Tag Archive for mathematics and computer science

Honor Thesis Students Present Research at NSM Poster Session

Wesleyan’s Natural Science and Mathematics hosted a “Celebration of Science Theses” April 16 in Exley Science Center’s lobby. BA and MA honors thesis students presented their research to peers and the community.

President Michael S. Roth listens to Wei Dai ’11 explain his research on “Effect of Valency on the Dynamics and Thermodynamics of DNA-linked Nanoparticles Materials.” Dai’s advisor is Francis Starr, associate professor of physics. Wei has conducted extensive computer simulations to show nanoparticles can be linked together using DNA as 'bridges'. The resulting nanostructured materials have unusual properties that may be applicable to energy storage, drug delivery, optical materials and nanoscale devices. Dai also has published a peer-review journal article titled “Valency Dependence of Polymorphism and Polyamorphism in DNA-Functionalized Nanoparticles.” (Photo by Roslyn N. Carrier-Brault)

David Boznick, dean of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics, professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, congratulates the BA and MA honors thesis students on their achievements.

5 Questions With…David Pollack

David Pollack is an associate professor of mathematics and computer science. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

David Pollack is an associate professor of mathematics. His research focuses on questions about the arithmetic cohomology of higher rank matrix groups. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

This issue we ask 5 Questions of…David Pollack, associate professor of mathematics and computer science.

Q: How did you become interested in mathematics in general, and as an
academic career specifically?

DP: Mathematics was my favorite subject in school as far back as I can
remember. At that time I had no idea that one could be a mathematician, so I imagined I would be a scientist or engineer. After my sophomore year in high school I was fortunate enough to attend the summer mathematics program at Hampshire College, where I was first exposed to professional mathematicians. I realized more or less immediately that mathematics itself was the right career for me. The next summer I attended the Ross Mathematics Program at Ohio State, an incredibly rigorous mathematics immersion course that teaches students to “think deeply about simple things” by developing number theory and basic abstract algebra from the ground up. Students get the

Collins Judges National Science Competition

Karen Collins, chair and professor of mathematics, served as a judge in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology that awarded $100,000 to high school students. In a Dec. 7 New York Times article, Collins said, ”We never expected high school students to achieve such success in examining this upper-bound aspect of graph theory.”

Book Traces Friendship Between Math Teacher Joffray ’50 and Student

Calculus_of_FriendshipIn The Calculus of Friendship (Princeton University Press), Cornell University professor Steven Strogatz chronicles the moving story of the friendship he developed with his former high school math teacher, Don Joffray ’50, over 30 years through the exchange of letters between them. For a long time, their friendship revolved almost entirely on a shared love of calculus.

Joffray goes from the prime of his career to retirement, competes in whitewater kayaking at the international level, and loses a son. Strogatz matures from high school math whiz to Ivy League professor, has a failed marriage, and experiences the sudden death of a parent. Eventually they get to know each other better beyond the world of mathematics.

In the prologue, Strogatz writes: “Like calculus itself, this book is an exploration of change. It’s about the transformation that takes place in a student’s heart, as he and his teacher reverse roles, as they age, as they are buffeted by life itself.” Their shared love of calculus becomes “a constant while all around them is in flux.”

A video about the book is on YouTube.

Haensch Organizer, Presenter at National Conference

Anna Haensch, graduate student, mathematics and computer science, is on the steering committee of Fourth Annual Spuyten Duyvil Undergraduate Mathematics Conference, which is being held at SUNY-New Paltz April 25. She also will be making a presentation titled “The Pell Equation” which will discuss the Pell equation (x2-ny2=1) which was studied by the ancient Greeks and is one of the oldest Diophantine equations, and arguably the most important.

220 Scholars Present Research at Mathematical Society Meeting

Graduate student Weiwei Pan spoke on "Categorified Bundles and Classifying Spaces" at the 2008 Eastern Sectional Meeting of the American Mathematical Society held Oct. 11-12 at Wesleyan. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Graduate student Weiwei Pan spoke on "Categorified Bundles and Classifying Spaces" at the 2008 Eastern Sectional Meeting of the American Mathematical Society held Oct. 11-12 at Wesleyan. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

During a session on algebraic topology, graduate student Weiwei Pan spoke to dozens of mathematical scholars from around the world on “Categorified Bundles and Classifying Spaces.”

Pan was one of 220 speakers who presented math-related talks during the 2008 Eastern Sectional Meeting of the American Mathematical Society held Oct. 11-12 at Wesleyan. More than 300 participants registered.

“One of the best things about being a mathematician is that there are people all over the world who share your interests, and that mathematics