This is my last year as Chair of the Department of Mathematics. I would like to thank my colleagues and especially the staff of the Department for making my time as chair both a personally rewarding experience and also one that I believe has been beneficial for the Department. Dan Ocone deserves my special thanks for returning to serve as Undergraduate Vice-Chair this year. Gene Speer will be returning from sabbatical leave and will serve the final year of his three-year term in 2005-6. Chuck Weibel continued as Graduate Director and will complete his term next year. These are crucial positions, and the Department and I have both benefited from all the dedicated individuals who have served in these positions. Looking to the future, I am pleased to announce that Robert Wilson will serve as Acting Chair for the 2005-6 academic year and then Richard Lyons will begin a three-year term as Chair in July 2006.
The Department is suffering a number of staff losses. We thank Austin Murphy (Technical Support Specialist), Eric Luhrs (Helpdesk Manager), Isabelle Amarhanow (Administrative Assistant in the Business Office), and Komal Agarwal (Technical Secretary in the Undergraduate Office) for their fine work for the Department and wish them well in their new positions. Fortunately, our key senior staff, Judy Lige, Lynn Braun, Risa Hynes, and Diane Apadula, remain in their positions to smooth the way for the next chair.
During the past year, there have been a number of significant accomplishments by the Department, its faculty, and its students. Of great significance to the future of the Department was the award of Academic Excellence Funds by the University to help advance the Department's position as a leader in mathematics research and education and focus on academic excellence. The award provides funding for new faculty hires in strategically developed areas in advance of the faculty retirements anticipated over the next five years.
In May 2004, the Department held the dedication of the Wolfson Faculty and Graduate Students Common rooms. On November 10, 2004, the improvement of the Department's facilities continued when the Undergraduate Commons Room was officially inaugurated. This room is a place for undergraduate mathematics majors to meet, discuss mathematics, and access computers. The room is also used for meetings of the undergraduate honors seminar and for special talks for undergraduates about mathematics or careers in the mathematical sciences. This year, Professor Michael Vogelius spoke on "Some mathematical aspects of imaging and non-destructive testing," Professor Diane Maclagan spoke about "The Card Game Set" and Professor Andrew Sills gave a talk on "Partitions of Integers." The Department hopes that the Undergraduate Commons Room will make our undergraduate majors feel more a part of the Rutgers mathematical community.
Our Department continues to attract outstanding undergraduates. A team from Rutgers (Gene Kim, Matthew Meola, and Siwei Zhu) won second place in the NJ Undergraduate Mathematics Contest on April 2. Gene Kim also tied with a Princeton student for second place in the individual ranking. In the William Lowell Putnam Undergraduate Mathematics Competition, an annual prestigious mathematics contest that is open to all full-time undergraduates in the U.S. and Canada, the Rutgers team (Gene Kim, Siwei Zhu, Christopher Ross) placed 26th out of approximately 400 teams. A significant development in the Undergraduate Program, described in more detail below, is the initiation of five-year BA/MS tracks in several fields of application. We expect these tracks to help prepare students for careers in business, industry, and government that rely on mathematical modeling and analysis.
As in past years, the Department hosted a large number of seminars and colloquia, many distinguished visitors, and several conferences. In April 2005, a conference was held at Rutgers to celebrate the mathematics and 75th birthday of François Treves. In December and again in May, Joel Lebowitz hosted the 92nd and 93rd Statistical Mechanics Conferences. On September 15-16, 2005, the Department will host Solitons, Singularities, Surreals and Such: A Conference in Honor of Martin Kruskal's Eightieth Birthday.
In addition, a special conference was recently held at North Carolina State University to honor the mathematical careers and 60th birthdays of James Lepowsky and Robert Wilson (shown below left). Together, Professors Lepowsky and Wilson have advised a total of 25 Ph.D. students, and each has had his teaching and research recognized by University awards.
In December, the Department held a delayed retirement party for Barbara Osofsky, who retired the previous June. Barbara and her husband Abe are shown in the photo below (right).
A broad spectrum of information about the Department, both current and from past years, is available on the Mathematics Department web site. In particular, honors awarded to faculty in previous years may be found on the faculty honors page and honors received by undergraduate and graduate students may be found on the Mathematics Department Undergraduate Awards and Prizes page and the Mathematics Department Graduate Awards and Prizes page, respectively.
Holly Carley will become a Hill Assistant Professor, after spending last year
in the Department as a Research Associate. Her interests are in analysis and
William Cook will join the Department as a non-tenure track Assistant
Professor, after obtaining his Ph.D. at North Carolina State University.
His interests are in non-associative algebras (Lie algebras and vertex
Eduardo Gonzalez will join the Department as a non-tenure track Assistant
Professor, after obtaining his Ph.D. at the University of Stony Brook. His
interests are in symplectic geometry/topology.
Eduardo Teixeira will join the Department as a Hill Assistant Professor,
after obtaining his Ph.D. at the University of Texas. His interests are
in partial differential equations and its applications.
In spring 2005, Professor Alcock ran a new seminar course for students in
their final year of the 5-year BA/MS track for preparation of high school math
teachers. The course was called Connections between advanced mathematics
and high school mathematics and was based on 1-credit seminars run in the
previous two years by Professors Alcock and Cohen. In the class, students
revisited topics such as groups and isomorphisms, equivalence relations, and
the axioms for the real numbers, and examined instances of these concepts in
functions and operations familiar to high school students. This led the class
to consider the role of specific examples in the learning of general concepts.
The students also discussed the degree of mathematical precision that is
appropriate at different levels, the teaching of definitions, and typical
misconceptions preventing high school and university students from learning
effectively. Professor Alcock reports that it was particularly fun to work
with students who already had teaching experience so that they could address
the seminar issues from the perspective both of teachers and of students. The
Math Department thanks Professor Alcock for her contribution to the Department
and wishes her well in her new job. Professor Cohen will continue the seminar
in spring, 2006.
The Kenneth & Rosalind Wolfson Annual Award for academic excellence
in Mathematics was given to Thomas Peters.
The Henry G. Sanders 1925 Memorial Scholarship in Mathematics was
awarded to Dennis Faynberg.
HAIM BREZIS ELECTED VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE AMS
Dr. Haim Brezis was elected Vice-President of the American Mathematical
Society. This is a three-year term beginning on February 1, 2005 and ending on
January 31, 2008. Dr. Brezis' previous honors include the award of several
honorary degrees and his election in 2003 as a Foreign Associate of the
National Academy of Sciences.
ISRAEL GELFAND AWARDED AMS LEROY P. STEELE PRIZE FOR
Dr. Israel Gelfand was awarded the American Mathematical Society Leroy
P. Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement. Presented annually, the Steele Prize
is one of the highest distinctions in mathematics. Dr. Gelfand is also a
member of US National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society (United Kingdom),
the Academie of Sciences (France), the Imperial Academy of Sciences (Japan),
the Royal Society of Sweden, the Accademia dei Lincei (Italy), the Royal Irish
Academy, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and most recently, the European
Academy of Sciences.
APPOINTED RUTGERS BOARD OF GOVERNORS PROFESSOR
Dr. Simon Gindikin was appointed a Rutgers University Board of Governors
Professor at the June 9, 2005 meeting of the Board of Governors. He
was recognized for his "broad contributions to the representation theory
of Lie groups, integral geometry and partial differential equations, as
evidenced by his numerous publications across a wide range of topics, his many
prestigious awards and grants, including the Gold Medal for the State Prize
of the Russian Federation, in recognition of his contributions to the creation
of the field of integral geometry; his excellence in teaching and mentoring
students; and his leadership in scholarly endeavors, including the editorship
of the American Mathematical Society's monograph series, Advances in
NAMED 2004 CASE/CARNEGIE NJ PROFESSOR OF THE YEAR
Dr. Stephen Greenfield was named the 2004 New Jersey Professor of the Year by
the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for
Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). He joins professors from other
states who were each honored for their dedication to undergraduate teaching.
Professor Greenfield has made major contributions to innovations in the
teaching of mathematics (in the introduction of technology and the use of
workshops) and has played a key role in ensuring that innovative efforts
produced sustained change. He has been especially active in the design and
revision of mathematics courses for students in the liberal arts. In one of
these courses, on the mathematics of communication, students not only learn
about cryptography and its mathematical foundations, but also about writing
and discussing the public policy questions associated with this field. This
course, whose design was supported by the National Science Foundation, has won
national recognition as a SENCER model, a comprehensive national dissemination
project funded by NSF that nominates courses as national models.
RECEIVES NICHOLSON MEDAL FOR HUMANITARIAN SERVICE
Dr. Joel Lebowitz was awarded the Nicholson Medal for Humanitarian Service by
the American Physical Society. Cited for his tireless personal activism,
throughout his superb career as a theoretical physicist, to help scientists
and defend their human rights in countries around the globe. This award is
the latest to honor Dr. Lebowitz's work for human rights. Previous awards
include the AAAS Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award (1999) and the
Heinz R. Pagels Human Rights of Scientists Award of the New York Academy of
HONORED WITH MAA MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD
Dr. Barbara Osofsky was honored with the MAA meritorious service award. Her
activities in the MAA include serving as First Vice-President (2000-2), as New
Jersey Section Governor (1994-7), and serving on and/or chairing a large
number of MAA committees, e.g., program committees for national meetings,
editorial committees, and prize committees. Professor Osofsky officially
retired from Rutgers in June 2004, but because of her valuable experience and
knowledge about our undergraduate program, agreed to continue to work for the
Department on a part-time basis as Head Undergraduate Advisor.
RECEIVES RUTGERS FACULTY SCHOLAR-TEACHER AWARD
Dr. Eduardo Sontag was the only faculty member from the New
Brunswick/Piscataway campuses to receive the 2005
Rutgers Faculty Scholar-Teacher Award. The Scholar-Teacher Award was
established in 2000 to honor faculty members who have made outstanding
synergistic contributions in research and teaching. Dr. Sontag's award was
in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the area of control
theory, his patient, enthusiastic, and stimulating teaching and his
extraordinary ability to motivate students to achieve at the highest
AWARDED 2004 EULER MEDAL
Dr. Doron Zeilberger was awarded (together with Zhu Lie) the
2004 Euler Medal by the Institute of Combinatorics and Its Applications.
Dr. Zeilberger, a Board of Governors Professor at Rutgers, has previously been
honored as the 1998 recipient of the American Mathematical Society's Leroy
P. Steele Prize for a Seminal Contribution to Research for his 1990 paper
(with H. Wilf) entitled Rational functions certify combinatorial
Lisa Carbone was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor
Xiaojun Huang was promoted to the rank of Professor I.
Yi-Zhi Huang was promoted to the rank of Professor I.
We congratulate our colleagues for their outstanding achievements that led
to these promotions.
Anders Buch will join the Department as a tenure-track Associate Professor,
coming to Rutgers from Aarhus University in Denmark, where he has been a
Lektor for the past three years. He received his Ph.D. from the University of
Chicago in 1999 and was a C.L.E. Moore Instructor at M.I.T. from
1999-2001. His research interests are in algebraic geometry, combinatorics,
and representation theory.
Dr. François Treves will retire this year after 35 years at Rutgers.
He received his Ph.D. from the Sorbonne in 1958, and then came to the US as an
assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley from 1958-60.
He then moved to Yeshiva University as an Associate Professor from 1961-64,
and to Purdue University from 1964-70 as a full Professor. He came to Rutgers
in 1970 and was honored with the title Robert Adrian Professor of Mathematics
in 1984. He has written more than 10 books and approximately 100 research
papers, and trained 15 Rutgers Ph.D. students. Professor Treves has received
many honors, including the Chauvenet Prize in 1972, awarded by the
Mathematical Association of America for an outstanding expository article and
the Steele Prize in 1991, awarded by the American Mathematical Society for his
book Pseudodifferential and Fourier Integral Operators. In 2003, he was
elected a Foreign Member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. During his
tenure at Rutgers, Professor Treves has had a major influence on the research
directions of the Department, the recruitment of high quality faculty, and the
overall improvement in the stature of the Department.
Lewis lectures given by Shmuel Weinberger of the University
of Chicago during
the week of October 11 -- October 15, 2004, were entitled
Themes in Quantitative Topology: Problems and naive examples,
Computation, entropy, and variational problems, and Embeddings, symmetry,
Developments in the Undergraduate Curriculum.
Thanks to the hard work of Professor Amy Cohen,
the Mathematics Department
has just instituted several five-year bachelor of arts/masters programs
in cooperation with several other Rutgers departments.
Increasingly, many jobs in business, industry, and government
require expertise in
mathematical modeling and mathematical analysis,
and these new programs will give students interested in such careers
a boost on their way. The
new tracks are now available in Economics, Industrial and Systems Engineering,
Operations Research, and Statistics, and we hope more are on the
way. (And there is also, of course, the long-standing 5-year dual degree track
with the Graduate School of Education for prospective high school teachers.)
More information is available at
The Undergraduate Commons
An Undergraduate Commons Room was
opened in Room 323 of Hill Center. Now our Math majors
have a place to hang out between classes, discuss
math with fellow nerds, or simply check up on their
e-mail at one of the 5 work stations.
Undergraduate Scholarships, Prizes,
The Weill scholarships, designated for full-time students majoring in
mathematics and based on academic merit, were awarded to Stephen Curran,
Lawrence Goldman, Joseph Hedberg, Matthew Meola, Thomas Peters, Aron Samkoff,
Yun-Ning Wu, and Jennifer Zoltanski.
Holly Carley will become a Hill Assistant Professor, after spending last year in the Department as a Research Associate. Her interests are in analysis and Mathematical Physics.
William Cook will join the Department as a non-tenure track Assistant Professor, after obtaining his Ph.D. at North Carolina State University. His interests are in non-associative algebras (Lie algebras and vertex algebras).
Eduardo Gonzalez will join the Department as a non-tenure track Assistant Professor, after obtaining his Ph.D. at the University of Stony Brook. His interests are in symplectic geometry/topology.
Eduardo Teixeira will join the Department as a Hill Assistant Professor, after obtaining his Ph.D. at the University of Texas. His interests are in partial differential equations and its applications.
In spring 2005, Professor Alcock ran a new seminar course for students in their final year of the 5-year BA/MS track for preparation of high school math teachers. The course was called Connections between advanced mathematics and high school mathematics and was based on 1-credit seminars run in the previous two years by Professors Alcock and Cohen. In the class, students revisited topics such as groups and isomorphisms, equivalence relations, and the axioms for the real numbers, and examined instances of these concepts in functions and operations familiar to high school students. This led the class to consider the role of specific examples in the learning of general concepts. The students also discussed the degree of mathematical precision that is appropriate at different levels, the teaching of definitions, and typical misconceptions preventing high school and university students from learning effectively. Professor Alcock reports that it was particularly fun to work with students who already had teaching experience so that they could address the seminar issues from the perspective both of teachers and of students. The Math Department thanks Professor Alcock for her contribution to the Department and wishes her well in her new job. Professor Cohen will continue the seminar in spring, 2006.
The Kenneth & Rosalind Wolfson Annual Award for academic excellence in Mathematics was given to Thomas Peters.
The Henry G. Sanders 1925 Memorial Scholarship in Mathematics was awarded to Dennis Faynberg.
- Highest honors: Stephen Curran, Thomas Peters.
- High honors: Yakov Brukhman, Chris Holston, Chris Ross.
- Honors: Lawrence Goldman, Jonathan Lykens.
The Rutgers Graduate Mathematics Program continued to be a great program during 2004-5. The opening of the Wolfson Graduate Student Lounge (H701) was a very positive development, and is now the main site of the weekly Pizza Seminar as well as the preferred location of the post-defense Ph.D. receptions. Several new Graduate Courses were instituted this year, including Experimental Mathematics and Financial Mathematics. These new courses reflect changes in mathematical research during the last decade.
Last fall marked the second year of our Introduction to Mathematics at Rutgers (IMR). This is a mini-conference for entering graduate students, held the weekend before fall classes begin. Anecdotally, it has been very effective not only in reviewing background material for our incoming students, but also in giving them an opportunity to socialize with each other, as well as with more advanced graduate students.
New Ph.D.s in 2005This year was another good year for Ph.D.'s! Twelve Rutgers students will receive their Ph.D. in Mathematics in 2005, the second largest graduating class since 1997. Four of our new graduates are US citizens and two are women. They are (with their advisors and Fall 2005 Employment parenthesized):
- Laura Ciobanu (C. Sims, CRM Barcelona)
- Kia Dalili (W. Vasconcelos, Dalhousie U.)
- German Enciso (E. Sontag, Math Bio Inst., Ohio State)
- Liang Kong (Y-Z. Huang, Max Planck Inst.)
- Aaron Lauve (V. Retakh, U. Quebec, Montreal)
- Fernando Louro (H. Sussmann, Portugal)
- Kai Medville (M. Vogelius, Inst. Math Appl, Minneapolis)
- David Nacin (R. Wilson, Wm Patterson Univ.)
- Augusto Ponce (H. Brezis, Univ. Paris)
- Sasa Radomirovic (J. Tunnell, Switzerland)
- Nick Weininger (J. Kahn, Google Inc.)
- Yongzhong Xu (A. Bahri, Courant Inst.)
Incoming students in Fall 2005Replacing these departing students next fall will be an entering class of eleven graduate students; with attrition we will have 68 graduate students next year. Recruiting was more difficult this year, because we are now competing with the top ten schools for graduate students. However, our current graduate students did a great job in making our recruiting effort a success. The percentage of US citizens will be the same (54%) and the percentage of women will drop slightly (from 24% to 22%).
New Teaching Assistant lines in 2005-6Our sources of funding determine how many graduate students we can support in our program. Hence, I am pleased to announce that beginning in fall 2005, the number of TAs in the Department will increase from 46 to 50. This is partially a result of the award of Academic Excellence Funds to the Department (described in the Chair's Message). Unfortunately, this good news is tempered by the fact that after some extraordinary years, the number of Graduate Fellowships awarded to our incoming students by the University has returned to a more normal level (to 11 next year from 17 in 2004-5). In addition, the decrease in the budget of the National Science Foundation is making NSF support of graduate students more difficult to obtain. In the future, the Department will need to seek other sources of support, including donations from generous alumni, to continue the high level of our graduate program.
In other news ...
- This past year we had three graduate students working with K-12 educational initiatives. Michael Weingart and Rich Mikula were Graduate Fellows in the Science and Mathematics Educational Partnerships program, teaching in local Middle Schools one day a week. Derek Hansen was a MetroMath Fellow, studying K-12 mathematics education in urban environments.
- Augusto Ponce, who graduated this May, won one of only six University-wide Outstanding Research awards during 2004-5, for his research into elliptic PDE's.
- The 2004-5 TA Teaching Excellence Awards were won by Brian Manning , Ben Bunting, Brian Lins and Jason Tedor. These awards are based upon written evaluations by faculty, and course evaluations by students over several semesters.
- The generous gift of Maurice M. Weill and Adrienne R. Weill continues to strengthen our graduate program. This year's Weill support recipients are John Bryk, Ivan Burskyy, Samuel Coskey, Goran Djankovic, Nan Li, Padmini Mukkamala, Debajyoti Nandi, Eduardo Osorio, Catherine Pfaff, Amit Priyadarshi, Lara Pudwell, Paul Raff, Eric Rowland, Ming Shi, Jin Wang, and Yuan Zhang.
The Graduate Pizza Seminar is a weekly gathering for students to present talks about interesting mathematical topics and their research projects to their peers. Of course, free pizza is always provided. Since January 2004, the Seminar has met in the Kenneth G. Wolfson Graduate Common Room (Hill 701), a room whose use is restricted to graduate students. Graduate students continue to greatly enjoy this space, both for the Pizza Seminar and other activities. Learning from the difficulties of years past, throughout this year we used Gerlanda's, the campus pizza supplier, and with good results too -- our pizza was only late once. However, we will gladly accept the donation of a wheelbarrow, wagon, or other wheeled object to cart large amounts of drinks across campus. To learn more about the seminar, visit the Pizza Seminar website.
As usual, in 2004-2005, the seminar covered a wide variety of topics. In the fall, one talk on mathematical modeling featured a computer demonstration, and the trend was continued in spring 2005 with three experimental math talks also including live computer experimentation. (Even the Pizza Seminar now reflects the growth of computer-assisted mathematics!) As for the requisite statistics: 13 talks were given in fall 2004 and 14 were given in spring 2005. Attendance ranged from 20 to 35 students with an average of 25 each week.
The following is a list of the seminar speakers for 2004-2005:
The Mathematics Department is very interested in hearing from
its alumni/alumnae from either the undergraduate or graduate program, about
where they are and what they are doing. We have finally set up a
Mathematics Alumni website
to facilitate contacts among former graduates and
serve as a source of contacts for our current graduates. We would be
especially interested to know if you are employed in a company that hires
mathematics graduates at any level, since we are seeking summer internship
opportunities for our students and also occasionally look for individuals
willing to come to campus to speak about job opportunities in industry for
mathematics majors. Please let us know if you would be willing to
participate in such activities.
If possible, responses should be sent by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Job Title and Company:
Web page url:
If you do not have access to email, please FAX the information to 732-445-5530 (attention: Alumni Committee) or mail the information to:
Department of Mathematics - Hill Center
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey
110 Frelinghuysen Rd
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8019
The Mathematics Department would like to thank its alumni and friends for their past generous support of the Department. Gifts to the Department enhance our ability to compete for the most outstanding undergraduates and graduate students, to bring outstanding mathematics faculty as visitors to the Department, and to support seminars and colloquia. If you would like to help us by making a contribution, you can do so directly on the web at the URL https://secure.entango.com/donate/GSuEdXhgRpV by clicking on "Or choose an academic department:" and selecting Mathematics. If you would like to discuss various possibilities for a gift to the Department, please call the Department Chair, Richard Falk, at 732-445-2393.
A special focus for Department fundraising is an effort to find a source of permanent support for our very successful summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) program. This is an eight-week program that gives undergraduates the opportunity to get a taste of what it is like to do research in mathematics. The program includes both individual research and group activities. Each student is assisted by a faculty adviser and some also by a graduate-student adviser. Participating undergraduates receive free on-campus housing and a stipend, so that the total cost to the Department is approximately $5000 per student. Typically, about eight students participate each summer. Although some support is provided by the National Science Foundation through the grants of participating faculty mentors, not all faculty mentors have such support. A permanent endowment would ensure that this program will continue to enrich the educational experiences of our best undergraduates. Top