Alexander Varchenko named Simons Fellow

Prof. Alexander (Sasha) Varchenko has been honored in the 2015 class of Simons Fellows in Mathematics, which provides “funds to faculty for up to a semester long research leave” with selection “based on the applicant’s scientific accomplishments in the five-year period preceding the application and on the potential scientific impact of the work to be done during the leave period.”

Sasha will use the leave provided by the Simons Fellows Program to spend the 2015-16 academic year working at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Bonn, Germany, where he plans to work on research projects in quantum integrable models, representation theory, special functions and combinatorics.

Sasha is the third Carolina Mathematics faculty member named to this honor, joining Jim Damon (2012) and Ivan Cherednik (2013).

Congratulations to Sasha for this wonderful and well-deserved honor.

Carolina Mathematics involved in first round of NIH BD2K awards

Congratulations to Prof. Greg Forest for his successful proposal to co-direct (with Michael Kosorok, Biostatistics) a new, multidisciplinary training Big Data to Knowledge training program funded by the National Institutes of Health. This award is one of only three awards in the inaugural set of BD2K institutional training grant awards, supporting “the overarching BD2K goal of training the biomedical workforce to fully utilize biomedical Big Data.” Kosorok and Forest have organized a program uniting 48 faculty members across 11 departments on campus, including multiple faculty involved from Mathematics, in order to provide trainees with six-week training modules that integrate informatics, statistics, and biomedical sciences, with a focus on big data.

Goodman recognized by top scholar-athlete

Carolina Mathematics Professor Sue Goodman appeared as an invited guest at the Scholar-Athlete Awards Luncheon held this week. Each of the Top 10 Scholar-Athletes—the five senior men and five senior women with the highest cumulative grade point averages—introduced a professor as a guest. Among the award winners, Alex Bales used his invitation to recognize Professor Goodman.

This recognition is just the latest in Sue’s career of accomplishments here at Carolina. With her retirement at the end of this academic year, we will clearly miss her as a colleague, and this latest award is just another piece of evidence about how much the students will miss her. Congratulations to Sue for this latest recognition.

Carolina Mathematics sophomore receives Goldwater Scholarship

Congratulations to sophomore mathematics major Anya Katsevich on her selection as a Goldwater Scholar!

Read more here…

Results from the 2014 Putnam competition

It was another strong year for Carolina Mathematics at the Putnam competition. Fifteen students from Carolina entered the competition, with scores led by sophomore David Spencer, who scored 47 (out of a maximum of 120 points), ranking him 99th out of 4,320 contestants. Other top scores from Carolina students include Michael Greenberg (41, ranked 130th), Marshall Lochbaum (28, ranked 466.5th), Annie Katsevich (22, ranked 623.5th) and Dayton Ellwanger (21, ranked 716th). Six other students from Carolina scored points (which in itself is always an accomplishment in this difficult competition, with more than a third of all entrants scoring 0).

The official campus team of Michael, Marshall and Annie—selected based on performances at the earlier Virginia Tech Regional Mathematics Contest—placed 17th out of 431 teams.

A special thank you to Prof. Justin Sawon for mentoring the team, and congratulations to all involved!

PDE/Analysis Mini-Schools Continue for 2015

minischools2015Congratulations to Professors Hans Christianson and Jason Metcalfe for their new grant from the National Science Foundation to support the continuation of the UNC PDE mini-schools into 2017. Continuing from the success of their previous mini-schools, each 2-3 day school will feature a series of 3-5 lectures by a principal speaker. The talks are tailored to an audience of graduate students and are intended to introduce the audience to a modern and important class of research problems. Three to five complementary talks will be given by additional invited participants, often the principal speaker’s graduate students, postdocs, or young collaborators.

The first UNC PDE/Analysis mini-school of 2015 starts this week with 5 lectures by Gunther Uhlmann (University of Washington), beginning at a graduate student level and introducing a current research topic. The title of this week’s lectures is “Inverse Problems: Seeing the Unseen.” There will be several satellite talks by Uhlmann’s students and postdocs. The full schedule is available online.

The second mini-school of 2015 will be held April 8-10, with Alex Ionescu (Princeton) on “Water Wave Models in 2D and 3D: Regularity and Formation of Singularities.” The third mini-school will be this summer, with Steve Zelditch (Northwestern) on “Planck’s Constant, Time, and Stationary States in Quantum Mechanics.”

Congratulations again to Hans and Jason for continuing to bring these great events to Chapel Hill.

Mathematics First-Year Seminar appears in campus video

Congratulations to Senior Lecturer Mark McCombs for appearing with some of his students in a new campus video highlighting the First-Year Seminar program. McCombs’ First-Year Seminar, MATH 58 “Mathematics, Art and the Human Experience” explores the relevance of mathematical ideas to art, music, film and literature, while also exploring how these fields in turn influence mathematical thought. More information about this course and other courses that McCombs teaches is available from his department web site.

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A brief story about the First-Year Seminar Program appears along with the embedded video on the website of the College of Arts & Sciences: http://college.unc.edu/2015/02/02/first-year-seminars/ .