematics teachers.
In our Honors Calculus sequence, we have put in an extra section of first semester honors calculus (Math 151, Section H2) for entering students in the SAS General Honors Program who are taking Math 151 in the fall.
Corporate Computing Day
On Thursday, September 25, 2008, Rutgers is hosting a Corporate Computing day which will provide an opportunity for both undergraduates and graduate students involved in research to present their work in poster format and to meet with representatives of corporations looking to hire in areas involving computation. Further information may be found at http://corporate.rutgers.edu. The event will run from 12:00 to 4:30 P.M. in the Busch Campus Student Center, beginning with a Keynote Address by Dr. Randal Pinkett, Rutgers University Alumnus, Chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, and winner of NBC's "The Apprentice" with Donald Trump.
Honors and Prizes
- Weill Scholarships for full time students majoring in mathematics, based on academic merit
|Wei Chen||Jeremy Engel||Jack Hanson||Hanna Komlós||Tim (Hou Keong) Lou|
|Christopher Sadowski||Matthew Samuel||Joseph Shao||Christopher Skalit|
- The Kenneth and Rosalind Wolfson Annual Award for Academic Excellence in Mathematics
- The Bogart Prize for outstanding overall achievement as a mathematics major
- The Bradley Memorial Prize for best overall performance on a prize exam
- The Lawrence Corwin Memorial Math Prize for a University College Graduating Senior mathematics major with outstanding performance in upper level mathematics courses
- The Lawrence Corwin Prize in Mathematics for superior performance on a prize examination
- The Richard Morris Award for a Douglass College Graduating Senior mathematics major with an outstanding performance in upper level mathematics courses
- The Hannah Hoyt Prize for a Douglass senior who has excelled in mathematics
- The Tilla Weinstein Award for exceptional achievement in mathematics
- Graduation with Honors
- Highest honors: Jeremy Engel, Hanna Komlós, Matthew Samuel
- High honors: Jack Hanson, Christopher Sadowski
- Honors: Jessica Chen, David Infortunio
- Putnam Competition Results
In recent years several Rutgers students have performed exceptionally well in this U.S.-Canadian competition held every December. In 2008 the Rutgers team of Gene Kim and Wei Chen ranked 36th among approximately 400 entering teams. Results.
- Garden State Undergraduate Mathematics Conference
Rutgers sent seven students to this annual event in March, 2008. The conference includes a competition, for which the seven divided into three teams. The team of Matthew Samuel, Emily Sergel, and Joseph Shao won the team title, and the other two teams tied for thirteenth place. (Princeton finished second.) Second-year student Joseph Shao was the highest ranking individual. Congratulations!
NEWS FROM THE GRADUATE PROGRAM
(Michael Saks, Graduate Director)
Seven of our students received Ph.D.'s in Mathematics in the first half of 2008, and another five are on track to receive their Ph.D.'s in October, 2008. They are listed below with their advisors and their next employment--if known.
Congratulations to all!
Advisor: Y. Li
Univ. of Minnesota
Advisor: S. Thomas
CUNY Graduate Center
Advisor: R. Wilson
Univ. Wisconsin - Eau Claire
Advisor: S. Thomas
Advisor: F. Luo
Univ. of Minnesota
Derek J. Hansen
Advisor: M. Vogelius
Advisor: C. Woodward
Advisor: D. Zeilberger
Advisor: M. Kiessling
Advisor: A. Soffer
Courant Institute (NSF Postdoctoral Fellow)
Thotsaporn 'Aek' Thanatipanonda
Advisor: D. Zeilberger
Advisor: E. Sontag
Univ. of California, Irvine
And Tim Riley, a student of mathematical biology in the BioMaPS Institute for Quantitative Biology supervised by Mathematics Professor Eduardo Sontag, is also on track to receive the Ph.D. later in 2008.
The Graduate Pizza Seminar continued its tradition of having graduate students introduce their peers to their field(s) of interest. The titles below illustrate the varieties of mathematical experience going on in Hill Center. Justin Bush was last year's Pizza Seminar organizer, and Wesley Pegden and Jay Williams were voted the Pizza Seminar Awards by their peers.
- Liviu Ilinca: The k-SAT problem
- Vijay Ravikumar: A History of Curves in Mathematics
- Dan Cranston: The search for Moore Graphs: Beauty is Rare
- Emilie Hogan: The Game of Hex and the Brouwer Fixed Point Theorem
- Beth Kupin: Matroids
- Humberto Montalván Gámez: Can high-school mathematics be challenging and fun?
- Eric Rowland: The Crazy Thue-Morse Sequence
- Dan Staley: The Banach-Tarski Paradox and Group Amenability
- Catherine Pfaff: An introduction to Outer Space
- Lara Pudwell: Counting trees
- Justin Bush: Choosing the pizza seminar winner
- Sushmita Venugopalan: A look at Morse Functions
- Wesley Pegden: A shrinking operation on sets
- Jinwei Yang: Generators for ring of invariants
- Liming Wang: Singularly perturbed monotone systems and applications in biology
- Sara Blight: The Prime Number Theorem
- Avital Oliver: The history of imaginary numbers -- a typical example of mathematical evolution
- Jay Williams: Magic caves, secrets, and zero-knowledge proofs
- James Dibble: A Survey of Riemann Surfaces
- Andrew Baxter: What I Learned in Math 103
THE M.S. PROGRAM IN MATHEMATICS/MATHEMATICAL FINANCE
(Paul Feehan, Director)
Although there are many quantitative finance programs now offered in the United States and around the world (lists are maintained by the International Association for Financial Engineers at http://www.iaqf.org/), our program places more emphasis on the fundamental skills requested by employers -- applied mathematics, partial differential equations, numerical methods, statistics, computer programming, stochastic processes and application to quantitative finance -- while retaining a structure and content which is informed by the needs of industry practitioners. Our admission prerequisites are among the most mathematically rigorous of any masters program in this field. The strong applied mathematics content, the participation by industry practitioners, and the proximity of Rutgers to the financial industry in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut combine to make our program one which is becoming increasingly competitive.
Since the last newsletter, there are six new staff members in the department. Patty Sykes in the Undergraduate Office, Demetria Carpenter in the Graduate Office, Colette Claiborne in the Chair's Office, Ana Mastrogiovanni in the Mathematical Finance Program Office, and Hope Dicapua in the Center for Mathematical Sciences Research (Joel Lebowitz' office) have all brought quiet professionalism to their positions. We are very happy to have them in our office. Furthermore, the Finance Program has its first Associate Director for Career Placement, Reneé Williams, as of mid-July. Reneé's experience at the Rutgers Foundation and in Career Placement at Oklahoma State University give her a head start on the challenges ahead.
AROUND HILL CENTER
A couple of familiar department features have been spruced up in the last year. The new Math website was launched on June 15, 2008, after lengthy and painstaking planning and preparation. Joshua Smith of our IT staff led the project, with important help from his colleagues Justin Gross and Risa Hynes, and with input from several departmental administrators. The website had been growing (proliferating?) "organically" for years, and this first comprehensive reorganization ever will permit it, we hope, to keep evolving in a structured way.
In 2003, the Wolfson Lounge and the Wolfson Graduate Lounge were created from common space on the 7th floor of Hill Center. They were dedicated in 2004 (see the 2004 Newsletter). The renovations at that time were made possible through generous donations made to the Kenneth Wolfson Memorial Fund, and through a significant contribution from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
In 2007, the department undertook to renovate the adjacent Room 705, popularly known as the "Colloquium Room" and normally reserved for special lectures, seminars and departmental meetings.
Again with funding from the Wolfson Memorial Fund, and this time with support from the Mathematics Department Gift Fund, the Colloquium Room was refurnished and equipped with up-to-date electronic equipment. In addition a nagging acoustical problem was alleviated by hanging a strategic arrangement of cloth panels on the walls. Professor Roe Goodman and IT chief Risa Hynes guided the renovation and in particular oversaw the tricky acoustical adjustments. One of the first events held in the new room was the Dean Jacqueline B. Lewis Memorial Lecture Series, by Andrei Okounkov, in March, 2007. During the year, some of the Careers and Ideas seminars moved upstairs to 705 when their scheduled room couldn't hold the crowd. Speakers, panelists and audiences were pleased with the well-functioning equipment and the simple but comfortable furniture.
After thirty-five years of hard use, the Colloquium Room's renovation was overdue. Besides the electronic update, it has restored a light and pleasant atmosphere to this important seminar and meeting room. A hodge-podge of deteriorating plastic furniture is gone. The department is extremely grateful to the donors to the Wolfson Fund and the Gift Fund, without whom this renovation would have been impossible. A plaque will be installed in the Colloquium Room commemorating their generosity.
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Department of Mathematics - Hill Center
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey
110 Frelinghuysen Rd
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