The Department received the stunning news that professor Tim Chartier received a Sloan Fellowship. See the Research section below for more exciting details.
The Department congratulated professor Donna Molinek on her promotion to full professor this spring. This fall Donna will take over from Rich as chair. We also celebrated with professor Rob Whitton, who won the Most Valuable Professor award from the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Several students plan to begin graduate study in mathematics in the fall. Phillip Compeau won the College’s Smith Scholarship for a graduating senior pursuing postgraduate study abroad. The College’s tenth and the Department’s first Smith Scholar, Phillip will use the award to pursue the famous Certificate of Advanced Study in Mathematics (Tripos Part III) at Cambridge University. A. J. Hergenroeder will begin the doctoral program in applied mathematics and scientific computing at the University of Maryland. Daniel Orr will begin in the doctoral program in mathemtatics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Adam Topaz will begin the doctoral program in mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania. All received fellowships to support their studies.
A number of students engaged in mathematical contests this semester.
Our Putnam team of Phillip Compeau ’08, Daniel Orr ’08, and Adam Topaz ’08, coached by Ben, finished 88th of 516 schools, and each individual scored in the top third. In the international Mathematical Contest in Modeling, as part of professor Molinek’s modeling class, the two teams of Don Williams ’08-Kristi Muscalino ’09-Sarah Wing ’08 and Michelle Navas ’08-Sam Hotchkiss ’08-Sarah Oberst ’10 earned meritorious (highest 14%) designations, and two other teams earned honorable mention. At the MAA’s southeastern sectional meeting, the Davidson Math Jeopardy
team finished third out of sixteen schools Our team consisted of
Alejandro Gonzalez-Stewart ’11, Adam Topaz ’08, Kun Zhang ’11, and Mali Zhang ’11, and was coached by professor Laurie Heyer.
This spring’s Math Coffee
series included students Katie Daves ’08, on skyline augmented fillings; A. J. Hergenroeder ’08, on cellular automata and modeling; and Adam Topaz ’08, on group cohomology; and professor emeritus Richie King ’59 on elementary geometry. The series also included several
speakers from other
Professor Laurie Heyer’s development of a new calculus and modeling sequence for students interested in the life sciences continues apace. Laurie enjoyed teaching MAT 137: Calculus and Modeling II this semester, and she and professor Malcolm Campbell (biology) attended each other’s classes this semester (BIO 111, MAT 137) to gain a better understanding of how biology and mathematics are taught.
Professor Tim Chartier spoke on Motivating mathematics with mime at Math in action at Grand Valley State University, a conference for pre-service and current elementary, middle, and high school teachers in Michigan.
While teaching numerical analysis this semester, professor Rich Neidinger created new problems for use in the draft of Tim’s numerical analysis textbook with Anne Greenbaum (University of Washington).
Professor Tim Chartier gave Mime-matics mime shows at Hope College and Grand Valley State University, and he gave a lecture, attended by over 300 high school students, on Mime-matics as part of Math Day at the University of Washington, Seattle.
Professors Bivens and Klein wrote the questions for the N. C. State Mathematics Contest. The test, administered at the North Carolina School for Science and Mathematics, is given to the top 100 scorers on regional tests given throughout the state.
Professor Mossinghoff and fellow jokester John Harris (Furman) again prepared questions for Math Jeopardy at the MAA sectional meeting at the Citadel.
Professors Davis, Heyer, and Mason also reached out to students during Davidson’s run to the Elite Eight, serving as chaperones for buses to Detroit.
Professor Mike Mossinghoff completed the second edition of Combinatorics and Graph Theory, co-authored with John Harris (Furman) and Jeff Hirst (Appalachian State), and it should appear this year. The second edition includes not only revisions but new material as well: the page length increased from 225 to 400 pages!
Professor Tim Chartier’s work explaining how computational fluid dynamics applies to the trajectory of a soccer ball was featured in an AMS podcast. Tim speculates that as we understand better how seam patterns affect performance, there may one day be soccer balls designed for players at different levels.
Tim published three expository articles, one with three students. A conversation with Michael Moschen appeared as Math Horizons 15, no. 3 (February 2008), 5--6, and was featured on the cover. Mathematical penmanship, with Daniel Clayton (chemistry ’07), Michelle Navas ’08 and Mallory Nobles ’07, was published as Math Horizons 15, no. 4 (April 2008), 8-10. Finally, a longer article, Mountains of fractals, complete with Java applets became an online module of the Journal of Online Mathematics and its Applications, in the May 2008 issue. Tim also continues his work with colleague Anne Greenbaum (University of Washington) on a textbook in numerical analysis.
Professors Irl Bivens and Ben Klein gave back-to back talks, entitled A family of minimization problems with a surprising commonality I, II, at the southeastern sectional meeting of the MAA at the Citadel.
Professor Laurie Heyer presented Solving the Hamiltonian path problem with bacterial computers as a plenary lecture at the Illinois MAA sectional meeting at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. She also presented a workshop on genomics at Hampton University with Davidson biology professor Malcolm Campbell.
In March professor John Swallow delivered Circuluar irrationalities: from Galois to Kummer and back again as a plenary lecture at the Southern California-Nevada sectional meeting of the MAA in San Diego.
Tim Chartier won an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship for 2008-2010. These prestigious $50,000 fellowships are intended "to enhance the careers of the very best young faculty members in specified fields of science." The fact that Tim won a Sloan the year after winning the early-career mathematics teaching award, Alder Award from the MAA, made news within the mathematical community; the fact that he was the only liberal arts-college professor on the 118-member list made news at Davidson! Tim also won a $169,532 Department of Energy award for Numerical Methods for Forward and Inverse Problems in Discontinuous Media.
Professor Laurie Heyer, Jim Dickson ’09, and Lance Harden ’09 are three of the seventeen authors on Engineering bacteria to solve the Burnt Pancake Problem, a paper whose contents have been picked up by thirty news publications, both print and online, including National Public Radio’s "Science Friday." The paper, which appeared as Journal of Biological Engineering 2008 2:8, is the result of work performed last summer in the joint Davidson-Missouri Western synthetic biology project.
Adam Topaz ’08 presented On the Galois module structure of square classes of maximal elementary abelian 2-extensions at the southeastern sectional MAA meeting at the Citadel and then in the graduate algebra seminar at the University of Western Ontario.
John spoke on Galois module structure of Galois cohomology in the algebraic geometry seminar at Duke in December, and Jason Ferguson (Duke ’09), who attended the talk, will be spending a portion of his summer at Davidson working with John on Galois cohomology. Jason is supported by his Angier B. Duke scholarship at Duke as well as John’s NSF grant.
Sarah’s paper An explicit construction of type A Demazure atoms was accepted by the Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics. She also spoke on Partitions and compositions at the southeastern sectional MAA meeting at the Citadel.
Katie Daves ’08 presented a poster, Skyline augmented fillings, at the Joint Mathematics Meetings, describing her honors work with Sarah.
Discrete geometry and number theory:
Barker sequences and flat polynomials, with P. Borwein, appeared in Number Theory and Polynomials (Bristol, U.K., 2006), J. McKee and C. Smyth, eds., London Math. Soc. Lecture Note Ser. 352, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2008. Slices, slabs, and sections of the unit hypercube, with J.-L. Marichal (Luxembourg) saw publication in the Online Journal of Analytic Combinatorics 3 (2008), #1. Finally, Irreducible polynomials and Barker sequences, with P. Borwein and E. Kaltofen (N. C. State), was published as ACM Communications in Computer Algebra 41 (2007), no. 4, 118-121.
Mike also organized, with Andrew Sills (Georgia Southern), a special session on combinatorial number theory at the southeastern sectional MAA meeting at the Citadel, thereby taking good advantage of the presence of George Andrews (Penn State) as Pólya Lecturer.
Later in the semester he gave two talks. Convex polygons with fixed diameter and maximal perimeter took place in the special session on Diophantine problems and discrete geometry at the AMS western sectional meeting at Claremont McKenna College, and Peter Borwein, plane geometry, polynomials, and polygons at The Mathematical Interests of Peter Borwein, a conference at Simon Fraser celebrating Peter Borwein’s 55th birthday.
Through the SyBR-U grant, Laurie will be working with a nine-person iGEM team this summer, including Kelly Davis ’11; Kristi Muscalino ’09, funded by HHMI; Madeleine Parra ’09; Karlesha Roland (Spelman ’11); and Max Win ’10, funded by the Davidson Research Initiative.
Numerical analysis and scientific
A. J. Hergenroeder ’08 presented his Texas A&M REU work, Patch and crossover dyadic wavelet sets, in the poster session at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego.
Daniel Orr ’08 will be working with Tim on multigrid methods this summer, and Peter Simov ’08 and Tim will be analyzing Netflix data in terms of matrix clusters..
Professor Stephen Davis gave a presentation on AP Calculus on a panel at the annual national meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in April in Salt Lake City as part of his work as chair of the Test Development Committee.
Two faculty participated in Davidson’s strategic assessment process this year: Laurie Heyer, who chaired a subgroup of the Teaching and Learning Study Group, and John Swallow, who chaired the Curriculum Study Group.
At DCPC, Laurie Heyer was elected to a three-year term as deacon and is chairing the campus ministry committee.
Save the date! The 2008—2009 Bernard Lecture is scheduled for October 16, 2008. Mathematician, prolific author, and "Math Guy" on National Public Radio, Dr. Keith Devlin (Stanford) will be this year’s lecturer.
A fond farewell to our many Bernard Society members from the class of 2008! Quite a few reported definite plans:
Craig Carlson will be a quantitative management associate with Bank of America in Charlotte. Phillip Compeau will enroll at Cambridge University for a Certificate of Advanced Study in Mathematics. Katie Daves will work as a nanny in New York City. A. J. Hergenroeder will enroll in the doctoral program in applied mathematics and scientific computing at the University of Maryland. Sam Hotchkiss will be an assistant in the académie of Nantes.
Katherine Knight will begin a master’s program in commerce at the University of Virginia. Will Kuchinski will be a business analyst for Norman Technologies. Mejin Leechor will be a member programs fellow of the Women’s Funding Network, serving in San Francisco with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. Courtney Martin will be a facilities asset analyst with Sightlines, LLC, in Madison, CT. Elizabeth Moore will enroll at the Charleston School of Law.
Michelle Navas will begin a master’s program in college student development at Appalachian State University. Daniel Orr will begin the doctoral program in mathematics at Chapel Hill. Matt Owanesian will be account manager and tech project lead at Paystar Logistics in Huntersville, NC. Sarah Reardon will be a business analyst with McKinsey in Atlanta. Ryan Robertson will begin medical school at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Peter Simov will enroll in the doctoral program in mechanical and aerospace engineering at N. C. State University. Adam Topaz will begin the doctoral program in mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania. Don Williams will be a public sector supply chain consultant with IBM Business Services in Washington, D.C.
Thank you for your continuing support of the Richard R. Bernard Society for Mathematics at Davidson College. Your gifts support outside speakers and math coffees, student travel to conferences, and other mathematical events.
To make a contribution to the society, please specify "Bernard Society" on your check and mail it to the Office of Development, Davidson College, Box 7173, Davidson, NC 28035-7173. Gifts to the Bernard Society are separate from the Annual Fund.