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.
NEW PRIZES AND HONORS FOR OUR FACULTY
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.
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.
PROMOTIONS & VISITORS
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.
NEW FACULTY ARRIVING IN 2008 AND 2009
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.
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.
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.
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
Last year's Lewis Lecturer was Fields Medallist Terence Tao of U.C.L.A. In addition to one lecture on the lengths of arithmetic progressions of primes, Professor Tao delivered three lectures on Random Matrices. The lectures were co-sponsored by DIMACS.
CONFERENCES AT RUTGERS
During the weekend of October 6-7, 2007, Rutgers hosted the Fall Eastern Section Meeting of the American Mathematical Society held in Scott Hall on the College Avenue Campus. The "Special Sessions," at which papers are presented in talks of moderate length, were organized or co-organized by Rutgers faculty: Commutative Algebra by Prof. Wolmer Vasconcelos and Jooyoun Hong (Ph.D. Rutgers, 2003); Probability and Combinatorics by Profs. Jeffry Kahn and Van Vu; Set Theory and the Continuum by Prof. Simon Thomas; Toric Varieties by Prof. Diane Maclagan, together with Milena Hering of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications. Prof. Shelly Goldstein's 60th birthday was honored by two Special Sessions: Mathematical and Physical Problems in the Foundation of Quantum Mechanics, co-organized by Prof. Roderich Tumulka with Detlef Dürr of the University of Munich and Nino Zanghi of the University of Genoa, and Partial Differential Equations in Mathematical Physics, organized by Profs. Sagun Chanillo, Michael Kiessling, and Avy Soffer. There was then a second PDE session dedicated to the memory of the late Tom Branson of the University of Iowa.
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 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
Since Spring 2007 we have had an online "exit survey" which we ask our graduating seniors to fill out. This is found at http://www.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
- Hanna Komlós
- The Bogart Prize for outstanding overall achievement as a mathematics major
- Wei Chen
- The Bradley Memorial Prize for best overall performance on a prize exam
- Jeremy Engel
- The Lawrence Corwin Memorial Math Prize for a University College Graduating Senior mathematics major with outstanding performance in upper level mathematics courses
- Matthew Samuel
- The Lawrence Corwin Prize in Mathematics for superior performance on a prize examination
- Joseph Shao
- The Richard Morris Award for a Douglass College Graduating Senior mathematics major with an outstanding performance in upper level mathematics courses
- Islah Nuriddin
- The Hannah Hoyt Prize for a Douglass senior who has excelled in mathematics
- Islah Nuriddin
- The Tilla Weinstein Award for exceptional achievement in mathematics
- Emily Sergel
- 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
New Ph.D.'sSeven 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
Advisor: M. Vogelius
Advisor: C. Woodward
Advisor: D. Zeilberger
Advisor: M. Kiessling
Advisor: A. Soffer
Courant Institute (NSF Postdoctoral Fellow)
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.
Pizza Seminar Talks 2007-08
- 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
New students in 2008-09This fall thirteen students are entering our Ph.D. program, including eight from the U.S. and one each from Brazil, China, India, Italy, and Tunisia. The sixth annual IMR workshop (Introduction to Mathematics at Rutgers) will take place, as usual, on the Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of Labor Day Weekend.
Who's paying?It is a long-standing Department practice to guarantee our Ph.D. students five years of financial support, as long as they are making satisfactory progress toward the degree. The sources of the new students' financial support this fall, and our continuing students' as well, of course include Teaching Assistantships from the University, and Research Assistantships from external faculty grants. The Weill Fellowships contribute vitally to our recruiting ability, as they have ever since 2002, thanks to a generous and far-sighted endowment from Adrienne and Maurice Weill. In addition, our students win a considerable amount of competitive fellowship support. This coming year the sources include Rutgers University Excellence Fellowships, Rutgers University Torrey Fellowships, U.S. Department of Education GAANN Fellowships, Department of Homeland Security DyDAn Fellowships, National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships, Rutgers University and Bevier Dissertation Fellowships, and Metromath fellowships.
Awards and PrizesCampus-wide awards were given to Wolmer Vasconcelos for Excellence in Graduate Education (see above); to Aek Thanatipanonda, for Excellence in Research by a graduate student, and to Paul Raff, the unique winner in New Brunswick of the School of Arts and Sciences Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education in the Teaching Assistant category. Within the Department, the two Teaching Excellence Awards for Teaching Assistants went to Andrew Baxter and Leigh Cobbs in the fall of 2007, and John Bryk and Brent Young in the spring of 2008.
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 www.iafe.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.
The program has grown rapidly since its first entering class in Fall 2006, when it admitted 15 students from an applicant pool of about 50. In 2008, the program received around 240 applicants and admitted over 50. The program takes full-time students a year and a half to complete (three regular semesters or two regular semesters and one summer semester). Students have the option to complete the program part-time, within time limits recommended by the Graduate School; that is an especially popular choice for domestic students who have an opportunity to work in the financial industry while they complete their masterployers occasionally sponsoring their tuition. Ten students have graduated so far and we expect between 30 and 40 to graduate in fall 2008. About 75% of our students are international while 25% are domestic, with most of those from New Jersey or neighboring States.
Our course offerings are growing, too. Credit risk modeling has emerged in recent years as a topic of fundamental importance in the financial industry and for our economy. Beginning this fall, our program is offering a new course in credit risk modeling which will be taught by a well-known industry practitioner and researcher. Another course taught by an industry practitioner is Computational Finance, an advanced project-oriented course.
The program works with all major investment banks and hedge funds. We have recently hired an Associate Director for Career Services and Employer Development, Reneé Williams, whose responsibilities include managing placement in summer internships and full-time positions, cultivating new employer contacts, and alumni relations.Please see our website for more information.
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 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.
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.
Photo: Michio Tanaka
Photo: Michio Tanaka
As always, 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. Our Mathematics Alumni website is a place to 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Name:
Job Title and Company:
Web page url:
If you do not have access to email, please FAX the information to 732-445-5530 (attention: Alumni Committee) or mail the information to:
Department of Mathematics - Hill Center
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey
110 Frelinghuysen Rd
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8019
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE MATHEMATICS DEPARTMENT
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 general contribution to the department, you can do so online at the Rutgers Foundation website. On that page, be sure to click on
Or choose an academic department:so that you can then select Mathematics.
A special focus for Department fundraising is an effort to find a source of permanent support for our very successful summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) program. This is an eight-week program that gives undergraduates the opportunity to get a taste of what it is like to do research in mathematics. The program includes both individual research and group activities. Each student is assisted by a faculty adviser and some also by a graduate-student adviser. Participating undergraduates receive free on-campus housing and a stipend, so that the total cost to the Department is approximately $5000 per student. Typically, about eight students participate each summer. Although some support is provided by the National Science Foundation through the grants of participating faculty mentors, not all faculty mentors have such support. A permanent endowment would ensure that this program will continue to enrich the educational experiences of our best undergraduates.