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NSF Funds Davidson/Wake Number Theory Program for Undergrads

Prof. Kate Thompson
Prof. Kate Thompson

Davidson College Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics Kate Thompson and a Wake Forest colleague have received a $258,354 National Science Foundation grant to establish a research program for undergraduates interested in number theory.

The new "Wake/Davidson Experience in Number Theory Research" will involve Thompson and Wake Forest Mathematics Professor Jeremy Rouse for each of three summers in helping students to find and prove new theorems about numbers and their relationships with each other.

The program will enroll eight undergraduate participants each summer from across the nation, including up to 25 percent of whom may be from Davidson or Wake. Participants will be in residence at Wake Forest for nine weeks. During the first two weeks, they will attend lectures from Rouse and Thompson about number theory and work on exercises in the field. They will then develop individual research problems to pursue for the remaining seven weeks. They also will be encouraged to prepare a conference talk about their research for the University of Georgia's Mock AMS conference, as well as present posters at the Joint Math Meetings.

Thompson said the program is designed for students to experience "the excitement, joy and challenges of original mathematical research."

Rouse added, "Our hope is that students will get excited about doing math and want to go to graduate school to study mathematics. But the research experience will give these students skills that will be very useful later in life, whether they choose to go into mathematics or not."