Samantha Robinson Co-Authors Article on 'Statistics for Equity' in The JEDI Corner
Professional organizations such as the American Statistical Association's Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Outreach Group provide a space for dialog by focusing explicitly on intersecting identities and systems in relation to statistics and data science.
Samantha Robinson, director of the Data Science Initiatives for the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, recently co-authored a brief article in The JEDI Corner of the November 2021 issue of AMSTATNEWS, The Membership Magazine of the American Statistical Association (ASA): "Statistics for Equity: Capturing, Not Masking, Intersectional Dynamics in Data."
About the article, Robinson said, "Statistics can help make the invisible, visible. But we first must remove all stigmas associated with discussing power, privilege, and marginalization in statistical inquiry. These stigmatizations limit our ability to communicate about intersectional identities and social processes with one another and the broader scientific community, especially in relation to methods pertaining to intersectional identities and social processes."
"Once conversations around equity and inclusion, for instance, become endemic, it will become easier to have open and direct dialogs about intersectionality," she added. "Advances in education and research from a statistical point of view can contribute to a larger discussion on intersectionality for the goal of improving equity."
In addition to directing the Fulbright College Data Science Initiatives, Robinson is a teaching assistant professor and holds the Julia A. Hicks Chair within the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Robinson is also currently a member of the Fulbright College Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council and actively demonstrates commitment to DEI/JEDI initiatives at the department, college, and national levels through her involvement and that of her department and unit.
Honors College to Present 'Math Circus'
Want to weave an icosahedral bamboo star - or help build a rainbow-bright bit of hyperbolic geometry? Come on down to the Honors College Math Circus, part of the U of A's 150th birthday celebration Come as You Arkansas.
All on campus and in the community are invited, and there will be activities for all ages, from spray chalking sidewalks to creating jumbo pop art that packs a mathematical punch. Mathematical stickers, coloring sheets and other materials will be given away to mathematics and art enthusiasts.
The Math Circus will be located in the Gearhart Hall courtyard from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10.
Come as You Arkansas is an all-day event that will feature gatherings throughout campus with students, faculty and staff showcasing the university's innovative ideas, research and far-reaching impact.
RINGMASTER OF RECREATIONAL MATH
The ringmaster will be mathematics professor and artist Chaim Goodman-Strauss.
His work to demystify mathematics began 30 years ago, when he managed to lure sleepy teens to the University of Texas campus for interactive math shows on Saturday mornings. Over the years he has developed toys, games, a podcast and community art events that explore topics from the foundations of logic to the shape of the universe.
In partnership with local artist Eugene Sargent, Goodman-Strauss has created a series of mathematical sculptures that were assembled on-site in Atlanta by attendees of the biennial Gathering 4 Gardner, honoring longtime Scientific American columnist Martin Gardner.
"There's nothing like getting your hands on something to truly understand an abstract concept - plus, it's a lot of fun!" Goodman-Strauss said. "I'm looking forward to working with our community to pull off something wonderful right here at the U of A."
The pièce de resistance will be the hyperbolic rainbow sculpture. Participants will assemble puzzle pieces cut from kids' playmats and learn a little differential geometry along the way.
"This frilly mathematical form appears all over nature - in lettuces, kale, coral - and demonstrates the negative curvature of hyperbolic geometry," Goodman-Strauss said. "And it is strikingly beautiful!"
Goodman-Strauss is working with U of A lawyers to patent the system, which consists of identical pieces that arc into hyperbolic curves when fitted together.
Potential uses range from a hands-on educational toy to an arresting installation for a corporate plaza. More immediately, he is teaching students how to develop recreational math tools, beginning with an intersession Honors College forum offered in August 2021.
The students have created stickers and other freebies that will be given away at the Math Circus; they will also serve as captains to ensure that the event runs smoothly.
If you are curious about the new Curvahedra sculpture that was recently installed in the Gearhart Hall courtyard, mathematics professor and artist Edmund Harriss, who dreamed up the system and cotaught a course that led to this new piece of public art, will also be on hand to chat with visitors.
Come lend us a hand - and get a look at just how beautiful mathematics can be!
$6.1 Million Grant Will Establish Institute Focused on Virus Research
The National Science Foundation has awarded a $6.1 million grant to the U of A to establish a research institute focused on virology and virus ecology.
Scientists will study multiple virus systems across all domains of life - Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya. Their goal is to establish fundamental "rules of life," or laws of virology, that apply to all viruses - or at least large sets of virus systems.
The grant establishes the Host-Virus Evolutionary Dynamics Institute, based at the U of A, with hub sites at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, the University of Maine, Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia and Universidad Interamericana in Puerto Rico. The institute will be led by Ruben Michael Ceballos, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the U of A, collaborating with Michelle Evans-White, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Qingyang Zhang, associate professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences.
Researchers at the Host-Virus Evolutionary Dynamics Institute will study disparate virus systems across domains of life - Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya. Bacteria and Archaea comprise the prokaryotes, which are single-celled microorganisms with no nuclei. Eukaryotes comprise animals (including humans), plants, single-celled protists and fungi - in other words, all organisms whose cells have nuclei to enclose their DNA apart from the rest of the cell.
Viruses are ubiquitous across all domains of life, and the diversity of the virosphere presents a challenge in establishing universal laws to which all viruses adhere. Studying this is important to help understand the emergence of virulence, propensity for species jump and other fundamental properties of virus-host dynamics.
Researchers at the institute will begin by studying a set of low-virulence double-stranded viruses, including one system from each domain of life, to model virus-host dynamics within and between virus systems. Concurrently, researchers will develop a set of systems to compare and test the universality of fundamental rules developed from the core systems of each domain.
A central goal of the institute will be to expand the suite of viruses by recruiting other labs and institutions to participate in the research. Using a common experimental approach, data from studies of all virus systems will be compared and integrated to generate Rules of Life that drive variables such as species jump, virus harbor state, changes in transmission rates and emergence of highly virulent virus strains. Rules of Life is one of the National Science Foundation's 10 Big Ideas for pioneering research that will serve the nation's future.
The institute will be supported by a new microscopy core facility equipped with a high-end confocal fluorescence microscope that is used for live cell imaging, electron microscopes and light microscopes. It will also feature a core virology and virus ecology laboratory. This infrastructure will support U of A research efforts as well as domestic and international collaborative projects, training workshops, planning meetings and initiatives related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
OUTREACH, RECRUITMENT AND STUDENT TRAINING
Through its multiple outreach and scholar training initiatives, the institute will strengthen the university's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Faculty, students and staff from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a historically Black college and university; Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico, a Hispanic-Serving Institution; and Ouachita Baptist University will be trained and engaged in long-term research collaborations.
In addition to serving as a recruiting tool for the U of A's multiple graduate programs in the sciences, the institute will build capacity at other minority-serving institutions within NSF EPSCoR jurisdictions. The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) seeks to enhance research competitiveness of targeted jurisdictions - states, territories and commonwealths - by strengthening programs within the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
As part of its outreach and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, researchers at the institute will work with the EAST Initiative, Dawson Education Services Cooperative and Ozark Catholic Academy to deliver curricular supplements, host workshops and build understanding of topics in virology and virus ecology at K-12 institutions within Arkansas and other EPSCoR jurisdictions.
E. Han Tan, assistant professor in the School of Biology and Ecology at the University of Maine; Anissa Buckner, professor and chair of the Department of Biology at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; Nathan Reyna, associate professor at Ouachita Baptist University; and Elizabeth Padilla, assistant professor at La Universidad Interamericana, will serve as co-principal investigators on the NSF grant and will lead hubs at these partner institutions.
Samantha Robinson Receives Inaugural Early Career Award for Helping Students Succeed in Statistics
Samantha Robinson, teaching assistant professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, will receive the 2021 Mu Sigma Rho Early Career Undergraduate Impact Award for making significant contributions to the success of undergraduate students in Statistics.
Mu Sigma Rho is the U.S. national honorary society for statistics, established to promote and encourage scholarly activity in statistics and is affiliated with the American Statistical Association.
The Mu Sigma Rho Statistical Education Award for Junior Faculty is specifically given in recognition of a faculty member who is early in their career, are not yet tenured and/or might be in a non-tenure-track position, who has made significant contributions to the success of undergraduate students in Statistics.
Robinson serves as Course Coordinator for all sections of Principles of Statistics (STAT 2303) and Biostatistics (STAT 2823), which have an annual student enrollment of approximately 1,500-1,700 students.
While Robinson teaches large sections (of about 150 students each) herself, she is known as a caring professor who "genuinely wants [every student] to do well," is concerned about individual student success both in and out of the classroom, and simply "goes above and beyond for her students" to make statistics relevant, understandable and "surprisingly fun."
In recent years, Robinson led groups of student researchers to the Arkansas Bioinformatics Consortium (AR-BIC), including the Special Virtual AR-BIC Seminar: Data Science Solutions for COVID-19. This supervised statistical research has resulted in publications, oral presentations, poster presentations, and numerous awards for the student researchers.
Robinson, now a member of the AR-BIC scientific programming committee, also works directly with the ARA to engage students and provide opportunities for undergraduate researchers in the state, connecting these young researchers with leaders in industry, government, and academia.
Additionally, Robinson wrote the newly approved learning objectives for the Arkansas Course Transfer System (ACTS) MATH 2103 course, renamed 'Principles of Statistics', as it is equivalent to our U of A Principles of Statistics course. Two-year and four-year colleges across the state will now follow the lead of the U of A and of Robinson in teaching their own introductory statistics courses.
Her recent publication in Problems, Resources, and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies (PRIMUS), describes in some detail the unique sequencing of topics and curriculum she has implemented so that other institutions of higher education can also follow her lead.
Robinson will be the very first recipient of this newly established Mu Sigma Rho Award, which will be presented "virtually" at the American Statistical Association 2021 Joint Statistical Meetings, the largest gathering of statisticians held in North America.
Fulbright College Announces 2021 Connor Faculty Fellows
This year, 18 outstanding, hard-working faculty members have been selected as the 2021 class of Connor Faculty Fellows at the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.
Their expertise spans the natural sciences, humanities, fine arts and social sciences, and the funds from the Connor fellowship are intended to help each rising academic further their career development.
"Our Connor Faculty Fellows are truly phenomenal and are among those at the highest levels of teaching, research and service to the college, university and each of their respective fields," said Todd Shields, dean of Fulbright College.
"That each has continued their work at such a caliber even during this pandemic time is nothing short of amazing, and we all look forward to what each fellow creates and accomplishes next!" he added.
The Fulbright College 2021 Connor Faculty Fellows include:
- Kathleen Paul, assistant professor, Department of Anthropology
- Nagayasu Nakanishi, assistant professor, Department of Biological Sciences
- Maggie He, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Yaguang Zhu, assistant professor, Department of Communication
- Sean Dempsey, assistant professor, Department of English
- Linyin Cheng, assistant professor, Department of Geosciences
- Ren Pepitone, assistant professor, Department of History
- Brandon Bouchillon, assistant professor, School of Journalism and Strategic Media
- Paolo Mantero, assistant professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences
- Joon Park, assistant professor, Department of Music
- Amanda McMullen, assistant professor, Department of Philosophy
- Jin Hu, assistant professor, Department of Physics
- Karen Sebold, assistant professor, Department of Political Science
- Stacey Makhanova, assistant professor, Department of Psychological Science
- Jacob Goffnett, assistant professor, School of Social Work
- Michael Nino, assistant professor, Department of Sociology and Criminology
- John Walch, assistant professor, Department of Theatre
- Ryan Calabretta-Sajder, assistant professor, Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Robert and Sandra Connor of Dallas, Texas, established the Connor Endowed Faculty Fellowship in 2004 to provide essential faculty development opportunities to rising academic experts in the college. Annually, a college committee including the dean recognizes faculty who have made excellent contributions to the college and their departments.
The $6,000 award that comes with this honor is used by fellows to facilitate travel, expand research initiatives and support classroom activities.
The Connors' original gift of $1.5 million formerly allowed the college to designate up to 10 fellows each year. An additional gift has now allowed the college to expand the number of fellowships.
Since its inception, the endowment has enabled Fulbright College to recognize more than 200 Connor Fellows and counting, many of whom are now leaders in their departments, serving in administrative capacities or in prominent teaching and research positions with impressive publication records.
Math Professor Joins Membership Committee of Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Tulin Kaman, an assistant professor and Lawrence Jesser Toll Jr. Chair in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the U of A's Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, has been invited to serve on the Membership Committee of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics for another three years, starting from January 2022.
The responsibilities of the SIAM Membership Committee are to provide oversight for SIAM membership development plans, including recruitment and retention, serve as a conduit of information about membership initiatives, and review and provide direction on membership needs, with consideration of the specific needs of various segments of membership including students, young professionals, international and industry.
"I am honored to be asked again to serve on the committee of the largest applied mathematics and computational science professional organization in the world. I look forward to seeing the U of A as a SIAM Academic Member with the top institutions in near future," Kaman said. Kaman has recruited new student chapters at the U of A, ETH-Zurich (Switzerland) and Sabanci University (Turkey).
After joining the U of A in 2017, Kaman established the Student Chapter to promote research in applied mathematics leading to new methods and techniques useful to the industry and science with her students. Throughout these years, the U of A SIAM Student Chapter has been organizing interdisciplinary activities to strengthen interaction among the students and faculty in sciences and engineering departments.
"Our U of A students are very eager to learn more about the computational techniques for solving problems in a wide range of areas. Recently, the chapter organized the Graduate Student Workshop in conjunction with the 46th University of Arkansas Spring Lecture Series on Scalable Solvers and Universals during the week of April 5-9, 2021, and had the opportunity to learn the recent advances in solvers from 16 lectures given by distinguished researchers from government agencies and universities," Kaman said.
Math Professor Appointed to Two Editorial Boards of Two International Research Journal
John Ryan, distinguished professor of mathematics in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, has recently been appointed to the editorial boards of two international research journals.
One is the journal Computational Methods and Function Theory. The other is the Journal of Inequalities and Applications. Both journals are published by the internationally renowned science publisher, Springer Verlag.
Additionally, Ryan has served for some years on the editorial boards of three other journals, including Complex Analysis and Operator Theory, Advances in Applied Clifford Algebra and Analele Universitate Oradea Fasc Matematica. The first two of these journals are also published by Springer Verlag.
Researchers Partner with Fayetteville Police Department to Understand Local Crime and Public Safety Issues
Faculty from the U of A's Department of Sociology and Criminology recently developed a researcher-practitioner collaboration with the Fayetteville Police Department.
Faculty members Grant Drawve, Casey Harris, Shaun Thomas and Mindy Bradley, along with former Department of Mathematical Sciences colleague Jyotishka Datta (now at Virginia Tech), will bring a wide array of criminal justice and data analytics expertise to the collaboration.
As policing and crime-related issues continue to make headlines around the world and close to home, the Fayetteville Police Department has looked to better understand their policing efforts in order to better respond to and serve the community.
By taking this proactive step in developing the collaboration, the Fayetteville Police Department moves towards data-informed practices in understanding "what works" and evaluating their current and future policing initiatives. These efforts align with FPD's mission of taking responsive action that provides Fayetteville residents a safe and healthy community.
FPD Chief Mike Reynolds added, "I'm excited for this opportunity to partner with the University of Arkansas faculty from the Department of Sociology and Criminology on this data collection project. This research will enable the Fayetteville Police Department to further legitimize the decision-making process for our internal stakeholders and the broader community."
Drawve, who is also the associate director of the Crime and Security Data Analytics Lab, said, "This is an exciting opportunity to work locally - a big part of the U of A's public land-grant mission-and is a great indicator of FPD's willingness to become more evidence-based."
Crime- and data-analysis is not new to law enforcement agencies, Drawve said, but partnerships between researchers and practitioners to conduct more advanced research and evaluation is not common practice.
Beyond assisting the Fayetteville police with their analytical needs, the researchers expect to partner on funding opportunities to implement different prevention strategies, as well as use the project to highlight the skills students will need to have for successful careers at criminal justice agencies or justice-centered non-profit and private-sector organizations.
"Developing researcher-practitioner partnerships geared toward providing community partners with access to the research and evaluation expertise of faculty is a primary area of emphasis for the the Center for Social Research," said Shaun Thomas, the center's director.
National Science Foundation Funds TEAAMS Noyce Project to Support STEM Teacher Preparation
A U of A faculty team has been awarded a $1.45 million National Science Foundation Noyce grant to prepare secondary math and science teachers to be successful in high-need school districts across the nation.
William F. McComas, Kim McComas, Laura Kent and Stephen Burgin, from the College of Education and Health Professions, and Shannon Dingman, from the mathematics department in Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, developed the successful proposal for the teaching fellowship: Teacher Enhancement of Agency and Authenticity in Mathematics and Science (TEAAMS).
"TEAAMS uniquely focuses on developing teacher and student agency - empowerment and ability in a specific domain through authentic experiences in mathematics and science," said William McComas, the project's principal investigator. "The goal of TEAAMS is to recruit additional teachers in the key areas of science and mathematics and increase the effectiveness and commitment of these teachers who, in turn, will be prepared to deepen their students' involvement and success in these disciplines."
The grant provides funding to support two cohorts of nine teaching fellows beginning in June of 2021 or 2022 to earn the Master of Arts in Teaching at the U of A. The fellowship includes paid in-state tuition and fees to support the one-year graduate degree which leads to Arkansas teacher licensure. In addition, the TEAAMS Noyce Fellows will receive a $10,000 annual stipend for each of their first four years of teaching in a qualified school district of their choice.
As part of this program, those selected will be mentored by university scientists and mathematicians, experience hands-on science and mathematics learning during Amazeum discover center summer camps, support students engaging in authentic projects in the Springdale Public Schools, and continue working with those students to create and participate in science, mathematics and engineering fairs.
"Our goal is to help the Noyce TEAAMS Fellows see themselves as scientists and mathematicians as they learn strategies to assist their future students in developing agency through engagement in authentic practices," McComas said. "Not only do we look forward to working with these new educators but are also interested in investigating the impact of these changes in STEM teacher preparation and sharing our findings with colleagues who prepare math and science teachers."
Additional information and an application to apply for one of the nine 2021 positions is available through the TEAAMS Noyce Teaching Fellows web page. The deadline to apply for the program this year is April 2.
Teaching Academy Inducts New Fellows
The University of Arkansas Teaching Academy inducted eight new Fellows for the 2020-21 academic year. The new Teaching Academy Fellows are: Denise Beike, Andrew Braham, Todd Cleveland, Amy Farmer, Deborah Korth, Jacquelyn Wiersma-Mosley, Scott Osborn, and Samantha Robinson.
Denise Beike is a professor in the Department of Psychological Science. She received her B.A. in 1990 from Indiana University and earned her Ph.D. in 1996 from Indiana University. She joined the University of Arkansas in 1995 as an instructor, prior to being named assistant professor in 1996. Beike served as the chair of the Department of Psychological Science from 2011 to 2015. Her major areas of teaching are social and cognitive psychology, psychological research and writing, and teaching. Major research areas include memory, emotion, identity, and relationships. Currently her focus relates to how autobiographical memory (memory for one's own life events) influences relationships and identity, and how the emotions of regret and hate influence our interactions with others. Beike also publishes on and advocates for developing national standards for the ethical treatment of undergraduate and graduate students as research assistants.
Andrew Braham is an associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with his B.S. in 2000, and his M.S. in 2002. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 2008. He worked as an engineer with Koch Materials Company for two and a half years, and completed a post-doctoral appointment at Southeast University in Nanjing, China, prior to joining the University of Arkansas in November 2010. His teaching and research focus is on asphalt emulsions, pavement maintenance and rehabilitation, and sustainability. Braham is active in online education, training, and professional development, and recently published the second edition of his textbook on sustainability in civil engineering.
Todd Cleveland is an associate professor in the Department of History. He received his B.A. in 1992 and his M.A. in 2000 from the University of New Hampshire; he earned his Ph.D. in African history at the University of Minnesota in 2008. After teaching at Augustana College in Illinois from 2008 to 2015, which included a year at the University of Ghana (2012-13), he joined the history faculty at the University of Arkansas in 2015. Cleveland teaches an array of courses that examine sub-Saharan African history, as well as sports-themed courses, including the History of Football. His research is broadly concentrated around the interactions between Europeans and sub-Saharan Africans during the colonial period on the continent, an era during which sufficient human and financial resources for empire underpinned a complex, often confusing, and even contradictory set of social dynamics and relations between the European "colonizer" and the African "colonized." His research has been featured in a number of books published by the Ohio University Press.
Amy Farmer is a University Professor of economics and holds the Margaret Gerig & RS Martin, Jr. Chair in Business. She received her B.S. in mathematics from Purdue University in 1987 and earned her Ph.D. in 1991 from Duke University studying game theory. She came to the University of Arkansas as an assistant professor in 1991, and after an appointment at the University of Tennessee, she returned to the University of Arkansas as an associate professor in 1999. Her research interests include law and economics and economics of the family. Her research examines alternative mechanisms to induce parties in a legal battle to voluntarily reach a settlement in an effort to avoid costly legal battles. In addition, she has done research on family economic issues including domestic violence, same-sex marriage, and cohabitation and the role that economics and public policy plays in these problems. Since 2007 she has led students in summer Community Development study abroad programs that offer students an opportunity to work and serve in the area of their academic discipline. Farmer currently takes students to Belize, Mozambique, Eswatini and Mauritius for summer research internships in which students conduct economic development projects.
Deborah Korth currently serves as the director of student success in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. She received her B.S. from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, in 1987 and her M.Ed. from North Carolina State University in 1991. She earned her Ed.D. from the University of Arkansas in 2004. "Deb" joined the University of Arkansas as a clinical professor in 2004. She has served as the director of the Math Resource and Teaching Center, the vice chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, and the director of the Enhanced Learning Center at the University. Korth's research interests include student persistence, success, and mathematics education. Students on campus know her as the professor for Destination Arkansas Blackboard Activities (DABA).
Jacquelyn Wiersma-Mosley is an associate professor in human development and family sciences in the School of Human Environmental Sciences. She received her B.A. in psychology at the University of Northern Iowa, an M.S. in human development and family sciences at Arizona State University, and earned her Ph.D. in human development and family sciences at Texas Tech University. She was a post-doctoral fellow in the Prevention and Methodology Centers at Penn State University. Her research program has largely been dedicated to investigating violence against women, including risk factors for victimization among marginalized populations. Her teaching program has focused on creating curricula to increase cultural competence (via the Intercultural Development Inventory) in courses she developed, including a senior-level required course on Multicultural Families and a new general elective course, Introduction to Cultural Competence. Wiersma-Mosley is a trained administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory and conducts trainings across campus with students, faculty, staff, and campus leaders, as well as the local Northwest Arkansas community. Nationally, she has been awarded the Cognella Innovation in Teaching Award for her discipline in family science.
Scott Osborn is an associate professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. He received his B.S. in 1984 and M.S. in 1988 in agricultural engineering from the University of Kentucky. He earned his Ph.D. in 1994 in biological and agricultural engineering from North Carolina State University. Scott worked as a design engineer for GSI in the grain-drying industry as well as for Kellogg's in the food processing industry, and is a licensed professional engineer in Arkansas and Texas. Osborn joined the University of Arkansas as an assistant professor in 2001. He teaches courses in engineering design, processing and heat/mass transfer. His expertise is technology to dissolve gas into liquid for water treatment and craft beer carbonation/nitrogentation. Osborn is the co-founder of BlueInGreen LLC, a company that sells equipment to dissolve oxygen, ozone and carbon dioxide into water for treatment. He holds 13 patents related to dissolved gas technology.
Samantha Robinson currently holds the rank of teaching assistant professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences and also serves as a senior applications systems analyst consulting with the Department of Family and Preventative Medicine's Community Research group at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She received her B.A. in mathematics in 2009 and her M.S. in statistics in 2009 from the University of Arkansas. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Statistics and Research Methods from the University of Arkansas in 2017. She has been teaching in the Department of Mathematical Sciences in a variety of different roles for approximately 10 years, with her first full-time teaching appointment in 2013. Robinson teaches and coordinates all 2000-level statistics courses on campus and, after having been awarded the 2020 OK-AR Mathematical Association of America's Section Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics, is currently being considered for the 2021 National MAA Haimo Award. Her research focuses on psychometric modeling (especially in the context of large-scale assessments), local spatial analysis, machine learning, and statistics education.
Courtyard Curvahedra to be Installed at Gearhart Hall
A new campus landmark will soon be installed in the courtyard of Gearhart Hall. A Curvahedra, a spherical steel structure that is 12 feet in diameter when installed, will sit in the heart of campus at the home of the University of Arkansas Honors College, Graduate School and Geosciences.
The new landmark was made possible by the generosity of David and Jane Gearhart, who funded $50,000 to cover site preparation, fabrication, construction, installation and an honorarium for the principal designers.
"Jane and I are delighted to support this initiative and to have followed it through its development. The sculpture is beautiful, but it also embodies sophisticated ideas about geometry and space," David Gearhart said. "That seems like a good fit for Gearhart Hall."
The sculpture was designed by British artist Edmund Harriss, alongside compatriot and collaborator Carl Smith, an associate professor of landscape architecture, and a group of honors students. Honors alumna and assistant professor of architecture Emily Baker solved the puzzle of constructing it.
Harriss is a clinical assistant professor of mathematics in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, and the sculpture is based on his Curvahedra puzzle system, a set of paper pieces that helps users understand how flat pieces can be made to curve into a ball - a bit of magic that can be explained by the Gauss-Bonnet theorem.
"General relativity assumes that the three-dimensional space (or the four-dimensional spacetime) that we live in is itself curved," Harriss said. "This huge idea fundamentally changed our understanding of the universe, yet we can start to appreciate it with a simple toy."
The new sculpture will explore this concept on a much grander scale. Harriss' Curvahedra system has won press in The Guardian newspaper, The Aperiodical and Forbes magazine. Harriss has also partnered with Alex Bellos, an acclaimed science writer and columnist for The Guardian, to produce two coloring books of dizzyingly beautiful geometric patterns. A children's book, Hello Numbers! What Can You Do?, coauthored with Houston Hughes and illustrated by Brian Rea, was published last fall.
LAUNCHED BY AN HONORS SEMINAR
The idea for a Curvahedra writ large was sparked by an Honors College Signature Seminar in August 2018 titled Place in Mind, which Harriss taught with Smith.
Charged with activating the dormant Gearhart courtyard space, honors students majoring in engineering, art, biology, geology, architecture and landscape architecture used drawing, games, poetry and mathematics to understand the existing qualities of the courtyard and speculate on what it might become in the future.
The honors students explored many options, with several working throughout the fall of 2018 to refine ideas. This process culminated in an exhibition and proposal for the eye-popping Curvahedra in the courtyard to create a sense of place and to foster interaction. The interdisciplinary group relished the opportunity to make their mark on campus:
"It's kind of rare that I get to exercise the creative side of my brain in my coursework," said Abby Rhodes, now a senior pursuing a major in geology and a minor in mathematics.
HONORS ALUMNA LEADS CONSTRUCTION
Translating a palm-sized paper model into a 12-foot-diameter steel sculpture is no small task. Enter assistant professor of architecture and Honors College Bodenhamer Fellowship alumna Emily Baker, '04.
She took her first welding class at Batesville High School and honed those skills on design-build projects at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design.
Following graduation, she practiced architecture, taught, and earned a master's degree in architecture from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where she began exploring the digital side of steel fabrication using the school's computer numerically controlled plasma cutter.
Recently the American Institute of Steel Construction recognized Baker for her work in structural steel research and teaching, selecting her for the Early Career Faculty Award.
Currently Baker leads the Fay Jones School's digital steel lab. Over the past year, she has worked long days to figure out how to morph a paper Curvahedra into a massive steel sculpture. Eventually, aided by collaboration with Harriss, she hit on an internal spine that provides the necessary bracing without compromising the piece's visual impact.
"This is pretty exciting to us - to create something this large in a curved shape, produced at reasonable cost, that's a feat," Baker said.
"I love the elegance," Harriss enthused. "The mathematical idea is so clearly translated into reality."
Along the way, Baker gave a workshop on their progress at Louisiana State University, describing how to create curving steel forms that "zip" together from flat parts. Baker and Harriss' method of creating curving beams has been selected for support by Tech Ventures, which is now filing a provisional patent application on their behalf. Baker and Harriss also plan to submit their initial work to the Journal of Art and Mathematics.
Alumnus and civil engineer Gavin Smith, '13, drew up plans for ground installation, and Arup Engineers analyzed the sculpture as a structure. Fayetteville's Modus Studio, cofounded by another honors architecture alumnus, Chris Baribeau, '03, will fabricate the Curvahedra. Installation should be completed by the end of this semester, and Honors College Dean Lynda Coon is already looking forward to spring's balmy temperatures.
"I shall hold office hours in the Curvahedra!"
New Multidisciplinary Data Science Scholarship Program Now Open
The program is open to all STEM disciplines - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - but preference will be given to students enrolled in the Data Science Program and disciplines related to data science (industrial engineering, computer science and computer engineering, and mathematics with a specialization in statistics).The College of Engineering is pleased to announce the Multidisciplinary Data Science scholarship program. The program is sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation and is designed to enhance and increase the graduation rate of underrepresented STEM undergraduate students interested in careers in data science.
The program aims to establish recruitment and retention programs for new data science majors and other related STEM disciplines to help meet the growing workforce needs of qualified STEM graduates with data science skills in Arkansas and the nation. The program will bring faculty and business leaders together to mentor students interested in data science and other related STEM disciplines, in career development initiatives, and will provide skillsets sought after within industry, with the aim of improving the graduation rate of students interested in careers related to data science.
Data science combines the fields of computer science, mathematics, statistics, and information systems with a focus on the generation, organization, modeling, and use of data to make scientific and business decisions. To learn more about data science at the University of Arkansas, please visit datascience.uark.edu.
There will be an information session about the new scholarship program via Zoom from 5-6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10. To claim your seat, register here.
Math Graduate Student Researches Orbital Networks as Part of Summer NASA Internship
Michael Shumate, a graduate student in the Department of Mathematical Sciences in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, successfully completed NASA's SCaN Intern Project while making the switch to a virtual work environment this summer.
"I have always really enjoyed everything NASA does," Shumate said.
Shumate's project, "Constructing Orbital Simulations for Network Analysis," focused on problems seen in orbital networks that do not appear in networks on Earth's surfaces.
"Unlike an Earth network, where you can pick up your cell phone and call whoever you want at any time, space networks require much greater involvement," Shumate said.
"With a space network, the path can be lost - you can have the Earth in between the path, and there's also the huge distance," he said. "Say you have a network on Mars and want to connect it from Earth. There's an 11-something-minute delay in connection time."
Using topological data analysis to understand different mathematical structures relative to orbital networks, Shumate and his fellow interns hope to better understand why these problems exist and find a possible solution to the problem, Shumate said.
The internship, hosted by NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is open to students 16 or older who are pursuing a career in space communications and navigation, or have an interest in these areas.
Students are introduced to space communications and navigation knowledge and practices through their participation in the program.
Participants have the opportunity to perform hands-on training with real mission scenarios; gain exposure and analyze powerful space communication systems; utilize networks software tools; and effectively communicate their findings in a final presentation to NASA management.
As part of their internship, each student is paired with an experienced and multidisciplinary mentor who counsels the student with his/her work, and also engages with career planning.
To learn more about the SCaN Internship Project, visit their webpage.
Doctoral Student in Math Earns Top Post-Doc Placements at Max Planck Institute and Princeton
A spring 2020 graduate student, Jean Pierre Mutanguha, has been selected for a prestigious post-doctoral placement at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Bonn, Germany, followed by a second post-doctoral placement through the Institute of Advanced Study and Princeton University.
Mutanguha, who earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in mathematical sciences, will spend four years furthering his research in mathematics as a result of the placements.
"These are highly prestigious postdoctoral positions. Such recognition speaks to the high caliber of his work, and to his outstanding potential as a research mathematician," said Mark Johnson, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.
A native of Rwanda, Mutanguha received his bachelor's degree in 2014 at Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond, Oklahoma. With just a few weeks remaining in his undergraduate career, Mutanguha had planned to seek a job in computer programming, an area he had enjoyed since high school.
But when one of his professors met associate professor Deborah Korth, Mutanguha's future plans changed. Korth, a clinical associate professor and now director of Fulbright College Student Success, encouraged Mutanguha to apply for graduate study at Arkansas.
"A couple of days before graduation I received the graduate assistantship offer. I enjoy math a lot more than programming, so I was excited to take the offer," Mutanguha said.
Research was a new experience for Mutanguha. He said when he joined the U of A, he did not have an understanding of what math research entailed.
"In math, this is quite a common situation since it takes covering so much background material before you can start doing original research," he said.
Mutanguha's advisor, associate professor Matt Clay, taught one of the introductory courses incoming math graduate students are expected to take in preparation for the qualifying exams. Clay taught one topic that Mutanguha found interesting, and the two began a directed reading course in what would become Mutanguha's focused research area - geometric group theory.
"JP was my first student to advise," Clay said. "I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with such a talented student."
Clay said he saw a difference in Mutanguha's work, explaining that his answers were not calculated in the same manner as most students.
"He was very hard-working. He was always right, but his answers followed a different path," Clay said.
Progressing through his doctoral studies, Mutanguha said that research itself was difficult.
"I only knew math in the context of the classroom. In tests and homework, you know the problems given to you are solvable and also solvable with the time you have. But when you start working on open problems, then it is unclear if it is even solvable within weeks or years," he said.
The most difficult part of his research was continuing to push, not knowing when that illuminating idea will come.
"I had a stretch of over a year where I was very frustrated that I was not making any progress, then one day I had an idea that was the first breakthrough and led to my first paper," Mutanguha said, adding that his advisor was very good at constantly providing encouragement during the slow stretches.
The appointment at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics is scheduled from September 2020 through August 2021. Mutanguha planned to visit his home country for a month before moving to Germany but has delayed his travel plans due to travel limitations caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute do not have teaching duties but instead participate in projects with other guest researchers in various fields. Mutanguha said he is hoping to learn a lot of math from that environment, adding that he expects to collaborate with plenty of other scholars from around the world.
In the fall of 2021, Mutanguha will return to the U.S. to begin a coordinated offer from the Institute of Advanced Study and mathematics department at Princeton University. The first third of this three-year placement will include research at IAS, followed by two years with additional teaching duties at Princeton.
Mutanguha has not settled on a career goal but hopes to find an enjoyable way to use his research, be it in academia or industry. He said his experience as an international graduate student at the university was positive.
"I learned a lot from my professors and fellow grad students. The department as a whole was very supportive," he said.
Professor Awarded as 2020 Connor Faculty Fellow
This year, 19 outstanding, hard-working faculty members have been selected as the 2020 class of Connor Faculty Fellows at the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.
Their expertise spans the natural sciences, humanities, fine arts and social sciences and the funds from the Connor fellowship are intended to help each rising academic further their career development.
"In this unusual year, we could not be prouder to honor such a phenomenal group of faculty members who are already making great waves with their scholarly activity and accomplishments," said Todd Shields, dean of Fulbright College. "I know they'll continue to do amazing things and that each have even greater achievements ahead of them!"
The Fulbright College 2020 Connor Faculty Fellows include:
- Amelia Villasenor, assistant professor, Department of Anthropology
- Sarah DuRant, assistant professor, Department of Biological Sciences
- Shilpa Iyer, assistant professor, Department of Biological Sciences
- Chenguang Fan, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Yaguang Zhu, assistant professor, Department of Communication
- Lora Walsh, assistant professor, Department of English
- Jill Marshall, assistant professor, Department of Geosciences
- Glenn Sharman, assistant professor, Department of Geosciences
- Kelly Hammond, assistant professor, Department of History
- Colleen Thurston, assistant professor, School of Journalism and Strategic Media
- Ariel Barton, assistant professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences
- Micaela Baranello, assistant professor, Department of Music
- Warren Herold, assistant professor, Department of Philosophy
- Yong Wang, assistant professor, Department of Physics
- Shirin Saeidi, assistant professor, Department of Political Science
- Darya Zabelina, assistant professor, Department of Psychological Science
- Mark Plassmeyer, assistant professor, School of Social Work
- Benjamin Smith, assistant professor, Department of Theatre
- Rhodora Vennarucci, assistant professor, Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Robert and Sandra Connor of Dallas, Texas established the Connor Endowed Faculty Fellowship in 2004 to provide essential faculty development opportunities to rising academic experts in the college. Annually, a college committee including the dean recognizes faculty who have made excellent contributions to the college and their departments. The $5,000 award is used to facilitate travel, expand research initiatives and support classroom activities.
The Connors' original gift of $1.5 million formerly allowed the college to designate up to 10 fellows each year. An additional gift has now allowed the college to expand the number of fellowships. Since its inception, the endowment has enabled Fulbright College to recognize 189 total Connor Fellows, many of whom are now leaders in their departments, serving in administrative capacities or in prominent teaching and research positions with impressive publication records.
Interdisciplinary Team of U of A Faculty Coauthor Book that Defines Math Education Terms
An interdisciplinary team of University of Arkansas faculty collaborated on a recently-published book that defines mathematics education terms and concisely describes relevant literature for each term.
The Language of Mathematics Education: An Expanded Glossary of Key Terms and Concepts in Mathematics Teaching and Learning, is coauthored by Shannon Dingman, Laura Kent, Kim McComas, and Cynthia Orona.
The book was published by Brill Sense and is the second in a series outlining key terms and concepts. Bill McComas, Parks Family Distinguished Professor of Science Education at the U of A, published the initial book, The Language of Science Education: Key Terms and Concepts in Science Teaching and Learning. Other faculty in the College of Education and Health Professions have shown interest in adding to the series.
Bill McComas approached the mathematics educators regarding the idea and potential for this book. The author team began by brainstorming a list of terms they often use in their work or words that had been sources of discussion within various groups and researchers working in the field of mathematics education. They also reached out to other leaders in the field for input on the terms. The book is a compilation of over 100 mathematics education terms. These include phrases used to describe the mental processes used in thinking mathematically, such as "relational thinking" and "van Hiele levels".
The authors said those new to the mathematics education profession will benefit from this book, as well as veterans in the field. This could include graduate students, early career faculty and those working closely with colleagues or students still emerging in their careers and understanding of mathematics education research.
To add to the U of A collaboration, the book cover photo was taken by Russell Cothren, a photographer at University Relations. The cover art displays a model of a four-dimensional polyhedron that was constructed by the U of A Math Club, coordinated by math professor Chaim Goodman-Strauss, to hang in the U of A library. Although the model no longer hangs there, its complex yet patterned structure symbolizes the beauty, regularity, and richness that lie within mathematics, a fitting photo for this book.
Association for Women in Mathematics student chapter formed
The University of Arkansas AWM student chapter was established in Summer 2019.
The Chapter's mission is to promote
- an increased knowledge of and greater interest in the mathematical sciences, including pure and applied mathematics, statistics, and their applications;
- a greater understanding of the contributions of women in the mathematical sciences; and
- mentoring and encouraging women and girls as they prepare for careers in the mathematical sciences.
Professor Tulin Kaman is the Chapter's faculty advisor.
For more information visit the website https://kaman.uark.edu/awm/
Math Majors and Scholarship Award Recipients
We congratulate our Mathematics majors scholarship award recipients!
Undergraduate Scholarships and Awards (2019-2020)
Lawrence Jesser Toll Jr. Scholarship
Davis Campbell, Dillon Trinh
David E. Johnson & Wilda S. McMurray Scholarship
Noah Torgerson, Davis Campbell, Lucas Bellaiche, Aneesh Komanduri, Keaton Hurlbut
Davis P. Richardson Scholarship
Dillon Trinh, Amanda Varner, Alaina Edwards, Arthur Logan, Lucas Neville, Lucas Bellaiche, Noah Torgerson
Rose Mae Bogan Endowed Award
John & Faye Kessee Scholarship
Fatima Orellana, Spencer Gualdin
Jane and James Scroggs Endowed Alumni Award
Deja Middleton, Sabrina Garcia
Graduate Scholarships and Awards (2019-2020)
John C. Massie Memorial Scholarship
William Blair, Jason DeMoulpied, Jean-Remy Habimana, Jesse Keyton, Md Kamrul Hasan Khan, Patrick Phelps
Lawrence Jesser Toll Jr. Scholarship
Nana Asamoah, Surya Lamichhane, Minh Nyugen, Caleb Parks, Richard Shumate, Seyed Tabari, Sara Watkins, Michael Duffy Jr, Kingsley Pinder
William Alton Anderson Endowed Scholarship in Arts & Sciences
Jean-Pierre Mutanguha, Clifton Eric Walker
Julia Hicks Scholarship in Memory of Pauline Pabst for Excellence in Teaching
Alexandria Medeck, James Roddy
Jim Scroggs Memorial Scholarship
August 5, 2019
Lance Miller awarded Connor Faculty Fellowship
Robert and Sandra Connor of Little Rock established the Connor Endowed Faculty Fellowship in 2004 to provide essential faculty development opportunities to rising academic experts in the college. Annually, a college committee including the dean recognizes assistant professors who have made excellent contributions to the college and their departments. The award is used to facilitate travel, expand research initiatives and support classroom activities.
June 17, 2019
Kaman Elected to Join Membership Committee for Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Tulin Kaman, an assistant professor and Lawrence Jesser Toll Jr. Chair in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the U of A's Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, has been elected to serve as a member of the Membership Committee for the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics .
The responsibilities of the SIAM Membership Committee are to provide oversight for SIAM membership development plans including recruitment and retention, serve as a conduit of information about membership initiatives, review and provide direction on membership needs, with consideration of the specific needs of various segments of membership including students, young professionals, international and industry.
"I am honored to be asked to serve on the committee of the the largest applied mathematics and computational science professional organization in the world and look forward to do my part in fulfilling the committee's mission," Kaman said.
With her science and engineering students, she established the Student Chapter to promote research in mathematics leading to new methods and techniques useful to industry and science. Throughout the semesters, the U of A SIAM Student Chapter organizes interdisciplinary activities to strengthen interaction among the students and faculty in sciences and engineering departments, and to provide a learning environment to develop and improve students' mathematics and computer programming skills.
"The activities we plan for our students such as seminars and lecture series are designed to further their career in the application of mathematics to industry and science," Kaman said.
About SIAM: Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) is an international community of over 14,000 individual members. Almost 500 academic, manufacturing, research and development, service and consulting organizations, government, and military organizations worldwide are institutional members. SIAM was incorporated in 1952 as a nonprofit organization to convey useful mathematical knowledge to other professionals who could implement mathematical theory for practical, industrial, or scientific use.
June 17, 2019
Yo'av Rieck named Master Researcher
Professor Yo'av Rieck has been named a Master Researcher. This award, given annually to a faculty member in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, honors his outstanding research contributions. Professor Rieck's research work is in the field of low-dimensional topology and knot theory, with a recent focus on the algorithmic complexity of topological questions.
Sept. 13, 2018
Jyotishka Datta receives a Connor Faculty Fellowship
Robert and Sandra Connor of Little Rock established the Connor Endowed Faculty Fellowship in 2004 to provide essential faculty development opportunities to rising academic experts in the college. Annually, a college committee including the dean recognizes assistant professors who have made excellent contributions to the college and their departments. The award is used to facilitate travel, expand research initiatives and support classroom activities.
Sept. 13, 2018
John Ryan promoted to Distinguished Professor
Professor John Ryan is an international leader in the field of Clifford Analysis. After earning his D. Phil from the University of York, Britain in 1982, and several visiting positions, he first arrived at the University of Arkansas in 1990. Dr. Ryan's research career includes some eighty scholarly publications and hundreds of talks at conferences and universities worldwide.
Sept. 13, 2018
Visiting Assistant Professors Castro, Liu, and Sargent join department
This fall three new visiting assistant professors joined the department.
Nick Castro earned his Ph.D. from Georgia Tech and had a postdoctoral position at the University of California-Davis. He works in the field of low-dimensional topology.
Bingyan Liu earned his Ph.D. from Washington University (St. Louis) and had a postdoctoral position at the University of California-Riverside. His research interests are complex geometry, several complex variables and holomorphic dynamical systems.
Meredith Sargent earned her Ph.D. from Washington University (St. Louis). Her research interests include operator theory and Dirichlet series.
Sept. 13. 2018
UofA forms Student Chapter of SIAM
The University of Arkansas SIAM student chapter, a local branch of the larger Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, was established in January 2018.
The goal of the group is to foster an interdisciplinary community for students and faculty and interested in applied mathematics. The faculty advisor for the group is Dr. Tulin Kaman.
For more information visit the website http://sites.uark.edu/tkaman/siam/
Jan. 17, 2018
Mathematical Sciences Professor to Give Plenary Address
Andrew Raich, associate professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, will give a plenary address at the 2017 Spring Western Sectional Meeting of the American Mathematical Society.
This prestigious honor is awarded to scholars whose research contributions represent findings of international importance, and who are renowned for presenting engaging lectures.
Raich will speak on "Closed range of the Cauchy-Riemann operator on domains in C^n" on Sunday, April 23, in Pullman, Washington. In conjunction with the plenary address, a series of supportive talks will be given by scholars in the area of several complex variables.
Physics Colloquium Topic: Planet X and Periodic Mass Extinctions
Daniel Whitmire, a retired astrophysicist and current faculty member in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, will discuss his research on the relationship between the "Planet X" and periodic mass extinctions on Earth in a colloquium scheduled for 4 p.m. today, Friday, Feb. 24, in room 133 of the Physics Building.
Whitmire published findings in the January 2016 issue of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society indicating the as-yet-undiscovered "Planet X" triggers comet showers linked to mass extinctions on Earth at intervals of approximately 27 million years.
Though scientists have been looking for Planet X for 100 years, the possibility that it's real got a big boost recently when researchers from Caltech inferred its existence based on orbital anomalies seen in objects in the Kuiper Belt, a disc-shaped region of comets and other larger bodies beyond Neptune. If the Caltech researchers are correct, Planet X is about 10 times the mass of Earth and could currently be up to 1,000 times more distant from the sun.
Whitmire and his colleague, John Matese, first published research on the connection between Planet X and mass extinctions in the journal Nature in 1985 while working as astrophysicists at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Their work was featured in a 1985 Time magazine cover story titled, "Did Comets Kill the Dinosaurs? A Bold New Theory About Mass Extinctions."
Whitmire and Matese's theory is that as Planet X orbits the sun, its tilted orbit slowly rotates and Planet X passes through the Kuiper belt of comets every 27 million years, knocking comets into the inner solar system. The dislodged comets not only smash into the Earth, they also disintegrate in the inner solar system as they get nearer to the sun, reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth.
Bennett Scholarship Gift Supports Students in Two Colleges
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - A gift from the late Jim and Betty Bennett is being used to create the James Harold and Betty Jo Bennett Endowed Scholarship for undergraduate students at the University of Arkansas. The late Jim and Betty Bennett were native Arkansans, and both were distinguished graduates of the university.
As a nod to the couple's majors, the scholarship will benefit two students each year - one studying chemical engineering in the College of Engineering and one studying mathematical sciences in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.
The Bennetts met on the U of A campus and were married for more than 60 years. They were devoted members of their community and St. Matthew's United Methodist Church in Metairie, Louisiana.
"My parents were humble and hardworking," said Elizabeth Grace Bennett, daughter of the Bennetts. "They believed in supporting the institution where they met, and received their education."
Ed Clausen, interim department head of Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering, said, "This gift will significantly impact our undergraduate students as they continue to face increasing educational expenses. We're so grateful for this gift, and it means a great deal to us to have this kind of support."
Mark Johnson, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, agreed. "We are very appreciative of this generous gift," he said. "It will be of great help in supporting the success of our students."
Jim Bennett was a first-generation college student and graduated with honors, earning a bachelor's degree as well as a master's degree in chemical engineering. He was a member of the Theta Tau Epsilon Fraternity. After college, he worked with the DuPont enterprise for 42 years and was recognized as a leader and mentor while managing various startup and innovative projects. The Bennett family spent five years in Singapore while Jim supervised the DuPont facility there.
Betty Bennett also graduated with honors from the university, earning a bachelor's degree in mathematical sciences. She was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, the Phi Beta Kappa National Honors Society and Daughters of the American Revolution. She worked as an 8th grade mathematics teacher for several years after college and was an active member of the parent-teacher associations where her children attended school, as well as the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America.
UA Mathematics Faculty Member Receives NSF Grant to Study Middle School Mathematics Teaching
The University of Arkansas is part of a four-state initiative funded by the National Science Foundation to study how middle-grade mathematics teachers plan and enact mathematics lessons from a variety of resources, including textbooks and supplemental materials.
Shannon Dingman, associate professor of mathematics education in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, will serve as a principle investigator on the collaborative grant and lead the efforts at the U of A. Dingman's research focuses on the role of curriculum and standards in mathematics education.
The three-year grant, titled Investigating Middle Grades Mathematics Teachers' Curricular Reasoning, is being shared by the U of A, Brigham Young University, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and Grand Valley State University. The U of A will receive $159,661 of the total grant of $1,090,283.
"Textbooks have traditionally driven what is learned in the mathematics classroom," Dingman said. "However, over the past couple of decades, and in particular since the release of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, we have seen more and more teachers move away from strictly following textbooks and towards using more supplemental materials that either they or someone in their district have created, or they have found online.
"Since teachers are a key piece in the implementation and success of the Common Core, we plan to study how teachers use the variety of curriculum materials at their disposal to implement the standards, how and why they make these decisions about these materials, and what strengths and weaknesses they see in their textbook and in other materials," he said.
The study will take researchers into eighth grade mathematics classrooms in the four states represented, as researchers look to study how teachers make curricular decisions and what factors influence these decisions. The grant is funded through the EHR Core Research: Fundamental Research in STEM Education division of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources division of NSF.
Professor Andrew Raich wins Cambridge Faculty Fellowship
Dr. Andrew Raich has been chosen to receive a visiting fellowship at Wolfson College at the University of Cambridge, England for the 2015-2016 academic year. This fellowship is given annually to a faculty member in Fulbright College to support their research activities.
Matt Day named a Connor Faculty Fellow
Robert and Sandra Connor of Little Rock established the Connor Endowed Faculty Fellowship in 2004 to provide essential faculty development opportunities to rising academic experts in the college. Annually, a college committee including the dean recognizes assistant professors who have made excellent contributions to the college and their departments. The award is used to facilitate travel, expand research initiatives and support classroom activities.
Andy Raich named Master Researcher
Professor Andy Raich has been named a Master Researcher. This award, given by the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, honors his outstanding research contributions.
Professor Shannon Dingman named as Master Teacher
Dr. Shannon Dingman has won a Master Teacher award for 2015. This award, given by the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, honors outstanding teaching. This is one of only three such awards given this year by the College.
Chakraborty Named 2015 Connor Faculty Fellow
Assistant Professor Avishek Chakraborty is among 12 Fulbright College faculty to be named a Connor Faculty Fellow.
The Fulbright College recently selected its 2015 class of Connor Faculty Fellows. Twelve outstanding assistant professors were awarded this honor and given funds to support their career development."This year's recipients have made considerable academic contributions to the University of Arkansas in a very short amount of time," said Todd Shields, dean of Fulbright College. "Their success reflects the high standards of our departments and programs and supports Senator Fulbright's legacy of peace through education."
Robert and Sandra Connor of Little Rock established the Connor Endowed Faculty Fellowship in 2004 to provide essential faculty development opportunities to rising academic experts in the college. Annually, a college committee including the dean recognizes assistant professors who have made excellent contributions to the college and their departments.
The award is used to facilitate travel, expand research initiatives and support classroom activities.
Instructors Get Teaching Improvement Grant Award
Shanda Hood, Jana Gastineau, and Gretchen Thompson received a grant award for Training for Supplementary Instruction Supervisors in the Mathematics Resource and Teaching Center by the Teaching and Faculty Support Center.
The TFSC recently announced the recipients of the 2015 TFSC-sponsored teaching improvement grant competition. A total of 21 grant proposals were received from faculty across campus representing 20 departments or units. A stipulation of each grant awarded is a plan for sharing outcomes with campus faculty.
Wonder and the Jurassic
Noted author Lawrence Weschler will present "Wonder and the Jurassic," Wednesday, March 11 at 7 p.m. in Willard J. Walker Hall auditorium.
The talk is based on his best-selling book Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder, an evolution of the Museum of Jurassic Technology in West Los Angeles. The museum, created by David Wilson, is an emporium devoted to the celebration of things that can't be known for sure.
Weschler revisits the 16th-century "wonder cabinets" that were the first museums and examines the imaginative origins of both art and science.
"His work touches many areas, and his visit embodies the interdisciplinary spirit of Fulbright College and the honors programs," event organizer and chair of mathematical sciences Chaim Goodman-Strauss said.
In addition to his talk, the author will visit students in the Honors Humanities seminar (HUMN 2124), Writing Workshop: Fiction (ENGL 5023), Contemporary Art (ARHS 4933) and the Masters of Fine Arts programs.
Weshler was a staff writer at The New Yorker for over 20 years where his work shuttled between political tragedies and cultural comedies. He is a two-time winner of the George Polk Award - for Cultural Reporting in 1988 and Magazine Reporting in 1992 - and was also a recipient of the Lannan Literary Award (1998). He is fellow and director emeritus of the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University, artistic director emeritus of the Chicago Humanities Festival and curator for New York Live Ideas.
His talk is sponsored by the Honors College, the Fulbright College Honors Program, programs in Creative Writing & Translation and the departments of art, English, history and mathematical sciences.
For more information, contact Chaim Goodman-Strauss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Willard J. Walker Hall (WJWH) is located at 191 N. Harmon Ave. Parking is available for a fee in the Harmon Avenue Parking Deck.
New Space for MRTC
The MRTC is getting a new space on the third level of the new Champions Hall just across the street from the Science Building on the corner of Duncan Ave. and Dickson Street.
In addition to the MRTC, math and biology labs and general classrooms will be housed in the new building, which has large areas for collaboration and study nooks for smaller groups to congregate.
"Lower level math students are required to be [in the old lab] an hour a week. The new math lab will have kind of a math lab meets coffee shop atmosphere," says Deborah Korth, director of the Math Resource and Testing Center.
Thinking about how a math lab might become a popular spot, she jokes, "Now we'll be pushing them out."
Although math and biology are both in the Fulbright College, undergraduate students from across the campus will use the building because they are required to take math and biology courses to fulfill parts of the university's core curriculum.
This is the first new classroom building on campus since 2007. It is named Champions Hall because a significant part of its $26.5 million construction cost was made possible by the University of Arkansas athletics department, which committed $1.25 million of the university's annual share of SEC revenues to the project. Those funds will be used to pay off approximately $18 million in bonds that were issued for construction of the facility.
40th Annual Spring Lecture Series
A winter storm has prompted changes to the Spring Lecture Series schedule.
The series will begin with talks by principle lecturer Benson Farb, Thursday, March 5 at 1:30 p.m. in Reynolds Center, room 202.
Mathematical Sciences will host its annual Spring Lecture Series, now in its 40th year, entitled "Cohomology, Polynomials, and Representations: an Eternal Golden Braid," Thursday, March 5 through Saturday, March 7 in the Reynolds Center.
Doodling is the subject of the public lecture "The Mathematics of Doodling," presented by Ravi Vakil, professor and Robert K. Packard University Fellow at Stanford University, Thursday, March 5 at 7 p.m. in the Reynolds Center Auditorium. Often sophisticated mathematics are buried inside common doodles. Although is looks like play, Vakil will discuss how doodles, through geometry, topology, physics, reflect what mathematics is really about - finding patterns in nature, explaining them and extending them. A reception will follow.
The principle lecturer for the series is Professor Benson Farb of the University of Chicago. Through a series of five talks, he will explain interconnections between polynomials and braids (like braiding rope), and deeper mathematical topics such as cohomology and representations of groups. Farb specializes in the interaction between geometry, topology and group theory. A common theme of these subjects is how complicated objects are sometimes determined by very simple data.
In addition to Stanford University and the University of Chicago, lectures will be presented by researchers from national and international institutions including Cornell University, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Rice University, University of Wisconsin, Mexico National University and the University of Glasgow.
The lectures will take place Thursday through Saturday in the Reynolds Center.
The Spring Lecture Series is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the University of Arkansas.
The series is free and open to the public.
Mathematician Presents at the National Museum of Mathematics
Chaim Goodman-Strauss, professor and chair of mathematical sciences, made a presentation exploring fundamental topological principles at the National Museum of Mathematics in New York in December.
His lecture "Shaping Surfaces - How Nature Uses Math to Sculpt the Geometry of Living Surfaces," was one of only 12 selected for the museum's Math Encounters lecture series. A special introduction was given by John Conway, prizewinning Princeton University mathematician and inventor of the cellular automaton Game of Life.
Mathematics illuminates the patterns that shape the world around us. The lecture discussed the surprising beauty and simplicity of the underlying principles that control the geometry of surfaces. Corals, leaves, lichens - even membranes and ears - are all living surfaces shaped through control over intrinsic geometry, even as those surfaces flex, twist, and grow.
"Professor Goodman-Strauss has been a diligent ambassador for Fulbright College and the university for many years," said Todd Shields, dean of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. "He demonstrates his passion for mathematics through his willingness to share his expertise and imagination with others."
Math Encounters is a public presentation series celebrating the spectacular world of mathematics and is sponsored by the Simons Foundation at the museum commonly known as MoMath.
"I am excited to have represented mathematics and the University of Arkansas at the National Museum of Mathematics," Goodman-Strauss said.
MoMath, which brands itself as the coolest thing that has ever happened to math, strives to enhance public understanding and the perception of mathematics. The museum's activities lead a broad and diverse audience to understand the evolving, creative, human and aesthetic nature of mathematics. It received its official charter from the New York State Department of Education in 2009.
Alumnus Published in Research Journal
Research by recent alumnus Matthew Lukac has been published in the latest issue of the Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Mathematics Journal, Vol. 15, No. 2.
His honors thesis, "Continuously Diagonalizing the Shape Operator," under the direction of Phil Harrington, associate professor of mathematics, investigates the behavior of the curvature of non-developable surfaces around an umbilic point at the origin and proves that a continuously diagonalizable shape operator implies the existence of a path through the origin with noncomparable principal curvatures.
Last spring, Lukac presented the same thesis at the 76th Annual Meeting of the Oklahoma-Arkansas Section of the Mathematical Association of America and received third place for "Best Presentation."
"Matt is a hard-working student who brought a lot of creativity and enthusiasm to his research." Harrington said. "He should be very successful in graduate school."
Lukac graduated summa cum laude in 2014 with degrees in mathematics and physics. He is currently taking a year off before attending graduate school where plans to earn a doctorate in mathematics and teach at a research university. He is a mathematics tutor with the Enhanced Learning Center.
"We are very proud of Matt and all the successes of the mathematics majors at the University of Arkansas," Chaim Goodman-Strauss, department chair said.
Originally from Mountain Home, he is the first in his family to graduate college with honors, much less the first to be published in an academic research journal.
"Coming from a small town, having this much success in academia, at least for someone with my background, seemed so far out of reach," Lukac said. "Already, it feels quite addicting and I hope to carry this success into graduate school and beyond."
The Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Mathematics Journal is sponsored by the Mathematics Department at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and is devoted entirely to papers written by undergraduates on topics related to mathematics. In order to maintain a high level of exposition, each paper must be sponsored by a mathematician familiar with the student's work and each paper is refereed.
Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Mathematics Journal (PDF)
Ryan Gets Landmark Grant to Fund Conference to Honor Nobel Laureate
Professor John Ryan is the co-investigator on grant awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a conference dedicated to Nobel Laureate Paul A.M. Dirac.
Ryan and co-investigator Craig Nolder, professor of mathematics at Florida State University, are organizing the conference "Clifford Analysis and Related Topics, a Conference in honor of Paul A. M. Dirac," December 15-17, at Florida State University.
This grant is the first time the NSF has funded a conference on Clifford analysis. Clifford analysis is the study and application of Dirac type operators in analysis and geometry.
"Ryan is a leader in this active field and the department," Chaim Goodman-Strauss, department chair said. "This conference will bring visibility to the Department of Mathematical Sciences and the University of Arkansas."
Dirac shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933 with Erwin Schrödinger for "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory." After Dirac retired from Cambridge University he moved to Florida State University where he died in 1984.
The conference to honor Dirac is attracting both experts and new comers to the field from the United States, South America and Europe. It is funded by matching funds from Florida State University.
New Master's Degree in Statistics and Analytics
A new interdisciplinary master's degree in statistics and analytics has been added to the 130 graduate degree programs offered by the University of Arkansas. The program received approval from the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board last month, and the first courses in the discipline are being offered this fall.
The degree is designed to provide students with the skills they need to enter the varied and lucrative career field of data science. Mark Arnold will serve as the program's director.
"The program will help students grow their analytical and communication skills. It will also provide students with the analytical statistics foundation they need in order for them to make valid conclusions about data," he said.
Patricia Koski, associate dean of the Graduate School and International Education, played a significant role in the program's implementation and is pleased with the possibilities the degree presents to students.
"We are thrilled to be able to offer this new cross-college interdisciplinary graduate program in statistics and analytics, and we are excited about the opportunities this degree will provide our students," Koski said.
Arnold said establishing the degree has been a goal of many people on campus for several years, but the possibility of its implementation only recently became a reality.
"The provost encouraged us to make the degree happen, and that gave us all confidence that if we worked together to build this thing, then we could actually make it a reality," he said.
The 30-hour degree offers students six concentrations from which to choose: business analytics, computational analytics, educational statistics and psychometrics, mathematical statistics, operational analytics; and quantitative social science. The program is starting the fall semester with strong enrollment numbers, but Arnold is anticipating solid growth in the coming years.
"We have 15 students enrolled right now, but I would like to see us have 75 enrolled in the next two to three years," he said. "Maybe we will have a Ph.D. program for those students to move into by then."
The new degree is one of the university's six interdisciplinary graduate programs. Its development required collaboration from statisticians in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences; the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences; the Sam M. Walton College of Business; the College of Engineering; the College of Education and Health Professions; the Graduate School and International Education and individuals from Mullins Library and Information Technology Services.
Rauzy Fractal Image Makes the Cover of Notices
An image created by geometer Edmund Harriss made the cover of the mathematics journal Notices, published by the American Mathematical Society. The image, created in collaboration with Bill Casselman, appeared on the August 2014 edition (Volume 61 Number 7). It shows a stepped path winding through space with the corners of the path projected onto a plane. On the plane each type of corner lives in its own region. The collection of these regions is the Rauzy Fractal.
In the same issue, his work with French mathematician Pierre Arnoux, was published in a complementary article "What is a Rauzy Fractal?" in the reoccurring "WHAT IS a ..?" column. This section offers brief, nontechnical descriptions of mathematical objects being used in contemporary research.
Rauzy fractals are a beautiful collection of self-similar shapes. The fractal as a whole can be divided into pieces in such a way that each piece can be created with smaller copies of the pieces. Their study is related to finding efficient algorithms for pixelating lines in 3d and to the mathematics of quasi-crystals, as well as many questions in mathematics.
"Dr. Harriss is a unique communicator of mathematics and mathematical research," said Chaim Goodman-Strauss, chair of mathematical sciences. "His wide-ranging interests and interdisciplinary collaboration across campus and the broader community are a strong asset for the department, university and region."
Harriss is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Mathematics. His work in geometry, tilings and patterns have appeared in such publications as Nature.
Notices is the world's most widely read magazine aimed at professional mathematicians with a readership of 30,000 individuals worldwide.
Image provided with permission by the American Mathematical Society
Ryan to Co-Organize a Special Session at International Meeting
John Ryan has been selected to co-organize a special session for an international meeting in Portugal next summer. He and co-organizers Fabrizio Colombo, of Milan Polytechnic, Italy, and Paula Cerejeiras, University of Aveiro, Portugal, were selected by an international committee to organize the session Clifford Analysis, Dirac Operators, and Operator Theory. The session will have 15 speakers that reflect the international nature of the meeting and will include presentations by early-career mathematicians.
Once a year, the AMS joins a host society to organize a meeting of the international mathematical community. The 2015 Joint International Meeting is being sponsored by the AMS, the European Mathematical Society (EMS) and the hosting Portuguese Mathematical Society (SPM). The meeting is June 10-13, 2015 in Porto, Portugal.
The AMS was founded in 1888 to further the interests of mathematical research and scholarship and today has membership of nearly 30,000 individuals and 580 institutional members in the U.S. and around the world.
'Big Data' Statistician Joins Department of Mathematical Sciences
Avishek Chakraborty joins the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences Department of Mathematical Sciences as an assistant professor beginning fall 2014. Chakraborty comes to the University of Arkansas from Texas A&M University, where he served as a visiting assistant professor and taught statistical methods.
"Dr. Chakraborty is an active researcher and holds great promise to revitalize the statistics program," said Chaim Goodman-Strauss, professor of mathematics and chair of the department. "His teaching experience and research record is an example of our intent to recruit and retain the very best faculty."
Chakraborty's research interests include Markov chain Monte Carlo-based estimation, efficient computation for large datasets, applications in biology and environment, Bayesian methods and approximate Bayesian computation.
"Bayesian scholars use statistical and probability methods named for an 18th century statistician and philosopher named Thomas Bayes," said Todd Shields, dean of Fulbright College. "Dr. Chakraborty develops sophisticated statistical models to uncover patterns in extremely large data sets. The breakthroughs in statistical theory he has developed are the tools that applied scholars use in fields popularly known as ‘analytics' and ‘big data.' These breakthroughs have applications in fields as diverse as biology, supply chain management, retail merchandising, education and agriculture."
In 2012, Chakraborty was one of two to receive the Leonard J. Savage Dissertation Award (Applied Methodology) for outstanding doctoral dissertations in Bayesian econometrics and statistics. He also received an Early Career Researcher Grant for attending ninth World Meeting of International Society for Bayesian Analysis in 2008.
"I am excited to be a part of a department that places great emphasis on connecting with its students to help encourage and support their professional growth," said Chakraborty. "After serving as a postdoctoral fellow and a visiting professor, it is good to be on tenure track at the University of Arkansas."
Chakraborty holds a Bachelor of Statistics with honors and Master of Statistics from the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India. He earned a doctorate in statistics from Duke University.
Students Make 2014 Dean's and Chancellor's List
Congratulations to the following mathematics majors who made both the Spring 2014 Chancellor's List and the Fulbright College Dean's List.
Full time students who earned a 4.0 grade point average during a semester are named to the Chancellor's List.
The Fulbright College Dean's List represents the top 10 percent of students in the college, which are generally students with 4.0 grade point averages.
- Katherine Baird, a sophomore from Dallas, Texas
- David Bloom, a freshman from Carrollton, Texas
- Javan Burrier, a junior from Conway
- Allison Cleere, a freshman from Keller, Texas
- Christina Cook, a senior from Nacogdoches, Texas
- Jeremiah Flannery, a junior from Bentonville
- Eman Ibrahim, a junior from Fayetteville
- William Kellstrom, a junior from Pearcy
- Robert Martin, a senior from Pittsburg, Kan.
- Katherine McBeth, a sophomore from Bentonville
- Jonathan Mishler, a senior from Dallas, Texas
- Trent Rogers, a senior from Bentonville
- Madison Sandig, a senior from Plano, Texas
- Katherine Stewart, a senior from Fayetteville
Congratulations to 2014 Graduates
Congratulations to 2014 Graduates
Bachelor of Arts
Todd Dunnfrom Van Buren
Brian Hardy from Prosper, Texas
Katie Lee from Bentonville
Frederick McCollum from Forrest City
Uyen Nguyen from Rogers
Emily Pitt from The Colony, Texas
Madison Sandig, from Plano, Texas
Margaret Steines from Frisco, Texas
Kendra Stokes from Siloam Springs
Bachelor of Science
Weston Barger from Conway
Douglas Bohlman from Russellville
Tobias Bothwell from Oklahoma City, Okla.
Emily Coats from Fort Smith
Christina Cook from Nacogdoches, Texas
Matthew Hartley from Edmond, Okla.
Matthew Lukac from Mountain Home
Adam Martin from Springdale
Trent Rogers from Bentonville
Master of Science in Mathematics
Muhenned Abdulsahib from Fayetteville
Majed Almubark from Riyadh
Kathryn Blair from Lavaca
David Deville from North Little Rock
Jian Duan from Beijing
Raymond Walter from Mountain Home
Master of Science in Statistics
Chizuko Iwaki from Van Buren
Doctor of Philosophy
Shanda Fulmer from Hot Springs
Michael Tinker from Bentonville
Students Awarded NSF Graduate Fellowships
Two math majors and two students with math minors were among a dozen University of Arkansas students to receive Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation.
Each fellowship is worth $32,000 per year and can be renewed for up to three years. Along with the renewable stipend, each student's institution will receive $12,000 per year, bringing the total amount of funding awarded to these 12 students to more than $1.5 million.
Frederick McCollum of Forrest City is a senior Honors College student pursuing degrees in mathematics and computer science. He will attend graduate school at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences.
Trent Rogers of Bella Vista is a senior majoring in mathematics. He will attend graduate school at the University of Arkansas.
William Erwin of Washington, Arkansas, graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2012 as a chemical engineering major with minors in chemistry and mathematics. As an undergraduate, Erwin was an Honors College student. He is currently a graduate student at Vanderbilt University
Ross Liederbach of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a senior Honors College student majoring in electrical engineering with a minor in mathematics. He will attend graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Since 1952, the National Science Foundation has awarded the highly competitive Graduate Research Fellowship to more than 46,000 students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called STEM fields. The award recognizes not only academic excellence, but also the expected future contribution that each student's research will have to his or her field and to society at large.
Harriss Collaborates on Nano Paper
Clinical Assistant Professor Edmund Harriss collaborated with a team of international researchers outside the field of mathematics on research that appeared in the research journal ACS Nano, in a paper titled, "Quantitative Chemistry and the Discrete Geometry of Conformal Atom-Thin Crystals." Jan. 8.
Scientists studying graphene's properties are using a new mathematical framework to make extremely accurate characterizations of the two-dimensional material's shape.
Graphene, discovered in 2004, is a one-atom-thick sheet of graphite.
"The properties of two-dimensional materials depend on shape," said Salvador Barraza-Lopez, an assistant professor of physics at the University of Arkansas. "And this mathematical framework allows you to make extremely accurate characterizations of shape. This framework is a novel tool to understand shape in materials that behave as atom-thin membranes."
The mathematical framework being used is known as discrete differential geometry, which is the geometry of two-dimensional interlaced structures called meshes. When the nodes of the structure, or mesh points, correspond with atomic positions, discrete differential geometry provides direct information on the potential chemistry and on the electronic properties of two-dimensional materials, Barraza-Lopez said.
The application of discrete differential geometry to understand two-dimensional materials is an original interdisciplinary development, he said.
Graphene was once thought of as existing on a continuum - think of a smooth, continuous "blanket" - but the new mathematical framework allows the consideration of the blanket's "fibers," which provides an accurate understanding of the blanket's properties that complements the continuum perspective.
"Since two-dimensional materials can be easily visualized as meshes, we asked ourselves how these theories would look if you express them directly in terms of the positions of the atoms, bypassing entirely the common continuum approximation," Barraza-Lopez said. "These two papers provide our latest strides towards that direction."
This work appeared in a various news sources listed below
Math Major Gets Goldwater Honorable Mention
Jonathan Mishler, a junior honors student majoring in mathematics and physics, was one of three U of A students to receive an honorable mention for Barry Goldwater Scholarship for excellence in math, science and engineering.
Mishler plans to pursue a doctoral degree in physics with an emphasis in computational electrodynamics. He hopes to design and model new optical nanostructures and intends to pursue a research career in materials science at a prominent university. His research mentor is visiting assistant professor Joseph Herzog
Congress established the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education program in 1986 to honor former Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, and the first scholarships were awarded in 1988. The purpose of the program is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields. Goldwater Scholars are selected from a field of more than a thousand mathematics, science and engineering students, who must be nominated by their institutions. The first University of Arkansas student to receive a Goldwater was in mathematics in 1991. The university has had a total of 49 students receive the prestigious award.
39th Annual Spring Lecture Series
Mathematical Sciences hosts its 39th annual Spring Lecture Series. The principal speaker is Alexander Nagel of the University of Wisconsin who will deliver a series of five lectures on the topic of Multiparameter Geometry and Analysis.
Lectures on the topic by national and international researchers, as well as short talks by doctoral candidates and finishing graduate students will complement the conference. The lectures will take place over a three day period, Thursday, April 10 to Saturday, April 12 at the Reynolds Center, Room 202.
Also included in the series is a public lecture "Blown Away: What Knot to Do When Sailing," presented by Sir Randolph Bacon III, cousin-in-law to Colin Adams of Williams College, Thursday, April 10 at 7 p.m. in the Reynolds Center auditorium. A reception will follow.
The lectures are free and open to the public.
"We are very proud to have hosted such eminent speakers for nearly 39 years-this is a wonderful way to bring cutting edge mathematical researchers to Arkansas and showcase our programs here," Chaim Goodman-Strauss, department chair said.
The conference is being organized by mathematics faculty Phil Harrington and Andy Raich.
Since their inception in 1977, the Spring Lecture Series have grown into an ideal opportunity for specialists and young researchers to meet and exchange ideas about topics at the forefront of modern mathematics.
The Spring Lecture Series is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the University of Arkansas.
Book by Mathematics Professor Now Available in Japanese
The book "Dynamic linear models with R," co-authored by Mathematical Sciences professor Giovanni Petris, was originally published in 2009 and has become since its first appearance a popular textbook for advanced courses in the area of time series analysis and forecasting taught at universities around the world, including Asia, Europe, South and North America. The popularity of the book has induced the publisher to offer a Japanese translation, which has recently become available.
One of the strengths of the book is that all models and forecasting techniques described
in it are implemented in a software package written by Professor Petris in the open-source
environment R, and are therefore readily available for teaching or application purposes. Professor Petris' software has been praised in peer-reviewed journals and is considered by many to be the 'gold
standard' for time series analysis using dynamic linear models.
Undergraduate Research Published in Inquiry
The research of Raymond T. Walter under the direction of faculty mentor John Ryan was recently published in the Inquiry Undergraduate Research Journal.
Walters paper "Early Investigations in Conformal and Differential Geometry," provides a concise and complete explanation of a classical result of Liouville that every conformal map is a Möbius transform in Euclidean space of dimension at least three.
Volume 16 of the Inquiry Journal features the unique contributions of four undergraduate student authors and their faculty mentors. Their research and creative endeavors span diverse fields at the University of Arkansas, including architecture, biological sciences, horticulture and food sciences, and mathematics.
The Inquiry Journal was developed by the Teaching Academy of the University of Arkansas and is supported financially and conceptually by the offices of the provost and the vice provost for research and economic development. Inquiry provides a forum for sharing the research and creative endeavors of undergraduate students and their faculty mentors at the University of Arkansas.
Professors Lauded for Paper on Quantitative Reasoning and Course Innovation
Researchers create course model
Undergraduates today are confronted with a multitude of quantitative statements and arguments to process and understand through the media and Internet. Researchers Shannon W. Dingman and Bernard L. Madison of mathematical sciences were recently honored for their work in reforming the undergraduate curriculum by including study of quantitative literacy (QL) to help address this educational problem.
The two were awarded the 2008-2011 Steen Award by the Board of the National Numeracy Network (NNN) for their 2010 article "Quantitative Reasoning in the Contemporary World, 1: The Course and Its Challenge," which covers course development, pedagogy, student population served and assessment.
The award recognizes one of the most impactful articles from the first four volumes of the NNN journal, Numeracy as judged by the Awards Subcommittee of the NNN Board.
The article was selected for its engaging address of an important QL issue and a course that describes a clear model for quantitative reasoning in higher education. The overall quality of the paper, its effectiveness in promoting a significant numeracy theme, use of evidence-based research, possible impact on teaching and learning and relevance to larger societal issues impacted by QL were also considered.
"We are very proud of this recognition of Dr. Madison and Dr. Dingman, their national leadership in quantitative literacy and their ongoing development of innovative courses here at the University of Arkansas," said Chaim Goodman-Strauss, department chair.
The paper was the first of three that reviewed the experiences during the development of the course Mathematical Reasoning in a Quantitative World (MATH 2183). That course was the model used to develop the new course Quantitative Reasoning (MATH 1313), which is now part of the state minimum core and an alternative to College Algebra.
This spring, seven sections of Quantitative Reasoning (MATH 1313) are being offered compared to two sections last fall. The course is expected to grow significantly with a likely enrollment of approximately 1200 students per year.
Madison is especially pleased that the award comes for an article that describes a course that has been very successful and has been a model that others have looked at as they developed courses at their institutions.
"To me this is a very good example of combining scholarship in research with both teaching and curriculum development," Madison said.
The professors have been working together on quantitative literacy since Dingman joined the faculty in 2007. Madison began development of MATH 2183 in 2001 while on leave as a visiting mathematician at the Mathematical Association of America.
Dingman and Madison will receive the award during the 2014 Annual NNN meeting, October 10-12, at Carleton College.
Capogna Gets NSF CAREER Award
Luca Capogna is among ten faculty members in the Fulbright College to be honored with a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation.
The CAREER award is one of the highest honors given by the foundation to junior faculty members. Recipients are selected based on high-quality research and the integration of that research with education initiatives in the context of the university's mission.
The university has received 26 CAREER awards since the program's inception in 1992, and is currently home to 19 awardees.
Other Fulbright College faculty receiving the CAREER award include Ingrid Fritsch, Colin Heyes, Julie Stenken, Susanne Striegler and Feng Wang in chemistry and biochemistry, Greg Dumond in geosciences and Laurent Bellaiche, Lin Oliver, Jak Chakhalian and Paul Thibado in physics.
John Ryan appointed to Ph.D. Advisory Examining Committee in Australia
Professor John Ryan has been appointed external examiner for a mathematics Ph.D thesis at the University of Newcastle in NSW, Australia. In Australian universities, as in many other countries, a Ph.D. examining committee includes a faculty member from another university who is deemed to be an expert in the field of the thesis.
The duty of the external examiner, like the other members of the thesis examining committee, is to read the thesis and submit a report together with a recommendation. In this case the thesis was on quaternionic wavelets and Fourier transforms with applications to signal processing in three dimensions.
Ryan has previously served as an external examiner for mathematics at the University of Montreal, Canada, Monash University, Australia, the Technical University of Freiberg, Germany, the University of Macau, Macau and the University of Maryland, College Park.
Math Club 2013-2014 Officers
The Math Club has announced the officers for the 2013-2014.
President: Madison Sandig
Vice President: Josh Nunley
Treasurer: Haley Martin
4th Annual Celebration of Mind
A Celebration of Mind is a world-wide tribute to popular American writer Martin Gardner who paved the path for recreational mathematics. He excited generations in mathematics and magic, through puzzles, games and ideas by exposing the beauty, fun and power of mathematics in his long-running Scientific American column and many books
The 4th annual event hosted by the department of mathematical sciences in the Fulbright College engages and challenges students of all ages in the spirit of Gardner, linking activities, games and puzzles to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.
Students who participate in the mathematics-themed booths will be eligible to win prizes including math puzzles, backpacks and items donated by the department of athletics and local businesses. Information about University of Arkansas admissions, financial aid and scholarships, as well as the Honors College will be available.
The celebration will take place Saturday, November 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Verizon Ballroom of the Arkansas Student Union. Parking is available in the Union Station Parking Garage off Stadium Drive.
Junior high and high school students, parents/guardians and teachers are encouraged to attend. The event is free and open to the public.
Math Circle to Host Inaugural Meeting
The Fayetteville Math Circle will have its inaugural meeting, Saturday, November 2 at 2 p.m. at the Fayetteville Public Library. Our own Dr. Edmund Harriss will talk about the myriad ways of counting - all the way to 17. The interaction will be aimed at elementary aged children. Although it will be interesting to all.
The sessions will continue on the first Saturday of the month at 2pm at the Fayetteville Public Library. The schedule of topics and speakers will be posted to the Facebook http://www.facebook.com/fayettevillemathcircle
Follow us for updates and photos of the event!
Madison Appointed to U.S. National Commission
Bernard L. Madison, professor of mathematics, has accepted a second four-year appointment to the National Research Council's U.S. National Commission on Mathematics Instruction.
The purpose of the commission is to promote the advancement of mathematics education in the United States and throughout the world; and to effect appropriate U.S. participation in the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction through the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. adhering body of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction.
U.S. National Commission on Mathematics Instruction has nine appointed members and four ex-officio members and meets twice annually, one meeting is in conjunction with the annual conference of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Department Members attend AMS Annual Meeting
Several department members attended the 1093rd annual American Mathematical Society (AMS) meeting at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Andy Raich co-organized a special section on Several Complex Variables and CR Geometry, with Yuan Zhang of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
Spring Lecture Series - Department Hosts 38th Annual
Extension and Interpolation Extension
A series of five lectures by Charles Fefferman, Princeton University
Public Lecture "Cosmic Shadows & Extra Dimensions," by Dr. Arlie Petters, Duke University, Thursday, April 4 at 7 p.m. in the Reynolds Center Auditorium.
The University of Arkansas Spring Lecture series are conferences organized every spring by the Department of Mathematical Sciences of the University of Arkansas. Each conference is focused on a specific topic chosen among the current leading research areas in Mathematics; a principal lecturer delivers a short, five-lecture course and selects a number of specialists who are invited to give talks on subjects closely related to the topic of the conference. Short talks by young Ph.D.s and finishing graduate students are solicited to complement the conference. Each Lecture Series has grown into an ideal opportunity for specialists and young researchers to meet and exchange ideas about topics at the forefront of modern mathematics.
The Spring Lectures are usually sponsored by the NSF jointly with the University of Arkansas. The proceedings of several conferences have appeared in the series "University of Arkansas Lecture Notes in the Mathematical Sciences," published by John Wiley & Sons.
Math Club Hosts Pi Day
The Math Club will host Pi Day, Thursday, March 14, at 1:59 p.m. in SCEN 350.
The club will have pies from the Village Inn, a pi memorization contest, and chalking digits of pi on the Greek Theater. Why: completely irrational.
After the festivities on campus, the Math Club will volunteer at the Elementary School Math Night in Elkins, to show kids that math can be fun.
Department Hosts Redbud Geometry/Topology Conference
The department of mathematical sciences will host a Geometry/Topology Redbud Conference March 8-10. Topics include contact and sympletic manifolds and low-dimensional topology.
A special workshop aimed at local and regional graduate students will be Friday. Speakers for both the workshop and conference include world experts in the field.
The event is partially funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Ryan Gives Instruction to International Audience
Math Professor John Ryan will present six lectures at the 18th European Intensive Course on Complex Analysis and its Generalizations at the University of Aveiro, Portugal, in March.
Ryan will present on the topic of Dirac operators in analysis and geometry to an audience of graduate students and post doctorals. Participants will have 18 hours of lecture time and will be given a certificate upon completion of the course.
Researchers from across Europe and the United States will participate.
Removal of the Omnitruncated Dodecaplex model in Mullins Library
The time has come to remove the Omnitruncated Dodecaplex model in Mullins Library, and we need help! That thing is huge!
The model will be lowered from the east spiral staircase in Mullins Library starting at 10 am on Tuesday, November 27, and it will probably take most of the day to disassemble it. Please stop by and help out if you can---we'll be there!
As a bonus, we'll give away chunks of it, and plenty of loose pieces, so come claim your own ad hoc Zometool kit .
Why, you may ask, are we taking it down? So we can make another, even better model in the space next year!
Celebration of Mind event October 27
It was mathematics pursued not for importance or power but simply for beauty and fun that motivated author Martin Gardner to write the Mathematical Games column in Scientific American from 1956 to 1981. The Celebration of Mind is a worldwide tribute to Gardner, who broke stories on advances from the highest reaches of mathematics.
The department of mathematical sciences at the University of Arkansas will host a
Celebration of Mind event Saturday, Oct. 27, to engage and challenge students in the
spirit of Gardner, as well as demonstrate how the activities can be integrated into
the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.
"The goal of the Celebration of Mind event is to showcase the beauty of mathematics in addition to its real-world utility," event organizer Shannon Dingman said. "We hope to reach out to high school students who may have an interest in studying mathematics and working in a mathematics-related field to inform them of how they can prepare for college."
The annual event will take place in the Union Ballroom of the Arkansas Student Union from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Area high school juniors and seniors, their parents/guardians, and their mathematics teachers are encouraged to attend. Information about admissions, financial aid, scholarships and the Honors College will be available. The office of admissions will also give tours of the University of Arkansas campus.
Students who participate at mathematic-themed booths can win prizes including math puzzles, gifts from local businesses and University of Arkansas backpacks and athletic items.
Math Professor Makes Research Presentation in France
Mathematical sciences Professor John Ryan was a plenary speaker at the Applied Geometric Algebras in Computer Science and Engineering conference at the University of La Rochelle, La Rochelle, France, July 2-4.
He presented "A Seminar on Clifford Analysis," at the conference which explored algebraic techniques for geometrical problems and the relationships between them. The international conference was the 5th in a series that brings together researchers from different disciplines within mathematics, physics, engineering and computer science.
Ryan is one of three faculty representing institutions in the United States on the conference international advisory board.
Center for Statistical Research and Consulting hosts Workshop on Statistical Analysis Software R
The Center for Statistical Research and Consulting will host a workshop on the statistical
software R, Saturday, April 21.
R is a statistical computing environment and is one of the most widely used packages for statistical analysis in industry and academia. R is a free and open source software developed worldwide by a team of leading experts in statistical computing.
This workshop is an introduction to the statistical computing environment and will guide participants through the fundamentals of R, from data manipulation, to graphics and exploratory data analysis tools, to the more advanced statistical techniques of linear models and analysis of variance. Participants will gain the competence and confidence to further explore the many tools that R and its contributed packages provide and find those best suited for specific applications.
Mathematical Sciences Professor Giovanni Petris will conduct the workshop. Petris has experience teaching courses and tutorials on R to diverse audiences both in the U.S. and abroad. He has published a book on the topic Dynamic Linear Models with R, and has contributed several add-on packages to the Comprehensive R Archive Network.
Lanzani Named Outstanding Alumnus at Purdue
The College of Science of Purdue University selected Loredana Lanzani as the 2011 Outstanding Mathematics Alumna. The Outstanding Alumni Award honors an alumnus for their contributions and leadership within their profession.
Lanzani joined the University of Arkansas faculty in 1997 and is a rotating program director in the Division of Mathematical Sciences of the National Science Foundation through 2013.
Math Factor Celebrates Eighth Year as a Featured Podcast on NSF Science 360
The Math Factor podcast, with Chaim Goodman-Strauss and KUAF host Kyle Kellams celebrates its eighth year as a featured podcast on the National Science Foundation's Science 360 site.
NSF Grant to Shape Algebra and Precalculus Instruction
The National Science Foundation has awarded $525,000 to support a three-year project directed by mathematics professor Bernard L. Madison.
The project, Using Research to Shape Instruction and Placement in Algebra and Precalculus, is a cooperative effort of researchers at several universities and the Mathematical Association of America.
Madison will work closely with his leadership team, co-principal investigator Marilyn Carlson of Arizona State University, co-principal investigator Caren Diefenderfer of Hollins University, and the incoming executive director of the Mathematical Association of America, Michael Pearson, who will serve as project manager and principal investigator for the association.
Recent research results in undergraduate mathematics education have revealed critical understandings that students need to succeed in algebra, precalculus, and calculus. Over the past three years these results were utilized to produce a new research-based placement examination for calculus, called the Calculus Concept Readiness test. The content of this examination, part of the Mathematics Association of America's placement testing suite that is marketed and delivered by Maplesoft, will be explained and disseminated during the project to make precalculus instruction more effective.
In addition, the project will produce an examination analogous to the Calculus Readiness test, but aimed at readiness for algebra and precalculus. This instrument, too, will be explained and disseminated to improve algebra and precalculus instruction at both high school and college.
Since 2008 Madison has served as director of the MAA/Maplesoft placement testing suite and has written and spoken frequently on using research results to shape instruction and placement.
Recent Honors College Graduate Gives Lecture at International Conference
New alumnus Stuart Shirrell presented the results of his honors thesis at the 9th International Conference on Clifford Algebras and their Applications at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany, July 15-20.
Stuart gave a very enthusiastically received 25-minute talk "Representation-Theoretic Aspects of Hermitian Clifford Analysis." This was based on original results that he obtained in his honors thesis and developed under the supervision of John Ryan.
Professor Ryan also presented a 25-minute talk at this conference.
Lanzani to Present Lecture Series at International Conference
Mathematics Professor Loredana Lanzani will present a series of four lectures at the ''International Workshop on Partial Differential Equations and Several Complex Variables'' in Serra Negra (Brazil) August 1-5, 2011. This event is sponsored jointly by the National Science Foundation and the Brazilian Mathematical Society, and will feature mathematicians, post-docs and mathematics graduate students from the Brazil, Europe and the US. Among the participants are UofA graduate student Caleb Bahr and UofA Ph.D. students Belen Espinosa and Jeanine Myers.
New NSF Award for Capogna's Research
Professor Luca Capogna has been awarded $171,773 from the National Science Foundation for his research on quasiconformal mappings and nonlinear partial differential equations.
Capogna's research has been funded by the National Science Foundation since 1997 through several awards.
For more details, please see National Science Foundation website
International Journal Highlights Schein Research
Aequationes Mathematicae, an international mathematical journal published in Basel, Switzerland, devoted the first 30 pages of its first issue for 2011 to biography and research of Distinguished Professor Boris M. Schein. The article is written by three former Ph.D. students of Schein who are now professors of mathematics in three different countries.
Professor Named Distinguished Reviewer
The president of the European Mathematical Society and editor-in-chief of Zentralblatt fur Mathematik und ihre Grenzgebiete, the oldest mathematical reviewing journal in the world, on the occasion of the journal's 150th anniversary, awarded Boris M. Schein, Distinguished Professor from department of mathematical sciences at the University of Arkansas, with the rank of Distinguished Reviewer, one of only a few in the world.
Professor Capogna receives NSF award, editorship
Professor Luca Capogna's research proposal "Topics in Quasiconformal Mapping and in PDE" has been awarded a grant of $171,773 from the National Science Foundation. He has also been named Associate Editor of the journal "Le Matematiche".
Professor Schein is Distinguished Reviewer of Zentralblatt
Professor Boris Schein was awarded by the Zentrslblatt with the rank of "Distinguished Reviewer." In these respect, the University of Arkansas has too peers. There are two other Distinguished Reviewers in the US: at Yale and Rice Univerities. At the same time Dr. Schein received a certificate of gratitude for his long and distinguished service from the President of the European Mathematical Society.
Professor Ryan Named to Editorial Board
John Ryan, professor of mathematics, has recently been appointed to the editorial board of the international mathematics journal "Complex Analysis and Operator Theory." This journal is published by Birkhauser Verlag, a publisher with offices in Boston, Basel and elsewhere.
Visiting Professor Harriss Featured on Inside Higher Ed's Academic Minute
Visiting Assistant Professor Edmund Harriss was featured on Inside Higher Ed's Academic Minute, discussing surprising connections between the ancient study of Tilings and Patterns and the foundations of logic itself.
Grad Student Wins Research Poster Competition
Statistics graduate student Ki Matlock won the graduate research poster competition in the Fourth Annual Graduate Student Research Symposium & Career Networking Event, sponsored by the Office of the Provost, for her poster "Spatial Dependency and Contextual Effects on Arkansas School District Academic Performance".
This work is joint with Associate Professor Joon Jin Song of the Center for Statistics Research and Consulting in the Department of Mathematical Sciences.
Department and Math Club Build the Giant Omnitruncated Dodecaplex at Zome Day
Students and enthusiasts will build the giant Omnitruncated Dodecaplex - the largest such model in the world November 18 in Mullins Library
The Math Club, the department of Mathematical Sciences, the University Libraries and Zometool, Inc. will host the fourth Zome Day at Mullins Library Thursday, Nov. 18.
Volunteers will assemble at the east entrance under the spiral staircase in Mullins at 10 a.m. and work on the behemoth and complicated omnitruncated dodecaplex model throughout the day.
This year's model will be the largest omnitruncated dodecaplex model ever created, and only the third attempt in the world. When completed, the omnitruncated dodecaplex will be a sphere about 10 feet in diameter (roughly the size of the Peace Fountain), with 21,360 pieces of Zometools, a specialized building system of color-coded and shape-coded parts for creating models in geometry, science, or art. On site for the construction will be Paul Hidebrandt, president of Zometools, Inc.
The Zometools system was developed to stimulate an awareness and understanding within the global community of the human relationship with the natural and mathematical world, as well as an appreciation for the uniqueness and beauty of nature as expressed in geometry through the use of the sixty-one zone structural system.
After completion, the model will be suspended in the spiral staircase in Mullins, which is scheduled at 6 p.m.
This will take all day- we'll need your help so come early!
Department has record-high presence at Prairie Analysis Seminar
Three faculty members and six mathematics graduate students participated in the Tenth Prairie Analysis Seminar, which that took place at the University of Kansas (Lawrence) October 29-30, 2010.
The department contingent was the largest group of participants from a single institution
throughout the conference 10-years history.
Attending were: graduate students Caleb Bahr, Belen Espinosa, Chizuko Iwaki, Junxia Li , Jeanine Myers, Jennifer Paulk, Assistant Professor Phillip Harringon, Professor Loredana Lanzani and Professor John Ryan.
Professor Lanzani was one of the two invited senior speakers and Junxia Li gave a contributed talk.
Chair bares (almost) all at Gardner's 2010 Math Fest
As part of world-wide celebrations of Martin Gardner's life and work, October 21 the& two mathematics student organizations AWSM and the Math Club gathered with math enthusiasts from the university campus and the community at large for an afternoon of mind-boggling math games
Department Chair, Goodman-Strauss, kicked off the event by performing one of Gardner's
favorite party tricks: a topological game that involves tying-up one's feet, taking
off one's pants and then putting them back inside out, while keeping the feet bound.
Professor Goodman-Strauss successfully removed his pants to reveal flaming Razorback shorts. While he was less successful at putting the pants back on, this only increased the entertainment value of the performance.
Math major Sierra Haury is the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement Student of the Week
Sierra Haury is the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement Student of the Week Student of the Week for October 10-16.
Haury is from Farmington, AR, and is majoring in math.
Haury is very active in the math club and in community service. For the past two years, she has participated in the departmental volunteer math tutoring program where she and her colleagues go to local secondary schools to help under-performing math students. First, she was required to participate in a math tutor training program offered by the ELC. Second, she spent time at the high school learning specific teaching techniques by shadowing teachers and discussing their pedagogical approach afterwards. Then, she worked with several struggling math students both at Fayetteville High School and at Haas Hall Academy Jr. High School to help them become successful. In a time when the number of women working in mathematics and science in the U.S. is at an all time low, students like Haury provide a shining example to their peers by showing that mathematics is not the province of men only but that women can make immense contributions as well.
She values the ability to step up when others are afraid or unwilling as an important quality for being a leader. "Don't be afraid to step up. People sometimes don't want to be in charge because they're afraid of making mistakes. It's o.k. to make mistakes as long as you take responsibility for them and take action to correct them," she said.
Her favorite Razorback moment is when she went out to the Greek Theater with her math club and wrote out pi to 3,145 digits for the Pi Day. Her favorite quote is "Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think."
Undergraduate Earns "First" at Cambridge
Last academic year math major Stuart Shirrell did part 2, final year, courses at the University of Cambridge, UK. He attained a first class degree. This is the highest degree awarded to students at Cambridge. He took courses in Galois theory, algebraic geometry, Riemann surfaces, probability and measure, representation theory, differential geometry, linear analysis, algebraic topology and number fields. He also attended a part 3, Masters level, course on the Atiyah-Singer Index Theorem. Currently Stuart is presenting to the department a twice weekly seminar on this theorem.
Cristina Caputo Joins Faculty
Dr. Cristina Caputo joins the department as our newest assistant professor, most recently
having been a post-doc at UT Austin. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the
University of Baria and her Ph.D. from Columbia University. In the spring, she will
be on leave at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, California.
Her research area is in the study of partial differential equations.
Professor Gives Invited Lecture in Rome
Professor John Ryan presented a fifty-minute invited talk on Rarita-Schwinger type operators at a workshop on quaternionic type structures at the Instituto Nazionale di alte Matematica, Universite di Roma in Rome, Italy, the week of September 17.
Ryan Receives Fulbright College Master Researcher Award
Professor John Ryan received the Fulbright College Master Researcher Award for his deep contributions to the field of Clifford Analysis. This follows his being awarded the higher doctoral degree of Doctor of Science by the University of York, UK in 2008, where Ryan was assessed on fifty of his publications.
Researcher Wins $125,000 Grant from National Science Foundation
Professor Loredana Lanzani won a $125,000 individual research grant from the National Science Foundation to support her ongoing research in harmonic analysis and several complex variables. This grant is a continuation of a research program that has been continuously supported by the NSF since 2001.
In her field, the NSF funds only about 20 applications nationwide of the roughly 100 grants submitted each year.
Lanzani and her collaborators will explore a number of fundamental questions in the area of several complex variables and partial differential equations. Lanzani will develop new techniques that hinge upon an interplay of complex analysis and harmonic analysis.
Several complex variables, harmonic analysis and partial differential equations are major branches of mathematics. They are of paramount importance in pure and applied sciences and have vastly contributed to our present-day understanding of such basic phenomena as heat transfer and celestial mechanics.
Math Professor Solves 25-year-old Computer Science Riddle
Yo'av Rieck, associate professor of mathematics at the University of Arkansas, recently solved a 25-year-old question about computer networks. The research is joint work with Yasushi Yamashita of Japan and will appear in the European Journal of Combinatorics.
This research concerns modeling networks using a particularly simple type of networks, called planar networks. Such models can provide simple and fast algorithms for problems such as searching and routing. However, about 25 years ago Mike Fellows (then of the University of California at San Diego) conjectured that such models almost never exists. Rieck and Yamashita disproved this conjecture by constructing a model for networks that were previously believed not to have such models.
Math Professors Awarded Research Grants
Three faculty members of the department of mathematical sciences at the University of Arkansas have been awarded individual research grants. Andrew Raich, assistant professor, who joined the department in the fall of 2008, was funded by the National Science Foundation for "Heat Equations, Boundary Operators and CR Geometry in Complex Analysis." The National Institute of Health is providing a salary to assistant professor Junhee Han, who also arrived last fall, and Dr. Phillip Harrington, who will be joining the department in August, which will be funded by the NSF for "The Cauchy-Riemann Complex on Non-Smooth Domains".
Other National Science Foundation grantees in the department include Professor Loredana Lanzani, funded for the period 2001-2010, through the grants DMS 0700815 and DMS 0101212) and professor Luca Capogna, funded until 2011 through the grant DMS 0800522. Professors Lanzani and Capogna also are PI and coPi for the grants DMS 0751330, DMS0100599 and DMS 0070592 related to the funding of the Spring Lecture Series in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2008 and 2009.