Sawon wins NSF CAREER award

The latest National Science Foundation CAREER award winner from Carolina Mathematics is Professor Justin Sawon, who was named in the most recent round of the annual competition. As the NSF describes, “The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.”

Sawon’s award is titled CAREER: Finiteness for Hyperkahler Manifolds, for five years with a total budget of $450,000. With this award, Sawon aims to show that every hyperkähler manifold can be deformed to a Lagrangian fibration, a hyperkähler manifold admitting a holomorphic fibre space structure. He then plans to establish general finiteness results by refining his earlier results for Lagrangian fibrations. The ultimate goal is a more complete understanding of the possible topologies of hyperkähler manifolds, which have a number of applications in physics. The award will also support educational activities including graduate mini-schools in geometry and topology (following the successful model of our PDE group) and partially supporting a UNC-faculty-led summer study abroad for undergraduates in mathematics.

Sawon is the fifth Carolina Mathematics faculty to win a CAREER award while a member of the department—all within the past decade—joining Peter Mucha in 2007, Jason Metcalfe in 2011, Laura Miller in 2012, and Jeremy Marzuola in 2014. Additionally, our Department Chair, Rich McLaughlin, won a CAREER award at Utah in 1997 and brought the grant with him when he moved to Carolina.

Congratulations, Justin!

2015 Virginia Tech Regional Mathematics Contest

Congratulations to all of the Carolina Mathematics students who participated earlier this fall in the Virginia Tech Regional Mathematics Contest., the results for which have recently been posted. This year’s contest included 701 participants from 99 schools in 28 states. Many of our students performed well, with 13 out of 17 placing among the top half of all entrants. Leading the Carolina contingent’s scores were Jiaxi Li and Shengding Sun with 19 points, tying them for 54th place. Also among our top scores, Jon Aycock and Yixuan Zou scored 16 points, tying them for 80th, while Tyler Blanton and Alvin Zhang scored 10 points, including them in a giant tie for 100th place in the field.

Thank you to Professor Justin Sawon, who once again advised competing students.

Workshop on moduli and geometric invariant theory starts today

Prakash Belkale and Justin Sawon are organizing a workshop this weekend at UNC on New Developments in Moduli and Geometric Invariant Theory. The workshop includes 10 speakers from across the country speaking on Bridgeland stability conditions, moduli of stable complexes, and wall-crossing phenomena as tools for studying the birational geometry of moduli spaces of stable sheaves.

Support for the workshop is provided by the National Science Foundation under awards DMS-1446356 and DMS-1547117, the latter of which will continue to support workshops on topics in algebraic geometry and representation theory in 2016 and 2017.

Congratulations to Prakash and Justin and best wishes for a productive weekend.

New grants to department faculty

The past year has been another successful year for Carolina Mathematics faculty obtaining grants to support the activities of the department. In addition to the many awards that continue from previous periods, new grants over the past 12 months include the following awards:

Congratulations to everyone involved.

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!

2014 Virginia Tech Regional Mathematics Contest

The results from this year’s Virginia Tech Regional Mathematics Contest are now in, with a strong showing from UNC.

Overall, 111 colleges and universities from 28 states participated, with a total of 786 participants. Leading the UNC contingent in scoring, Michael Greenberg scored 43 points out of a maximum possible score of 70, tying him for 11th place in the competition. Other top scorers include Annie Katsevich (58th), Marshall Lochbaum (63rd), and Joshua Gray (108th). Congratulations also to Moshe Feldman, Tyler Blanton, David Clancy, David Spencer, Dayton Ellwanger, and Xiaoyin Liu for scoring above 0, putting them in the top 40% of contestants.

Special thanks to the math club faculty mentor, Justin Sawon, for organizing our students’ participation in this contest.

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.