Summer 2014 faculty presentations

While the Department remains very busy with summer classes, summer is also a time for many faculty and students to focus on research and to travel to collaborate and present their work in nationally and internationally recognized venues.

Idris Assani co-directed a summer school on Ergodic Theory and Dynamical Systems in M’bour, Senegal, June 4-14.

Joe Cima gave an invited talk at the Seventh Conference on Function Spaces at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, May 20-24.

Ellen Eischen gave invited talks in the conference p-adic Variation in Number Theory at Boston University, June 2-6, and in the Caltech Number Theory Seminar. She has also been invited to participate in the Algebraische Zahlentheorie workshop at the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach, Germany, and the Connections for Women: New Geometric Methods in Number Theory and Automorphic Forms workshop at MSRI.

Jingfang Huang co-organized the workshop Mathematics in Action: Modeling and analysis in molecular biology and electrophysiology in Suzhou, China, June 2-5. Huang will also give an invited talk at the Beijing Computational Science Research Center (CSRC).

Shrawan Kumar is giving a invited series of four lectures at the University of Pisa, Italy on “The saturated tensor product problem,” June 24-27.

Jeremy Marzuola co-organized a week-long workshop in May on Dynamics in Geometric Dispersive Equations and the Effects of Trapping, Scattering and Weak Turbulence at the Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery. Marzuola was also an invited speaker at the Stability of Solitary Waves Workshop at the Centro di Ricerca Matematica Ennio De Giorgi in Pisa, Italy. He then visited the Hausdorff Research Institute for Mathematics in Bonn, Germany to speak in a workshop and participate in their trimester on harmonic analysis and PDEs.

Jason Metcalfe spoke at the same Banff workshop in May on Dynamics in Geometric Dispersive Equations and the Effects of Trapping, Scattering and Weak Turbulence and gave a pair of invited seminar talks at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.

Laura Miller and a number of her group members are off to Osaka, Japan for the Joint Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Mathematical Biology and the Society for Mathematical Biology, July 28 to August 1, where Miller will give one of the invited plenary talks.

Karl Petersen’s passport has been busy, between a conference on Ergodic Theory and Dynamical Systems in Torun, Poland, and talks that he gave in Tartu, Estonia and Rouen, France. Petersen will also give a mini-courses lecture series at the 4th Pingree Park Dynamics Workshop: Foundations and Frontiers in Symbolic Dynamics, July 14-17 in Colorado.

In similarly country-hopping travel style, Justin Sawon has given talks at the Lorentz Center in Leiden, Netherlands, and at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands, and has others scheduled at the University of Waterloo, Canada, and as an invited speaker at the 9th Pacific Rim Conference on Complex Geometry, July 27 to August 1, in Gunsan, South Korea.

Sasha Varchenko will be one of the invited speakers at New Trends in Quantum Integrability, an International Conference on New Trends in Quantum Groups and Integrable Systems, August 18-22, at University of Surrey, UK.

Carolina Mathematics will also be well represented at the the 2014 SIAM Annual Meeting, held this year in Chicago. Greg Forest will speak in a session on Nonlinear Fluids. Jeremy Marzuola and Laura Miller are both speaking in a session organized by Miller on Plant and Protist Biomechanics. Sorin Mitran is presenting in a session on Mesoscale and Nonlocal Models of Materials with Microstructure. And new faculty arrival Katie Newhall is speaking on “Dynamics of Ferromagnets” in a session on Applications in Nonlinear Dynamics with Chaos, Stochasticity, and Multiple Scales.

Carolina Math Club

A student-led undergraduate math club was recently started by freshmen Anya Katsevich (President), David Spencer (Vice President), and several other students. So far the club has hosted mathematical talks by both Prof Karl Petersen and by undergraduate David Yavenditti. The club has also organized a panel discussion on summer opportunities for math majors, including REU programs, summer research with a professor, study abroad, and summer internships with companies. Current and former undergraduates shared their experiences of these different opportunities, and a representative from the Study Abroad Office was on hand to answer questions.

The club is planning more activities for the spring semester. For more information, see the club on Facebook and Student Life.

Thanks to Justin Sawon for serving as the faculty advisor, with additional help from Linda Green.

Faculty deliver invited lectures at conferences and summer schools – Part 2

Continuing our previous discussion about lectures given by Carolina Mathematics faculty at workshops and conferences this summer, today we highlight those activities from the second half of Summer 2013.

Joe Cima will be giving a one hour invited address at the conference “Invariant Subspaces of the Shift Operator” sponsored by the Canadian government at the Centre de Recherches Mathematiques in Montreal. He will also give a shorter talk at the CBMS conference at Clemson University.

Both Hans Christianson and Jeremy Marzuola spoke at the Joint International Meeting of the American Mathematical Society and the Romanian Mathematical Society, held in Alba Iulia, Romania.

Chris Jones has had a particularly eventful past month, first as a co-organizer of the INDAM Workshop on “Mathematical Paradigms of Climate Science” in Rome, Italy, a plenary lecture given at the First Annual CliMathNet Conference, held in Exeter, UK, and finally as an organizer of the Idealab on Tipping Points in the Climate System held at the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics at Brown University.

Peter Mucha gave an invited talk on “Time-dependent generalizations of hub and authority scores” at the Workshop on Time-Dependent and Multiplex Networks at the University of Oxford.

Karl Petersen will speak in the special session on Symbolic Dynamics at the Mathematical Congress of the Americas in Guanajuato, Mexico.

Alexander Varchenko will present a series of three lectures on “Bethe algebras and geometric Langlands correspondence” at the GEOQUANT 2013 ESI School and Conference on Geometry and Quantization in Vienna, Austria.

Jon Wahl was one of the 9 invited speakers at the conference “A Singular Life“, honoring and marking the retirement of Eduard Looijenga with “a celebration of his achievements and influence in Dutch and International mathematics” in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Congratulations to all.

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.”

Faculty deliver invited lectures at conferences and summer schools

Summer for Carolina Mathematics includes a variety of courses taught in our summer sessions, many faculty busy working on their sponsored research, and an enhanced opportunity to travel to workshops and conferences to give lectures and meet with fellow mathematicians for collaborative activities.

Ivan Cherednik gave an invited lecture last month in the representation theory seminar at the Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu-Paris Rive Gauche. He is giving a similar lecture as one of four invited speakers on June 24th at the Institute Henri Poincaré.

Hans Christianson will speak later this month at the conference on “Quantum chaos, resonances and semi-classical measures” in Roscoff, France.

Jingfang Huang was a plenary speaker last week at The 1st Chongqing Workshop on Computational and Applied Mathematics.

Chris Jones gave one of the plenary lectures at the First Central Region Conference on Numerical Analysis and Dynamical Systems, held last month at the University of Kansas. He then gave a public lecture colloquium on ”Climate Change: the Science and the Math” at the University of Missouri and an invited lecture at a conference on “Topological Methods in Differential Equations and Nonautonomous Flows” in Florence, Italy. This week, he is one of the keynote speakers at the “Workshop on slow-fast dynamics: theory, numerics, application to life and earth sciences” in Barcelona.

Robert Lipshitz spoke last month at the “Low Dimensional Topology” workshop at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics.

Jeremy Marzuola is presently giving a topics course at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology on Nonlinear Waves this summer, with 8 lectures spread over 7 weeks on nonlinear bound states and their stability properties in the context of the Schrodinger equation. He will then speak later this month at the conference on “Quantum chaos, resonances and semi-classical measures” in Roscoff, France.

Laura Miller was an invited session plenary speaker at the symposium on “Microscale Interactions in Aquatic Environments” held at Les Houches Physics School in March. In recognition of her excellent interdisciplinary teaching, Miller has also been tapped to teach the mathematics “bridge” course this summer to the first cohort of incoming Chancellor’s Science Scholars.

Peter Mucha gave five lectures as one of the four keynote speakers at the Summer School on Network Science held last month at the Interdisciplinary Mathematics Institute at the University of South Carolina.

Karl Petersen gave an invited seminar talk last month at Ohio State. This week, he is attending the Automata Theory and Symbolic Dynamics Workshop at the University of British Columbia, where graduate student Kathleen Carroll will be talking about their joint work on symbolic dynamics (as part of her master’s project).

Lev Rozansky was an invited speaker at the conference on “Quantum Topology and Hyperbolic Geometry” held in Nha Trang, Vietnam last month.

Michael Taylor was an invited speaker at the “Analysis, Complex Geometry, and Mathematical Physics” conference at Columbia University last month.

Alexander Varchenko is one of the plenary speakers next week at the 21st International Conference on Integrable Systems and Quantum Symmetries in Prague. Later this month, he is also an invited speaker at the “Experimental and Theoretical Methods in Algebra, Geometry and Topology” conference in Romania.

Jon Wahl gave a mini-course series of 4 invited lectures at the conference “Geometry and Topology of Complex Singularities” in April 15-19, at CIRM, Luminy, near Marseille.

The above only covers the first half of this summer. We will come back to this topic again next month to discuss the faculty presentations scheduled for the second half of the summer. In the meantime, best wishes for pleasant travels to all involved.

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.