Mathematics Department - Spring 2004 Newsletter

Spring 2004 Newsletter

Message from the Department Chair           Lewis and D'Atri lectures
Wolfson Dedication Ceremony Photographs           Undergraduate Program News
Faculty Prizes and Honors           Graduate Program News
Faculty Promotions           Pizza Seminar News
New Faculty for Fall 2004           Alumni News
Retirements           Contributions to the Department


This has been an especially busy year for the Department of Mathematics. At the end of October, the Graduate School celebrated its 50th anniversary and the Math Department held a reception for its graduate alumni. William "Brit" Kirwan (Mathematics Ph.D 1964), Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, received the lifetime achievement award from the Graduate School. There was an external review of the Department in April.

In May, we held a dedication ceremony for the Wolfson Faculty and Graduate Students Common rooms. This was the culmination of a multi-year fund-raising effort that allowed us to reconfigure the 7th floor lounge space to provide a separate Common room for our Graduate Students, purchase new furniture, carpets, kitchen cabinets, and kitchen flooring, and provide added security for the Common rooms. It was a great pleasure to formally honor Ken Wolfson, former Mathematics Department Chair and Dean of the Graduate School. A bronze plaque with the following inscription now hangs just inside the Wolfson Faculty Common Room.

In Memory of

Kenneth Graham Wolfson (1924-2000)

Faculty Member, Department of Mathematics (1952-1991)
  Distinguished Professor Emeritus (1991-2000)
  Chair of the Mathematics Department (1962-1975)
  Dean of the Graduate School (1975-1985)

His long-range vision and dynamic leadership as chair transformed the Rutgers
Mathematics Department into a leading international center for mathematical
research and graduate education. He initiated the planning and obtained the
funding for the Hill Center building.

Wolfson Mathematics Faculty Common Room
Wolfson Mathematics Graduate Student Common Room

Renovated 2003 with funds from Rutgers University and private contributions honoring Kenneth Wolfson.

Dedicated May, 2004

Roe and Roz Rick, Holly, and Roz

The photographs above show Roz Wolfson with Roe Goodman and then with Rick Falk and FAS and Graduate School Dean Holly Smith. More photographs from the dedication event can be found here.

Also, in May, the Department held a lunch to again honor Adrienne and Maurice Weill for their generous support of undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships. There were eight undergraduate scholarship winners (listed below in the section Undergraduate Program News) and fourteen graduate student award recipients (listed below in the section Graduate Program News ). Most of the students were able to participate in the event and demonstrated the very high quality undergraduate and graduate students the Department is attracting.

As in past years, the Department hosted a large number of seminars and colloquia, many distinguished visitors, and several conferences. The Department continued the Faculty Research Perspectives series, in which Department faculty give colloquium style talks suitable for colleagues and graduate students who are not experts in the field of the speaker. Talks this year were given by Lisa Carbone, Siddhartha Sahi, Mike Saks and Michael Vogelius. Joel Lebowitz hosted the 90th and 91st Statistical Mechanics Conferences. The spring 2004 meeting of the New Jersey Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the first Garden State Undergraduate Mathematics Conference were hosted by the Department of Mathematics on Busch Campus on March 27, 2004. Fifteen Rutgers mathematics students participated in the Undergraduate Conference and two Rutgers undergraduates ranked high in both the individual and team math contests. Richard Bumby was recognized for his 50 years of membership in the MAA. Congratulations to Director Joe Rosenstein and other members of the new MetroMath Center, one of thirteen Centers for Learning and Teaching funded (for $10 million) by the National Science Foundation. MetroMath, formally "The Center for Mathematics in America's Cities", is a partnership of Rutgers (lead institution), CUNY, the University of Pennsylvania, and the school districts of New York City, Philadelphia, Newark, and Plainfield to study and improve the teaching and learning of mathematics in urban environments.

In the fall, Roe Goodman again served as Acting Chair, while I was on sabbatical leave. During the one-and-one-half years that Roe has now served as Acting Chair, the Department has benefited greatly from the appointments, promotions, and improvements that occurred during his tenure. In addition, Roe has been instrumental in bringing to completion the Department's effort to renovate the lounge area in the Hill Center and dedicate the new Faculty and Graduate Student Common Rooms to Ken Wolfson. Gene Speer completed his second year as Undergraduate Vice-Chair and will be on leave next year. Dan Ocone, the previous Undergraduate Vice-Chair, has agreed to return to this position next year while Gene is on leave. Chuck Weibel continued his three-year term as Graduate Director. As of November, Lynn Braun, Administrative Assistant to the Chair, completed 30 years of service to the Mathematics Department. It is almost impossible to imagine how we would manage without Lynn. This summer, the Department will send two long-time staff members, Alice Leonhardt and Barbara Mastrian, to a TeX conference in San Francisco to keep abreast of the latest developments.

A broad spectrum of information about the Department, both current and from past years, is available on the Mathematics Department web site. In particular, honors awarded to faculty in previous years may be found on the faculty honors page and honors received by undergraduate and graduate students may be found on the Mathematics Department Undergraduate Awards and Prizes page and the Mathematics Department Graduate Awards and Prizes page, respectively.




Haim Brezis

Dr. Haim Brezis was honored by two conferences. The first was the 2004 Fifth European Conference on Elliptic and Parabolic Problems: A Special Tribute to the Work of Haim Brezis, held in Gaeta (Italy) May 30-June 3. The second, held June 21-25 in Paris, had the title: Conference in honor of Haim Brezis on the occasion of his 60th birthday.


Amy Cohen

Dr. Amy Cohen was the 2004 recipient of the Meritorious Service Award of the New Jersey Section of the Mathematical Association of America. She was recognized for "her many years of dedicated service and outstanding leadership."


Israel Gelfand

Dr. Israel Gelfand was elected a Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences in the field of Mathematical Sciences. He was cited for "outstanding and lasting contributions to mathematical sciences and excellence in research and education." Dr. Gelfand is also a member of US National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society (United Kingdom), the Academie of Sciences (France), the Imperial Academie of Sciences (Japan), the Royal Society of Sweden, the Academie de Lincei (Italy), the Royal Irish Academy, and the Russian Academy of Sciences.


Simon Gindikin

Dr. Simon Gindikin was one of only five Rutgers University faculty (from all campuses) to be honored by the Rutgers Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research. This award honors faculty members who have made distinguished research contributions to their discipline and/or society at large. Dr. Gindikin was recognized for "his impressive fundamental work in analysis and geometry and his significant contribution in tomography."


Michael Saks

Dr. Michael Saks (and his co-author Fotios Zaharoglou) will be awarded the 2004 Gödel prize for their paper Wait-Free k-Set Agreement is Impossible: The Topology of Public Knowledge (SIAM J. Computing, 2000). The prize will be shared with Maurice Herlihy and Nir Shavit, who were selected for their paper, The topological structure of asynchronous computatability (JACM, 1999). The Gödel Prize for outstanding papers in the area of theoretical computer science is sponsored jointly by the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science (EATCS) and the Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computing Theory of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM-SIGACT). This award is presented annually and includes an award of $5000. The Prize is named in honor of Kurt Gödel in recognition of his major contributions to mathematical logic and of his recently discovered interest in what has become the famous "P versus NP" question.


Francois Treves

Dr. François Treves received the "Laurea Specialistica Honoris Causa in Matematica" from the University of Pisa. A conference was also held in his honor at the University of Pisa on April 23, 2004.

Past Faculty Honors



Feng Luo was promoted to the rank of Professor I.

Stephen Miller was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure.

We congratulate our colleagues for their outstanding achievements that led to these promotions.



Assistant Professor

Diane Maclagan will join the Department as a tenure-track Assistant Professor, coming to Rutgers from Stanford University, where she has been a Szego Assistant Professor for the past three years. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2000 and then spent a year at the Institute for Advanced Study. Diane has interests in geometric combinatorics and combinatorial and computational commutative algebra and algebraic geometry.

Assistant Professor

Saul Schleimer will join the Department as an Assistant Professor, coming to Rutgers from the University of Illinois, Chicago, where he has been an NSF Post-doctoral Fellow for the past three years, Saul obtained his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 2001 and his research interests include the combinatorics of three-manifolds and computer science.

Hill Assistant Professor

Dorin Dutkay will join the Department as a Hill Assistant Professor, after obtaining his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. His interests are in functional and harmonic analysis of wavelets and frames and operator algebras.

Hill Assistant Professor

Rados Radoicic will join the Department as a Hill Assistant Professor, after obtaining his Ph.D. at MIT. His interests are in discrete mathematics, more specifically, combinatorial geometry, random graphs, and Ramsey theory.



Andras Hajnal András Hajnal has been a Mathematics Department faculty member since 1995, coming to the Department after serving a year as the Director of DIMACS. From 1970-1994, he was a Research Professor at the Mathematical Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and served as Director of the Institute from 1982-1992. From 1956-1995, András was at the Eötvös Lóránd University in Budapest, Hungary, becoming a Professor in 1979. He has won a number of prizes and awards, including Officier's Cross of Decoration of the Republic of Hungary (1992), Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1982), Corresponding Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1976), Hungarian State Prize (1970), and the Academic Prize of 1st Decree (1967). András served as President of the Bolyai Society (1990-1994), as General Secretary of the Bolyai János Mathematical Society of Hungary (1980-1990), and as Vice President of the DLMPS of the IUHPS (1983-1987). He has been a member of the Editorial Boards of Combinatorica, Discrete Mathematics, Acta Math. Acad. Sci. Hung., Periodica, and Annals of Combinatorics. He has published over 150 papers and the book Set Theory. András retired as of June 30, 2004 and a retirement party was held in the Department on May 7, 2004.


Barbara Osofsky After receiving her Ph.D. from Rutgers in 1964, Barbara became an Assistant Professor at Rutgers, and remained a member of the Mathematics faculty for 40 years until her retirement on June 30, 2004. Her service to the University included two terms on the University Senate, a semester as Acting Department Chair, membership on the AAUP Executive Council, and serving as Head Undergraduate Advisor for the Mathematics Department. Barbara has been especially active in her service to the Mathematics profession. She has been on the Editorial Boards of: Proceedings of the AMS (serving as Managing Editor from 1975-77), Communications in Algebra, Journal of Algebra, and Journal of Algebra and its Applications. She has been on a number of AMS Committees and is still quite active in the MAA, serving as First Vice-President (2000-2), NJ Section Governor (1994-7), and a member of numerous MAA committees. She has produced four Ph.D. students and published approximately 50 papers. Fortunately for the Department, Barbara will continue in a part-time position, again serving as Head Undergraduate Advisor beginning in January, for a period of two and one-half years.


OBITUARY OF JIM DEKKER (September 6, 1921 -- April 3, 2004)

Jacob Dekker Jim Dekker was a Rutgers faculty member from 1959 until 1986, when he retired. Prior to coming to Rutgers, he was an Associate Professor at the University of Kansas (1958-1959), spent two years at the Institute for Advanced Study (1956-1958), was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago (1955-1956), an Assistant Professor at Northwestern University (1954-1955), and an Instructor at Northwestern (1952-1954) and the University of Chicago (1951-1952). His M.A. (1949) and his Ph.D. (1950) were obtained from Syracuse University. Jim had 10 Ph.D. students, all but one getting degrees from Rutgers. These were: Donald Ferguson (1963), Joseph Barback (1964), Fred Sansone (1964), Matthew Hassett (1966), Floyd Cole (1968), Charles Applebaum (1969), Northrup Fowler III (1973), Richard Guhl (1973), and Anna Silverstein (1977). Jacobus Bus received his Ph.D. from the Universiteit van Amsterdam (1980). A memorial service was held at Rutgers on April 20, 2004. Nort Fowler sent a message which contained the following remembrance of Jim. "He was openly generous with his time, his patience, and his love of mathematics thorough uncounted classroom and office hours we shared in rapt debate over an unfolding trek across a mathematical landscape he largely defined."


The Lewis lectures given by Jean-Michel Coron of the Département de Mathématiques d'Orsay during the week of October 6 -- October 10, 2003, were entitled Controllability and Nonlinearity for some Flow Control Systems.

The D'Atri lectures, given by Paul Rabinowitz of the University of Wisconsin on April 21, 23, 2004, were entitled An Aubry-Mather Theory for Partial Differential Equations.


Eugene R. Speer, Undergraduate Vice-Chair)

Developments in the Undergraduate Curriculum.

This is the first year of a new option within the mathematics major, the honors track, described more fully in the 2003 issue of this newsletter. The honors track has been designed to provide qualified students with an experience of mathematics that is richer, more rigorous, and more personal than is provided by the standard major.  The option is supervised by an Honors Committee chaired by Professor Michael Saks.   We believe that this program is off to a strong start.

  • In the future we will normally accept students into the honors track by the end of their sophomore year, or at the latest after the first semester of their junior year.   In this start-up year, however, we accepted two outstanding members of the class of 2004: Gregory Muller and Minh-Tri L. Vo.   There are currently also seven members of the class of 2005 and two members of the class of 2004 in the track, and more students will be accepted in the early summer.
  • An important component of the honors track is the requirement that students participate in at least two special honors seminars during their undergraduate years.  One seminar at the freshman/sophomore level and two at the junior-senior level were offered this year:
    • The Freshman-Sophomore Honors Seminar has been offered for several years by Professors János Komlós and Enriqueta Carrington.  Its purpose is to identify promising students early in their Rutgers careers and to introduce them to the world of mathematics that lies beyond elementary calculus. It aims to be informal, lively, and challenging. Students are expected to participate actively by contributing to discussions, making presentations in the seminar, and collaborating with other students in preparing talks.
    • The Junior-Senior Honors Seminar, run by Professors Roe Goodman and Siddhartha Sahi and centered around the topic of Fourier Analysis on Finite Groups and its Applications, was offered in the spring.   Every fortnight, a pair of students was chosen to prepare and present the material for the next 2 weeks; the remaining students were divided into study groups of three or four to discuss the material and prepare themselves for the presentations they would hear.  The format was successful and we expect that this seminar will be offered regularly; Professor Jerry Tunnell and a colleague will organize the seminar for Spring 2005.
    • The Undergraduate Mathematics Problem Seminar, run by Professors Steven Ferry and Michael Saks, was offered in the fall.   It is aimed at undergraduate students who enjoy solving mathematical problems in a variety of areas, and want to strengthen their creative mathematical skills and their skills at doing mathematical proofs. One of the main goals of this seminar is to help interested students prepare for the William Lowell Putnam Undergraduate Mathematics Competition, a national competition held every December.  The seminar will be offered again in Fall 2004.

This spring Professors Lara Alcock and Amy Cohen again taught a one-credit seminar intended for students interested in teaching mathematics at the secondary school level.  The seminar explored the relation of Math 351, Introduction to Abstract Algebra, to the secondary school curriculum (last spring's course discussed similar relations for Advanced Calculus (Math 311).   This is one of the projects of the Rutgers Committee on the Mathematical Education of Teachers (CoMET) discussed in last year's newsletter.

In Fall 2003 Professor Michael Beals taught a new course for prospective elementary school teachers.  The course was offered as a special section of Math 103, Topics in Mathematics for the Liberal Arts, and thus satisfied college general education requirements in mathematics.  The goal was to provide the fundamental understanding of arithmetic, geometry, and probability that teachers need to meet diverse classroom challenges with confidence and flexibility.  This course was an initiative of the Rutgers Committee on the Mathematical Education of Teachers (CoMET), a group which has grown out of interaction between the Mathematics Department and the Graduate School of Education; CoMET is discussed more fully in the departmental newsletter for 2002.

This year the Department initiated a program called "Mathematical Careers and Ideas", organized by Professor Enriqueta Carrington. Four evening programs were presented; the first three were panel discussions on careers in financial mathematics, in graduate school and research, and in teaching in high schools and junior colleges. The fourth was a mathematics talk by Professor Simon Thomas, entitled "Killing the Hydra". Pizza and soft drinks were served.

For several years the department has been offering a summer REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) program, in which undergraduates from Rutgers and other schools spend eight weeks working on a mathematical research problem with a Rutgers faculty member. Students reside on campus and are given a stipend for living expenses. The program is run in cooperation with DIMACS, the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science. In the summer of 2003 seven Rutgers undergraduates participated, and eight faculty members and two graduate students from the mathematics department served as mentors. For the coming summer the corresponding numbers are nine Rutgers undergraduates and five faculty members.

The theory of wavelets is an active area of current research in mathematics, applied mathematics, and engineering.  Next spring the Department will offer, on an experimental basis, a course in linear algebra and its application to wavelets.  The course will be developed and taught by Professor Roe Goodman, and will be offered under an existing number: Math 357, Topics in Applied Algebra.   After covering some background topics in linear algebra (beyond those covered in the prerequisite course, Introduction to Linear Algebra) Professor Goodman will discuss a variety of topics including the fast Fourier transform, discrete wavelet transforms, filter banks, wavelet packets, and image compression.

Graduating seniors in Mathematics and in the Biomathematics Interdisciplinary Major will be attending distinguished graduate schools next year.  Here is a partial list.   From Mathematics, Stephen Jaslar and Minh Tri L. Vo will be at Yale, Michal Grabchak and Gregory Muller at Cornell, Inessa Epstein at UCLA, and Hazim Nada at the University of Cambridge (studying physics).   From Biomathematics, Jana Gevertz will be at Princeton and Laura Sontag at MIT.

Undergraduate Scholarships, Prizes, and Honors.

First Weill Photo

The Weill scholarships, designated for full-time students majoring in mathematics and based on academic merit, were awarded to Jonathan Chipko, Inessa Epstein, Lawrence Goldman, Joseph Hedberg, Steven Jaslar, Hazim Nada, Minh Tri L. Vo, and Jennifer Zoltanski. Six of the recipients, together with Maurice Weill and Chair, Richard Falk, are shown in the photo at the left, taken at the lunch on May 5 to honor Mr. and Mrs. Weill.

The Henry G. Sanders 1925 Memorial Scholarships in Mathematics were awarded to Gregory Lagakos and Aleksey Ratushnyy.


  • Stephen Curran was awarded the Bogart Prize for his outstanding overall achievement as a mathematics major.
  • Gregory Muller was awarded the Bradley Memorial Prize for best overall performance on the prize exam.
  • Siwei Zhu was awarded the Lawrence Corwin Prize in Mathematics.
  • Gary Wenger was awarded the Lawrence Corwin Memorial Math Prize as the University College graduating senior mathematics major with the most A's in 300/400 level math courses.
  • Siddhi Parikh was awarded the Richard Morris Award as the Douglass College senior majoring in mathematics with the highest average grade in mathematics courses.
  • Melissa Lieberman was awarded the Pi Mu Epsilon Prize by the Douglass Chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon, as a member of the junior class of Douglass College with superior achievement in mathematics.
  • Matthew Meola was awarded the David Martin Weiss Award for notable achievement in mathematics by a first-year student.
  • Mayssam Nehme was awarded the Katharine Hazard Prize in Mathematics as a first year student at Douglass College who has done exceptional work in mathematics.
  • Honorable mentions were awarded to Gene Kim and Kristin Liang.

Graduation with honors:
  • Highest honors: Inessa Epstein, Steven Jaslar, Gregory Muller, Minh-Tri Vo
  • High honors: Michael Grabchak, Matthew Kohut
  • Honors: Jonathan Chipko, Rahul Malhotra

Chuck Weibel, Graduate Director)

New PhDs

This year was a banner year for Ph.D.'s!   Fifteen Rutgers students will earn their Ph.D. in Mathematics in 2004, the largest graduating class since 1996. Six of our new graduates are US citizens and three are women. They are (with advisors and their Fall 2004 Employment parenthesized):
  • Pieter Blue (A. Soffer, U. Toronto, Canada)
  • Jeff Burdges (G. Cherlin, Univ. Würzburg, Germany)
  • Eva Curry (R. Gundy, Dalhousie U., Canada)
  • Stephen Hartke (F. Roberts, U. Illinois)
  • Klay Kruczek (J. Beck, Univ. of Western Oregon)
  • Aobing Li (Yanyan Li, Institute for Advanced Study and Univ. Wisconsin)
  • Xiaoqing Li (H. Iwaniec, Columbia University)
  • Xiaoyong Li (L. Shepp, industry)
  • Carlo Mazza (C. Weibel, Univ. Paris, France)
  • Kai Medville (M. Vogelius, industry)
  • Alfredo Rios (R. Gundy, Lehigh Univ.)
  • Waldeck Schutzer (S. Sahi, U. Federal de Sao Carlos, Brazil)
  • Eric Sundberg (J. Beck, Whittier College)
  • Matt Young (H. Iwaniec, American Institute of Math.)
  • Lin Zhang (J. Lepowsky, industry)

Incoming students

Replacing these departing students next Fall will be a bumper crop of 17 incoming graduate students. Six of these are US citizens, and five of these are women; thus the number of US citizens will remain at 37 (53%), and the number of women in our program will increase to 17 (24%). Much of the credit for this recruiting goes to the current graduate students, who gave prospective students the idea that life as a mathematics graduate student was pretty good at Rutgers. (Of course, it helps to have a world-class faculty...)

The number of applications for admission and support was again over 300 this year. There were slightly fewer foreign applicants, probably reflecting increased difficulties in obtaining student visas. There were slightly more US applicants this year, reflecting the continued economic slump in technical employment.

The generous gift of Maurice M. Weill and Adrienne R. Weill has allowed the graduate program to admit stronger and stronger students each year. The Weill Endowment has been used to supplement the support level for first-year students, making us more competitive with comparable programs elsewhere. With this support, the current first-year students will be in residence during much of this summer, studying and preparing for their written exams.

Second Weill Photo

The 14 Weill support recipients, most pictured to the left with Maurice Weill and the Chair, Richard Falk, are: Trevor Bass, John Bryk, Leigh Cobbs, Sam Coskey, Colleen Duffy, Ren Guo, Liviu Ilinca, Jawon Koo, Ian Levitt, Lara Pudwell, Eric Rowland, Scott Schneider, Jared Speck, and Biao Yin.

Financial Support

Our sources of funding determine how many graduate students we can support in our program. Next fall, there will be 54 continuing full-time graduate students, and 16 incoming students, so the overall number of full-time students will be 70 again next year. Of these, 46 will be supported as teaching assistants. Fortunately, our program's ability to attract outside funding means that we will have "no student left behind" in terms of support. In addition to grant funding (12 academic semesters worth), and eight Graduate Fellowships, we have several new funding sources this coming year:
  • Aaron Lauve will be a Bevier Dissertation Fellow. Each year, Rutgers University awards 12 of these fellowships to its top graduate students (4 each in Humanities, Science and Social Science).
  • Two of our graduate students, Rich Mikula and Michael Weingart, will be supported by Graduate Fellowships in the Science and Mathematics Educational Partnerships program, which will place them in nearby middle schools one day per week. This program has been a success, not only for the region's school systems, and as a way to support graduate students, but also as a great experience for our graduate students.
  • Derek Hansen will be a MetroMath Fellow. This is a new interdisciplinary program for students with a commitment to K-12 mathematics education in urban environments. This program is being directed by our Professors Goldin and Rosenstein, among others.
  • Alexander Zarechnak will be a Fellow at the Rutgers Center for Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture (CCACC). This Center studies problems of contemporary culture, looking at the relation between research, teaching and curriculum.
  • Incoming student Philip Matchett will be an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. This fellowship is awarded by the National Science Foundation to only 900 students each year, out of all students in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, and behavioral and social sciences.
  • Incoming student Pablo Atasoy (Spain) will be supported by a Fulbright Scholarship.
  • Incoming student Luc Nguyen will be funded by the Vietnam Education Foundation.

In other news ...

This year Klay Kruczek was a Graduate Fellow in the Science and Mathematics Educational Partnerships program, and taught in both the Salk Middle School in Old Bridge and the Wilson Middle School in Edison one day a week. This was his second year as a Fellow in this program. Klay received his Ph.D. this May and credits this experience with helping him in his successful job search.

One of our graduate students, Matt Young, was awarded a Bevier dissertation fellowship for 2003-4. He graduated this May, and has received a Clay Lift-Off Award from the Clay Mathematics Institute this summer. Only 18 of the 1,000 graduating with math doctorates each year receive this award, designed to help them begin their research career. He also won an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Last fall, we began a new program called Introduction to Mathematics at Rutgers (IMR). It is a mini-conference for entering graduate students, held the weekend before Fall classes begin. One purpose is to review some background material expected in standard courses (and maybe what Rutgers students work on); another is to let the incoming students socialize with each other and get to meet the continuing students and faculty. Anecdotes suggest that it was a great success last fall.

TA Teaching Excellence Awards were won by Derek Hansen, Sasa Radomirovic, and Michael Weingart. These awards are based upon written evaluations by faculty, and course evaluations by students, over several semesters.


PIZZA SEMINAR NEWS (Paul Ellis, Curator)

The Graduate Pizza Seminar is a forum designed to let grad students learn to present math to other humans en masse. Serendipitously, most of the talks are quite interesting. Also, there is free pizza. There was an experiment this Fall to try another pizza supplier. Failed. Lesson learned: on campus = on time. To learn more, visit the Pizza Seminar web page.

During the winter, the Pizza Seminar moved to the Brand-spankin'-new Kenneth G. Wolfson Graduate Common Room (Hill 701). This new lounge has a magic portal (read: electronic door) which magically lets in but grad students, so that, unlike previous years, we don't have interrupting faculty as a mainstay of the ... of the... um. Also, it has windows and is very pleasant. The Pizza Seminar and many of the grad students are thankful, especially for the efforts of Prof. Roe Goodman, who built it from raw earth with his bare hands.

The following is a list of the seminar speakers for the academic year 2003-2004.

Spring 2004:

  • Matt Young: Elliptic Curves
  • John Bryk: Extreme Valuation Theory
  • Ben Kennedy: The Brouwer Fixed Point Theorem Never Holds in Infinite Dimensions
  • Scott Schneider: Connections Between the Provability Predicate in Peano Arithmetic and the Necessity Operator in Modal Logic
  • Lara Pudwell: Pebbling, Cover Pebbling, and Chocolate
  • Chris Stucchio: Shooting Lasers at Atoms
  • Ben Bunting: Why Google is the best search engine
  • Paul Ellis: The Axiom of Choice
  • Sikimeti Ma'u: Remembering Mr. Green
  • Sujith Vijay: Lagrange and Four Square
  • Space Ghost: Inverse Problems for Electrical Conductivity Networks
  • Eva Curry: Radix Representations for Vectors in Z^n

    Fall 2003:

  • Matt Young: Bessel Functions
  • Paul Ellis: Knot Theory Invariants
  • Fernando Louro: Algebraic Geometry
  • Eric Rowland: On Equivalent Words in the Free Group of Rank 2
  • Aaron Lauve: Horned Hermitian Honeybees and their Quasi Friends
  • Trevor Bass: A Quick and Painful Introduction to Excluded Minor Theory
  • Michael Weingart: Gaussian Quadrature
  • German Enciso: Control Theory, Monotonicity and Fruit Flies
  • Kia Dalili: Probabilistic methods in Combinatorics
  • Bill Cuckler: Discrepancy in Arithmetic Progressions
  • Brian Lins: The Fundamental Theorem of Algebra with Linear Algebra
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    The Mathematics Department is very interested in hearing from its alumni/alumnae from either the undergraduate or graduate program, about where they are and what they are doing. One aim is to set up a Department website that would facilitate contacts among former graduates and serve as a source of contacts for our current graduates. We would be especially interested to know if you are employed in a company that hires mathematics graduates at any level, since we are seeking summer internship opportunities for our students and also occasionally look for individuals willing to come to campus to speak about job opportunities in industry for mathematics majors. Please let us know if you would be willing to participate in such activities.

    If possible, responses should be sent by email to:

    Current Address:
    Job Title and Company:
    Home Phone:
    Business Phone:
    Email address:
    Web page url:
    News item:

    If you do not have access to email, please FAX the information to 732-445-5530 (attention: Alumni Committee) or mail the information to:

    Alumni Committee
    Department of Mathematics - Hill Center
    Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey
    110 Frelinghuysen Rd
    Piscataway, NJ 08854-8019



    The Mathematics Department would like to thank its alumni and friends for their past generous support of the Department. Gifts to the Department enhance our ability to compete for the most outstanding undergraduates and graduate students, to bring outstanding mathematics faculty as visitors to the Department, and to support seminars and colloquia. If you would like to help us by making a contribution, you can do so directly on the web at the URL by clicking on "Or choose an academic department:" and selecting Mathematics. If you would like to discuss various possibilities for a gift to the Department, please call the Department Chair, Richard Falk, at 732-445-2393.

    As noted in previous newsletters, one particular high priority fund-raising project for the Department has been the renovation of the seventh-floor lounge in the Hill Center and naming it in honor of Ken Wolfson. I would like to extend a special thank you to all the donors who helped us achieve this goal.

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