Ken’s Khronicles – December 2013

I hadn’t expected to be writing this column up until last May, but here I am serving as chair of Mathematical Sciences again after a 14 year break. I had been chair for nine years, roughly coinciding with the Clinton administration. There are several news items to report, but first I’d like to reflect on what’s changed in 14 years.
  • The last time I was chair we were housed in Olsen, now we’re in Olney. With new buildings starting to pop up on campus, several departments, including us, could be moving again in the coming years.
  • Since my first ‘retirement’ as chair, we’ve seen the retirements of Professors Yin, Makovoz, Weinberg, Spiegel, Mueller, Winslow, Berkovits, Ruskai, and Samarov. We currently have seven tenured faculty and seven Instructors who have joined us since then.
  • When I left the chair’s position in the 20th century, we offered a two semester version of Calculus I, Calculus IA and Calculus IB. After trying ‘Preparation for Calculus’ for a few years, we now we have a new two semester version of Calculus I. Same name, but different catalog numbers. Everything is cyclic.
  • Scholarships: Toward the end of my first run as chair, Russ and Mary Bedell’s generosity had just brought us our first endowed scholarship. As you can see below, we’ve been fortunate to have two more endowed scholarships started since then and hope to be able to announce more in the future.
  • Finally, Tangents didn’t exist in 1999 – the first issue was in 2002. So now I will move to the present.
One of the main reasons why I agreed to take on the chair’s position is that Kiwi has agreed to help me out as associate chair. In addition, I’m getting lots of help from other members of the faculty and, of course, Cori Lee, our Administrative Assistant. I thank all of them for helping make my return reasonably smooth.
It’s helped that I’ve been able to divest some of the things I was doing. Steve Pennell has started his ‘chair’s retirement’ by taking over as coordinator of the Industrial Math PSM program. Also, I had been editing Tangents since 2002 and I’m glad to announce that Jim Propp has agreed to take over as editor.
Tibor Beke has returned to us after a year on sabbatical traveling through Europe and the States in 2012-13 and Ravi Montenegro has left us for a 2013-14 sabbatical to collaborate with researchers in Japan and New Zealand.
Math majors Olivia Demers and Mary Mersereau had been working with Shelley Rasmussen in doing research on the mathematics of weaving. They recently shared their enthusiasm for the subject with some children in a local summer camp.
In the past year, Industrial Mathematics PSM Students Isaac Duodu (Putnam Investments) and Lauren Edwards (Genscape) completed internships that gave them valuable experience to further their careers. Undergraduates Gifty Bado and Tyler Gilzinger spent their summers as Co-Op students at Putnam Investments. After completing a co-op position at Mercury Computer, recent B. S. graduate Owen Welch accepted a full-time position at Mercury. Krithika Manohar, who graduated last May, is in her first semester of the Applied Math doctoral program at the University of Washington.
Last May, we held our annual Awards Ceremony and Alumni Reception where we presented the following awards:
  • Outstanding Graduate Student: Nour Almansour
  • Shapiro Scholarship: Chris Leger
  • Bedell Scholarship: Tyler Gilzinger
  • Zamanakos Scholarships: David Campbell, Mary Mersereau and Kevin Southwick
  • Hall Prize: Kevin Cerritelli.
The 2014 awards ceremony will be held at the UML Inn and Conference Center on April 25 from 5:30 to 7:30. Alumni are always welcome to attend. It’s a great setting.