New grants in the Department

Before too much of the Fall semester gets behind us, it is past time for an update on new grants awarded to faculty in the Department of Mathematics. Faculty continued to do well with new awards in the first half of 2013, with budget uncertainties at the federal level pushing the start dates of some awards into the second half of the calendar year. The good news in newly-started grants over the past nine months includes the following awards:

The above represents only the newly awarded grants that started in this period, adding to the many previously-awarded grants that continue. Congratulations to all involved for the excellent work and important recognition.

Hawkins serving as an NSF Program Director

photo-2Professor Jane Hawkins is spending an exciting year at the National Science Foundation (NSF), located just outside Washington D.C.

Created in 1950 by an act of Congress, the NSF is an independent federal agency “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…” [About the National Science Foundation]. In promoting basic scientific research in the United States, the NSF is the major source of funding for academic mathematical research.

Hawkins is a Program Director holding what is known as a “rotator position,” meaning she is on loan to the NSF from Carolina. She is one of a group of 8 mathematicians and statisticians hired this year as rotators in the mathematical sciences, each chosen for their specific area of expertise. In her role as Analysis Program Director, Hawkins will receive proposals for mathematical research in a variety of topics, assemble panels of experts for advice on the quality and feasibility of the proposed projects, and work with the NSF team to decide which proposals get funded. By using experts from universities as program directors, the NSF is able to keep the flow of innovative research ideas fresh and up to date.

There are many Carolina Mathematics faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates who have benefited from NSF grants coming into the department through awards made to our faculty members. NSF has provided funds for a variety of laboratories and classrooms that students have used in the Department and provided summer support for many graduate students and undergraduates. So it is wonderful for Carolina that Hawkins is able to participate in the inner workings of this important national program, and we are sure to benefit from her direct knowledge and experience at the NSF.

While we will miss having her here at Carolina during this experience, we wish Jane all of the best in this exciting endeavor.

Graduation 2013

Carolina Mathematics students from the Class of 2013

May 12th, 2013 was the perfect Chapel Hill day for a Carolina graduation and for our annual Department ceremony and reception in honor of our Carolina Mathematics graduates. At the event, held on the lawn in front of Phillips Hall, we recognized the accomplishments of 14 Ph.D. recipients, 4 Master of Science students, and 103 Bachelor’s degrees, along with additional department prizes and honors. As per our tradition, the ceremony included remarks from a member of the graduating class of undergraduates, delivered this year by Leah Rose Downey.


Undergraduate student services manager Susan Stedman and Director of Undergraduate Studies Professor Karl Petersen


Nathan Michael Vos and Shreyas Samir Tikare were each honored with the Archibald Henderson Mathematics Medal, given to the undergraduates judged by the Department to have demonstrated both a high degree of mathematical ability and the greatest promise of originality in the field.


Students receive their degrees and shake hands with assembled faculty


Marshall Ward Lochbaum was named as the recipient of the Alfred T. Brauer Prize, given to the undergraduate who is judged by the Department to have demonstrated the greatest ability and shown the greatest promise for achievement in the fields of algebra or number theory.


Graduate student degree recipients


Harold Reed Ogrosky and Andrea Nicholle Overbay were each awarded the J. Burton Linker Teaching Assistant Award, given by the Department to the graduate students who have shown the greatest effectiveness as a teacher of undergraduate mathematics courses.


Ned Linker (left), son of J. Burton Linker and co-benefactor of the Department’s J. Burton Linker Fund, with the J. Burton Linker Fellow and Professor Justin Sawon (right)



Ph.D. recipients at Saturday’s Hooding Ceremony at the Smith Center, with Professors Prakash Belkale, Jim Damon, Jane Hawkins, Justin Sawon and Shrawan Kumar


Carolina Dynamics Annual Meeting in Chapel Hill

The 11th annual meeting of Carolina Dynamics was held in Chapel Hill April 12-14, funded by an NSF grant led by Prof. Jane Hawkins, and with additional support from the Department of Mathematics, drawing a variety of speakers from across the nation. Though not a full conference in his honor, the meeting focused some of the talks on the topic of symbolic dynamics as a professional nod to the work and career of Prof. Karl Petersen, who is celebrating his 70th birthday in June, including a few of his former students, postdocs, and collaborators.

At least 12 conference participants appearing in the photo obtained degrees from Carolina, with at least 6 of them now full professors in Mathematics departments around the country.

Congratulations to both Jane and Karl for this wonderful workshop event.

Carolina represented at the Joint Mathematics Meetings

The 2013 Joint Mathematics Meetings of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the American Mathematical Society (AMS) are currently underway in San Diego, representing the 96th annual winter meeting of the MAA and the 119th annual meeting of the AMS.

Carolina Mathematics is well represented at the meetings through a number of presentations and posters. Presentations given by Carolina faculty include

Presentations by Carolina graduate students and recent alumni (with apologies that I likely missed some of our alumni) include

Congratulations to all involved. Importantly, many of the graduate students presenting talks and giving posters would not be able to attend the Joint Mathematics Meetings without the generous support of our Department’s donors, including funds specific to student travel and also the general Department gift fund. Thank you.

Thank you also to Professors Chris Jones and Jane Hawkins and their students for representing Carolina Mathematics at the Grad School Fair event this morning.

American Mathematical Society Fellows

The inaugural class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) were announced yesterday, November 1, 2012. The inaugural class of 1119 Fellows represents over 600 institutions, with excellent representation from Carolina Mathematics. Current faculty members named to this honor include

Additionally, two emeritus professors were named to this inaugural class of fellows:

The AMS press release describes the Fellows program:

The Fellows of the AMS designation recognizes members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication, and utilization of mathematics. Among the goals of the program are to create an enlarged class of mathematicians recognized by their peers as distinguished for their contributions to the profession and to honor excellence. Regarding the new Fellows of the AMS program and the Society, AMS President Eric M. Friedlander says, “The AMS is the world’s largest and most influential society dedicated to mathematical research, scholarship, and education. Recent advances in mathematics include solutions to age-old problems and key applications useful for society. The new AMS Fellows Program recognizes some of the most accomplished mathematicians — AMS members who have contributed to our understanding of deep and important mathematical questions, to applications throughout the scientific world, and to educational excellence.”

Being named as an AMS Fellow is a phenomenal recognition and career achievement for each of these faculty. Congratulations to each and every one of them.

2011-12 Recap: Jane Hawkins testifies before House Appropriations Subcommittee

Prof. Jane Hawkins, as Treasurer of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies on March 22, 2012 at a hearing regarding the fiscal year 2013 appropriations for the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The NSF is the only federal agency that supports research and education across all fields of science, engineering and mathematics. Hawkins’ testimony included a small sample of the many ways in which NSF support positively impacts our research work in the Department of Mathematics and, through those research activities, the training of undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral associates. But using just a few such examples, she demonstrates that trainees from one university are later involved in undergraduate and graduate education at other universities, in activities in federal agencies, and in entrepreneurial activities in the private sector.

Information about previous AMS testimony and a link to the full text of Hawkins’ testimony are available from the AMS.