Jiuzu Hong joins faculty

hongWe welcome our newest Carolina Mathematics faculty colleague, Jiuzu Hong, who joined the department starting January 1. Hong joins us from Yale University, where he was a Gibbs assistant professor during 2012-2015, and Tsinghua University, where he was a visitor for Fall 2015.

Hong grew up in China and received a B.S. and a M.S. in mathematics from there. He received his Ph.D in Mathematics from Tel Aviv University under the supervision of Professor Joseph Bernstein. Hong works on representation theory and its interaction with algebraic geometry. He is interested in looking into mathematics from the perspective of the underlying symmetries, and he is open to learning new areas of mathematics.

Outside of mathematics, Hong enjoys playing ping pong, swimming and hiking. He is enthusiastic about establishing a new life in Chapel Hill.

Summer faculty research travel

For many of our faculty, summer is a time of international travel to attend workshops and conduct research in other locations. As just a couple examples., we check in on the travels of our department chair, Rich McLaughlin.

IMG_1608In June, Rich traveled to Shanghai Jiao-Tong University as an organizer and invited lecturer at NYU Shanghai’s International Conference on Mathematics of Nonlinearity in Neural and Physical Science. Other invited speakers from Carolina included Roberto Camassa and co-organizer Greg Forest. Also attending the conference from Carolina, Katie Newhall is pictured here with our former Carolina colleague David Cai.

IMG_2006Later, Roberto and Rich traveled together to Tibet, where they met with four math professors from Tibet University, including one who works on understanding the geophysical processes associated with Nantso Lake, situated at over 15,000 feet above sea level. As a large, stratified, salt water lake, this site is of particular interest to Rich and Roberto’s research.

These two trips of course represent only a sample of the many far-ranging research travels of our faculty this summer.

Carolina Mathematics faculty Roberto Camassa and Rich McLaughlin at 17,600 feet above sea level in Tibet

Carolina Mathematics faculty Roberto Camassa and Rich McLaughlin at 17,600 feet above sea level in Tibet

Katie Newhall joins faculty

IMG_0084_w1Katie Newhall joined the faculty of the department starting July 1, after spending the past three years as a Courant Instructor at NYU. Prior to that, she earned a B.S. in Physics, an M.S. in Engineering and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her research interests lie in stochastic processes, with particular attention to understanding large-scale and long-time dynamics of physical and biological systems through analysis and simulations of simple yet physically relevant models.

This semester, Newhall is teaching Math 528 and hopes to encourage interest in applied mathematics by recruiting more students to participate in the undergraduate Mathematical Competition in Modeling taking place at the beginning of the spring semester.

In her free time, Newhall plays cello and would rather take a dance class or a hike than go to the gym. While a graduate student, she danced professionally with Maude Baum and Company in Albany, NY.

Nancy Rodriguez joins faculty

1910270_56478960009_2230_nNancy Rodriguez joined the Mathematics faculty on July 1, arriving from Stanford University where she was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow for the past three years. Previously, she received her Ph.D. from UCLA under the guidance of Prof. Andrea Bertozzi.

Rodriguez works on partial differential equations with applications in social, ecological, and biological systems. She is also very interested in increasing the diversity of mathematics and is currently helping organize a conference to promote Latinos in mathematics, Lat@Math.

Outside of mathematics she enjoys biking, mountaineering, skiing, and and pretty much anything that allows her to be outdoors.

Boyce Griffith joins faculty

Boyce Griffith joined the Department of Mathematics on July 1. Prior to coming to UNC, Griffith was a member of the faculty at New York University, where from 2008 to 2012 he was an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology in the Department of Medicine at NYU School of Medicine. From 2012 until he joined UNC in Summer 2014, he was Assistant Professor of Medicine and Mathematics, with a primary appointment in the Division of Cardiology and an affiliated appointment at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. He received a B.S. in Computer Science and a B.A. in Mathematics and in Computational and Applied Mathematics from Rice University in 2000, and he received a Ph.D. in Mathematics from New York University in 2005. During 2005-2006 he was a Courant Instructor in the Department of Mathematics at the Courant Institute, and from 2006-2008 he was an American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellow.

Griffith works on mathematical, numerical, and computational aspects of modeling and simulating cardiovascular physiology, including cardiac electrophysiology, mechanics, fluid dynamics, and their interaction. This work has been supported by the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. He also develops, releases, and maintains general-purpose modeling and simulation software to enable these research activities. This software has been used in a variety of distinct research efforts at UNC, NYU, and other institutions, including Chung-Ang University (South Korea), ETH Zurich, Montana State University, Northwestern University, Temple University, Tulane University, University of Cincinnati, University of Glasgow (UK), and University of Utah.

Griffith spends his spare time with his wife trying to keep up with their active 1-year old son.

Conference in honor of Eberlein’s 70th birthday

The Group Actions in Riemannian Geometry was held this weekend in Chapel Hill in honor of the career and contributions of Patrick Eberlein, who is retiring at the end of the just-completed academic year, after serving the department, the university, and the profession for many years. Among Pat’s many special contributions, he served as department chair for 10 years, as well as many other department administrative posts, through which he left an important mark on Carolina Mathematics. With talks over 4 days, the conference brought together both senior experts in the field as well as young mathematicians to study questions from, and related to, Riemannian geometry in the context of symmetry. The conference dinner on Saturday was well-attended by conference goers and additional department faculty honoring Pat and his career with a long round of formal toasts.

In the picture below, Pat gathers with five of the six Ph.D. students he has supervised during his career. From left to right: Michael Jablonski (University of Oklahoma), Rachelle DeCoste (Wheaton College), Pat Eberlein, Lisa Demeyer (Central Michigan University), Sven Leukert (SAP) and Maura Mast (University of Massachusetts Boston).


We are grateful to everyone who put together this wonderful conference, including but not limited to Jason Metcalfe for his local organization.

Faculty Spotlight: Karl Petersen

The Corollaries today celebrates the one year anniversary of its relaunch in an online format. In our first “Faculty Spotlight” installment in the new format, we celebrate the contributions of Professor Karl Petersen, who steps down this summer from a long stint as our Director of Undergraduate Studies.

After graduating with an A.B. in Mathematics from Princeton University, Karl earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Mathematics from Yale before joining the faculty here at Carolina in 1969. Working in several aspects of ergodic theory, especially those connected with analysis, probability, combinatorics, and information theory, Karl’s research was supported by federal grants for 18 years.  He has also held a variety of visiting faculty appointments internationally, including positions at the Erwin Schrödinger Institute in Vienna, multiple universities across France, and at the University of Chile. Karl says, “It’s great to get out and see colleagues in these places,” noting that such visits allow him to “get new ideas and make progress on these problems.”

Karl’s teaching at all levels and his mentoring of graduate students have both been recognized by awards from the university, including the James M. Johnston Teaching Excellence Award in 1992, and the First Doctoral Mentoring Award in 2006. He has directed 14 Ph.D. dissertations, 8 master’s projects, and 6 undergraduate honors projects, with two graduate students and two undergraduates working with him currently.

In addition to his research and teaching duties, Karl has been the long-standing Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department, serving 2005-2013 in addition to an earlier stint in the position and time served as Associate Chair. In these roles, he has had a strongly positive impact on the continued development of the department’s course offerings, including his contributions to redesigns of Math 110 and 130, the expansion of our use of Webassign in 100- and 200-level courses, and organizing our 2012-13 pilot offering of large sections of Math 118 connected with smaller recitation sections. Karl has also played a key role in our participation with the UNC-BEST teacher training program. Meanwhile, Karl has repeatedly championed our department’s Math Help Center, helping to make sure that it gets the resources needed to continue to effectively tutor students in our courses.

Karl has been the central guiding force participating in, prioritizing, and supervising these diverse activities for our undergraduate students and for prospective Carolina students as well. At the same time, Karl is always quick to recognize and emphasize the critical roles of other people, including, for example, undergraduate student services manager Susan Stedman; Lecturers Debra Etheridge, Mark McCombs, Buffie McLaughlin, Brenda Shryock, Miranda Thomas; and Professor Sue Goodman.

As Karl notes, “Math keeps getting more popular and the sciences keep growing. It’s amazing that we can keep going to meet these demands with small, smart adjustments.”