College of Arts and Sciences
on UK Mathematics
This year the department looked closely at its lower-division undergraduate teaching responsibilities. We have submitted a report on initiatives, such as strengthening MathExcel, reducing class size, and developing a mathematics tutoring and resource center. We believe that these initiatives will strengthen our undergraduate courses, and are moving ahead with the implementation of some of them.
This issue of our newsletter describes in more detail the highlights of the UK mathematics community during 1998-99 academic year. We hope you enjoy this newsletter. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at Peter Hislop, Department of mathematics, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506.
Peter Hislop, chair
MathExcel volunteers have racked up their ninth straight year of better grades in first year calculus. Since its start in 1990, MathExcel grades have always been higher than the regular class, often by more than one letter grade. MathExcel students gain their advantage from the MathExcel workshops (and not from superior natural ability—their math ACT scores are nearly the same as regular students).
MathExcel workshops facilitate collaborative study in small groups, and are designed to build a friendly and supportive community around the study of calculus. MathExcel students form durable bonds and stick together throughout their college careers. Each workshop is led by one of our TA’s, who is assisted by two paid undergraduates from last year’s MathExcel class.
Collaborative study has long term benefits. Recent data shows that MathExcel students graduate from UK at a higher rate than regular first-year calculus students: the classes of 1990, 1991, and 1992 have graduated at a rate 12 percentage points above their peers.
MathExcel alumni have been notably successful. This year Jimmy Glenn became UK’s Student Body President, the first African-American to do so. Two years ago his sister Kimberly, who was a MathExcel undergraduate assistant, ran for the same office.
The MathExcel model works in math at all levels, and equally well in science courses. UK has become a well-known national center for dissemination of the MathExcel model. It has been adapted at UK to ChemExcel, BioExcel, PhysExcel, and special summer programs for at-risk entering students. At Lexington Community College it has been adapted to a very successful program in Intermediate Algebra, which is serving as a model for more than 10 adaptations in other community colleges in Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, and Tennessee. Versions of MathExcel and ChemExcel are in operation at four-year schools in North Carolina, Nebraska, and Oregon.
Conference on financial mathematics. On October 2 and 3 of 1998, the departments of mathematics and statistics hosted a conference entitled "Stochastic Control with Partial Observations and Financial Models of Incomplete Markets" in honor of Professor EmeritusRay Rishel. The conference was supported in part by the National Science Foundation and the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications.
New departmental web page. The mathematics department expanded its web site during the past academic year. The address is http://www.ms.uky.edu/~math Visitors to the web site will find links to departmental news, the departmental directory and home pages for faculty members. Alumni are invited to follow the link for alumni and friends where they will find this newsletter and an opportunity to submit items for inclusion in future newsletters. Alumni of the graduate program are asked to submit information for departmental directory. This may be done at http://www.ms.uky.edu/~math/Alumni/alumni-info.html.
Mathematical Sciences Colloquium Series. This year marks the sixth year of the Mathematical Sciences Colloquium series, an interdisciplinary lecture series at the University of Kentucky. This series was initiated in 1993-1994 by Peter Perry and attracts outstanding scientists to speak about the mathematical sciences, broadly defined. This year's series featured lectures by Henry Fuchs, a computer scientist interested in developing three-dimensional displays for computers, and George Sell, a mathematician who spoke about dynamical systems and global climate modeling. In January of 1999, William Phillips, a Nobel laureate in physics, delivered a lecture on the physics of cooling matter to within a millionth of a degree of absolute zero. The final lecture was given by Hunter Peckham, a bio-medical engineer who spoke about the use of electrical stimulation to restore hand movement for patients with spinal cord injuries.
Information about the series may be found at http://www.ms.uky.edu/~mscc. The series is co-sponsored by the department of mathematics and a number of other departments across the campus.
Summer research program. In the summer of 1998 and again this summer, the department has hosted students in the Kentucky Young Summer Scientist Research Program for Undergraduate Minority, Women and Low-Income Students. This program is funded by the graduate school of the University of Kentucky. In 1998, Robert Molzon and Karen Mortensen led a program on mathematics and engineering in conjunction with the faculty in the College of Engineering. In the summer of 1999, Robert Molzon and Richard Stockbridge of UK’s statistics department will lead a program in mathematical finance.
Don Coleman received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1961 and came to the University of Kentucky after holding a position at Vanderbilt University. His research is in algebra and finite groups. At Kentucky, he was particularly active in the department's programs for students who are preparing to be mathematics teachers and in continuing education programs for mathematics teachers.
Henry Howard received his Ph.D. in 1958 from the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He held positions at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and the University of Maryland before coming to Kentucky in 1967. He served as the thesis director for 2 Ph.D. students. Henry’s area of research is ordinary differential equations and asymptotic expansions.
Visitors. Ruth Gornetspent the 1998—1999 academic year at Kentucky. Ruth is visiting from Texas Tech University, courtesy of a National Science Foundation POWRE fellowship (Professional Opportunities for Women in Research and Education). Ruth has been working with Peter Perry and taught a course in Lie groups and algebras this spring.
Steve Pagano, a recent graduate of Binghamton University has been teaching and working with the discrete mathematics group for the past year.
Promotions. Vassili Gorbounov will be promoted to Associate Professor this summer. Russell Brown and Jon Lee will be promoted to Professor, from Associate Professor. Vassili works in the area of algebraic topology. Russell Brown's specialty is partial differential equations and Jon Lee is interested in combinatorics and discrete optimization problems.
New hires. The department made two excellent hires this year, François Margot and Changyou Wang. Margot will join the combinatorics and discrete math group. He received his Ph.D. in operations research from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in 1994. He has held post-doctoral appointments at the University of British Columbia and Carnegie Mellon University and was an assistant professor at Michigan Technological University prior to accepting a position at the University of Kentucky. Wang's area of interest is geometrical analysis. He received his Ph.D. in 1996 from Rice University and was a Dickson instructor at the University of Chicago before going to Loyola University of Chicago. This spring Wang was awarded a Centennial Fellowship from the American Mathematical Society.
Vassili Gorbounov spent the 1998-1999 academic year on leave. He spent six months at the Max Planck Institut in Bonn, Germany, supported in part by a fellowship from the institute. Then, in the spring he visited the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Vassili's research is in homotopy theory, a part of algebraic topology. During his year on leave, he has learned a bit about mathematics arising in physics-specifically conformal field theory and topological gravity.
Jon Lee will spend three months in the summer of 1999 as an academic visitor to the optimization center in the mathematical sciences department at the IBM Thomas J. Watson research center in Yorktown Heights, New York. Jon is interested in the theoretical and applied aspects of discrete optimization. Discrete or combinatorial optimization problems arise in many practical planning problems such as scheduling for airlines, manufacturing logistics and integrated circuit design. During Jon's visit, he will work both on projects for IBM and continue his research program.
Peter Perry of the mathematics department will receive one of three University Research Professorships for the 1999-2000 academic year. This is a one-year appointment that allows Peter to concentrate on his research in inverse spectral problems on Riemannian manifolds. Perry's research is centered on the inverse problem of scattering theory. This problem originally arose in physics where one is interested in using the behavior of waves that are scattered at small scales (e.g. the size of an atom). Scattering theory helps us to make conclusions at scales that are too small to measure directly using measurements made at large scales. Perry's research extends these methods to questions in geometry. In geometrical scattering theory, one considers waves traveling along a curved surface or higher dimensional manifold and attempts to infer information about the geometry of the surface from the behavior of waves at infinity.
As part of his research year activities, Perry will organize a series of lectures entitled "Quantum mechanics, chaos and inverse spectral theory".
Don Coleman, who is retiring this year, will step down as faculty adviser of the math club. The student officers of the math club for the coming year will be Jenny Phillips, CalebCalcine, AlanChan and Darren Tapp.
John Maki, an undergraduate math major, was selected to receive an award for presenting one of the outstanding student talks at the Mathematical Association of America's MathFest in Toronto in the summer of 1998. John's paper was titled "Reinventing the wheel" and discussed how to find the roadbed that a square wheel would roll along while keeping the axle level. John went on to explore the same question for wheels of other shapes. John received an award of $150.00 that was made possible through a grant from the EXXON Education Foundation.
Graduates. This year the department congratulates 24 graduating mathematics majors. They are Ryan Flannery, Andrew N. Lampton, Daniel Gabhart, Vinh Phan, Charles Greenwell, Monica Simpson, Jarrett P. Greer, Winnie Tang, Damon L. Hood, William Thomas,Yoshiaki Ito, Michael Ward and Cateryn Kiernan.
The following students will receive their degree with honors. Stephanie Hill, David H. Pettit, Keith R. Kohrs, Myung-Sin Song, John Maki, Cara L. Sparks, Aaron Maschinot, Molly Stone, John M. Pearson, Jessica S. Weddle and Aaron Zerhusen. Two mathematics majors are new members of Phi Beta Kappa, John Maki and Aaron Zerhusen.
Bunyan awards. Each year, the department honors outstanding mathematics majors with a scholarship funded by a gift from Carolyn S. Bunyan. This year the honorees are Stephanie Getz, Charlotte Ochanine, and Karyn Rasche.
Sallie E. Pence awards. Laura Jones, Heather Lindauer, Chris Perkins, Kimberly Wood and Jennifer Wright were selected for the Sallie E. Pence awards. These awards are given to outstanding mathematics and mathematics education majors who are preparing to be school teachers.
Annual meeting of the AMS. A large contingent of Kentucky alumni met at the winter meeting of the American Mathematical Society in San Antonio. Among the events were a reception hosted by Brauch Fugate, Director of graduate studies and a dinner hosted by Joy Williams Lind, Ph.D. 1998. The reception provided Brauch a chance to meet with faculty from colleges and universities which provide us with graduate students. The dinner provided a chance for Kentucky alumni to visit and renew acquaintances. Look for us again at the January 2000 annual meeting in Washington, DC.
Graduates. Twelve students earned their masters degrees during the 1998-1999 year. They are Mary Bond, Anna Bogomolets, Shelley Cain, Stephanie Brewster, Leonard Hoffnung, Kyoungmi Kim, Amy Dempsey, Leigh Noble, Jakayla Robbins, Makhmud Sagandykov, Laura Spencer, Donna Sword, and Mary Jo Zervas.
The department awarded 6 Ph.D.'s during the past year. The graduates are listed below. The student's advisor and field are listed in parentheses.
Mark Fahey (Zhaojun Bai, numerical analysis) works at Nichols Research Group in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
John Kuchenbrod (Jon Lee, combinatorics) will be at Emory and Henry College in Emory, Virginia.
Jerry Muir (Ted Suffridge, complex analysis) will be at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Scott Simmons (Serge Ochanine, topology) is at Texas A & M International University in Laredo, Texas.
Colin Starr (David Leep, algebra) is at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas
Wendy Weber (Carl Lee, combinatorics) will be at Central College in Pella, Iowa.
NOTE to desktop publisher: Please insert Photo of connie near here. Then delete this note.
Royster Award. Each year, the department selects a graduate student who has excelled at teaching and research for the Wimberley Royster award. This year, the winner is Connie Fournelle who is a fourth year doctoral student. Connie is studying aperiodic tilings (such as the Penrose tiling) in two and three dimensions with Carl Lee. She has distinguished herself as an instructor at UK, including one year as a teaching assistant in the MathExcel calculus program. In the summer of 1999, she will work as a summer visitor at the National Security Agency.
Chancellor's awards for outstanding teaching. Carl Lutzer has been selected for one of the three Chancellor's Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards that are given each year. Carl is a doctoral student who is studying with Peter Hislop. This marks the third year in a row that one of our teaching assistants has been selected for this award. Two more members of the department were finalists for this award. Jim Brennan was one of five nominees for the Chancellor's award for outstanding teaching by a tenured faculty member and Mary Goodloe was a finalist for the award for teaching assistants.
Robert Bourn, MSOR 1988, is an engineer with Marathon Ashland Petroleum. His duties include supporting the company's economic planning models.
Rich Bowen, MA 1994, is working for DataBeam Corporation in Lexington, and is also operating his own Internet software company, RCBowen.com. Rich lives in Lexington with his wife Carol, and their daughter Sarah (http://www.rcbowen.com/sarah/).
T.C. Christopher, BS 1973, is visiting assistant professor of mathematics at Georgetown College and also works as a statistical consultant to East Kentucky Power Cooperative, Winchester.
Kathy Lewis, BS 1992, is finishing graduate studies in mathematics at Purdue University and will begin as an assistant professor at Morehead State University in the fall of 1999.
Roberto Paroni, Ph.D. 1998, is finishing a year of post-doctoral work at Carnegie Mellon University and will be at Oxford University for the 1999-2000 academic year.
Daphne Skipper is finishing graduate work in mathematics at UK this year and will work in the stochastic modeling group at US West Advanced Technologies in Denver, Colorado.
Stewart Tung, Ph.D. 1996, has moved to the Dallas area and is teaching at Dallas Baptist University.
Kirsten Dutschke Webb, MA 1994, was named "Outstanding Faculty Member" at Maysville Community College for the 1997-1998 academic year. She has recently moved with her husband to Belleville Area College in Belleville, Illinois.
Dan Wilson, Ph.D. 1998, is with US West Advanced Technologies in Denver, Colorado, in the optimization group.
Sally Witt, BS 1989, is a senior analyst in the market research
department at East Kentucky Power Cooperative.