New Revelations in Nepal – Front Page News!

An interdisciplinary team of Carolina researchers recently returned to the Himalayas to continue studying the effects of climate change on Buddhist holy lakes. A major goal: To retrieve data from instruments they installed 15 months ago.

Read about Rich McLaughlin and Roberto Camassa’s trip to Nepal and the research they are conducting there!

Click here to read the full article.

Mark McCombs Featured in The Daily Tarheel

Mark McCombs, an exhibiting artist and professor in the Department of Mathematics, combines math, fractals and origami to create unique paper sculptures and 2D images. McCombs is restructuring the first-year seminar he teaches to reflect what he learned while exhibiting his art in Stockholm, Sweden last summer.

Staff writer Mary Mac Porter talked to McCombs about the similarities between literature and mathematics and how he’s combining numbers and art in unique ways to attract math-adverse students to the subject.

Read the entire article here.

Conference celebrating Alexander Varchenko’s 70th Birthday!

Representation Theory and Integrable Systems conference to celebrate Alexander Varchenko’s 70th birthday to take place August 12 – 16 in Zurich, Switzerland!
More information available here.

Mastering the art of math

Our very own, Mark McCombs, was featured in the University Gazette!

“I want to try to help people believe that math isn’t just numbers. Math is a way of interacting with your environment,” McCombs said.

When you take a look at Mark McCombs’ artwork, be sure to consider the mathematical equations behind them. The swirling pieces of paper and repeating designs in this mathematics teaching professor’s art is a study in mathematical symmetry. Math and art may appear to be at different ends of the educational spectrum, but to McCombs and his students, they couldn’t be more connected.

McCombs works mainly in modular origami, which consists of smaller paper shapes that can be combined to create one complete sculpture. He also uses the Ultra Fractal software application to produce fractal images, geometric shapes that contain infinitely many copies of themselves no matter how many times you zoom in.

Read the full article here.

Peter Mucha and Andrew Hinton Awarded Gilliam Fellowship

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has awarded grants to 44 doctoral adviser-student pairs to improve faculty mentoring skills, support new scientific leaders, and foster diversity and inclusion in science. A good scientific mentor can help students navigate different career paths and plug them into new networks. A mentor can be a sounding board and an advocate – and they can also make the experience of being a scientist more fun. Each fellow submitted a career statement describing how their personal experiences and training inform their science, and how they plan to make scientific culture more inclusive. Asai says the fellows all show promise as scientists. “The Gilliam program is aimed at people who will become leaders in science,” he says. “We’re trying to change the face of university faculty, so students see leaders of all different backgrounds.”

Peter Mucha and Andrew Hinton were 1 of 44 doctoral-student pairs awarded the Gilliam Fellowship. Along with a $50,000 annual award for up to three years for each adviser-student pair, advisers will participate in a year of mentor training focused on cultural awareness. Over the past four years, more than 130 advisers have taken part; activities include online training and two in-person workshops at HHMI headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Congratulations Peter and Andrew!

To read more, click here.

Well Said: Fighting for Women in Math

When Katrina Morgan explains to people that she studies math as a doctoral candidate in the College of Arts & Sciences, they often respond unfavorably, saying they just “aren’t a math person.”

“You wouldn’t just say, “Oh, I’m not a history person,’” Morgan said.

She argues that mathematics is a field where people decide whether they are or are not fit for the field very early in their academic careers. This is especially true for girls because there is less representation of women in mathematics, Morgan explained.

In 2016, Morgan, along with fellow doctoral student Francesca Bernardi, set out to change that by founding Girls Talk Math, which invites high school girls from North Carolina to UNC-Chapel Hill to participate in a two-week day camp that explores mathematical concepts.

On this week’s episode of Well Said, doctoral student Katrina Morgan discusses founding the Girls Talk Math summer camp and explains how the program has been giving local high school girls a new outlook on mathematics.

Listen to the entire episode here on the UNC Bold Moves website.

Elizabeth McLaughlin invited to China to share teaching strategies

One of our very own professors, Elizabeth McLaughlin, was invited to the International School Affiliated to Beijing Foreign Studies University to assist in the details of setting up our Friday Center Math 231 Self-Paced Course. The week involved instruction on navigating Sakai and WebAssign as well as sharing teaching strategies for active learning in the classroom. A successful beginning to an exciting collaboration!