School of Mathematics Newsletter - Volume 24 - 2018

Head Lines - Peter Olver

Peter OlverAh — spring is finally here, and not a moment too soon! But, while the weather is enjoyable, my “best-laid” plans to step down at the end of this, my second five year term as department head, have not come to fruition. Following the recommendation of the Head Search Committee, a vote of the faculty, and the invitation of the Dean, I have, albeit reluctantly, agreed to carry on for three more years. And, much as I was looking forward to returning to teaching, research, and a quieter final phase of my career, I am extremely appreciative of all the support and encouragement offered by everyone —faculty, administration, staff, students, etc. I particularly want to thank the Department’s amazing management team: TJ Li, Associate Head, Dick McGehee, Director of Graduate Studies, Bryan Mosher, Director of Undergraduate Studies, and our Center Directors: Rina Ashkenazi and Laurie Derechin (MCFAM); Duane Nykamp, Jon Rogness, and Mike Weimerskirch (MathCEP); and Gilad Lerman (MCIM) plus Dan Spirn and Ben Brubaker over at the IMA.

On the faculty front, we hired three new assistant professors this year: William Leeb, in data science, from Princeton University; Li Wang, in numerical analysis, from SUNY Buffalo, and Tsao-Hsien Chen, algebra and representation theory, from the University of Chicago, who will join us in Fall, 2019. Unfortunately, Yu-jong Tzeng resigned her position here to pursue a new career path in California. Meanwhile, Vlad Vicol, who was to join us this fall, accepted an offer from the Courant Institute. After 56 years of meritorious service, Al Marden is retiring. Al is famous for his contributions to complex analysis and hyperbolic geometry, and for his founding of the Geometry Center, where he served as its first director. In a striking act of generosity, Al and his wife Dorothy are endowing two Marden Professorships to be awarded to outstanding math faculty, with a special emphasis on his own areas, starting in a couple of years. In sad news, we held two Memorial Services for departed colleagues. On April 7, 2017, we honored Emeritus Professor Hans Weinberger, who passed away in March. The following week, we honored Professor Robert Gulliver, who unexpectedly died in October, at the start of his phased retirement. Both devoted many years of service to the Department and the profession, and will be sorely missed.

Of particular note is the news that the Math Center for Educational Programs (MathCEP) has won the 2018 American Mathematical Society Award for an Exemplary Program in a Mathematics Department, cited for its outreach programs aimed at K-12 children, teachers, graduate students, and postdocs. This is an impressive confirmation of the efforts over 40 years by its founding Director, Harvey Keynes, and current Director, Jon Rogness, and the MathCEP staff, past and present. Its flagship program is the well known University of Minnesota Talented Youth Mathematics Program (UMTYMP), an “accelerated five year syllabus for middle school and high school students. MathCEP also experienced a major reorganization this year. The three co-directors are Jon Rogness, in charge of outreach and education, and Duane Nykamp and Mike Weimerskirch, overseeing instructional technology and innovation. Beyond its superb traditional programs, the new MathCEP will serve as a resource for new learning initiatives and technologies.

With the renovations of Tate Laboratory completed, Vincent Hall is now the building in the College of Science and Engineering and on the historic Mall that has gone the longest without any significant renovation. While this remains far off, the Administration is finally paying attention, and some smaller upgrades have been realized, with more on the way. The second floor hallway now has chairs and whiteboards — the latter are incredibly popular, sparking many impromptu student interactions. On the third floor of Vincent, our new Math Lab, a center for drop-in consultation for students in lower level math courses has been a roaring success. In the outside hallway, one can find posters prepared by our undergraduate researchers and honors students. Another administrative development is that, at the beginning of 2018, CSE Dean Samuel Mukasa was replaced by now Interim Dean Mos Kaveh. I have known Mos for decades, and am enjoying working with him on a range of critical issues.

Thank you for your continued support of the School of Mathematics. I welcome your feedback, questions, or suggestions — either stop by, call, or send me email.

Mathematically yours,

Peter Olver


Welcome to New Faculty

Hao Jia

Hao Jia was born in a village in Anhui Province, China and grew up there. He has a brother and sister in China. Elementary school started with the first grade and had a light schedule leaving lots of free time for play. Middle school was far more demanding but had the compensating luxury not previously available to him of a library which he much enjoyed - especially the science fiction magazines. He also remembers having an especially good math teacher in middle school. In high school there was a lot of pressure to pass entrance exams for the top universities.

Influenced by a visit he made while still in high school to participate in the regional-level Physics Olympiad, in 2003 he entered University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) located in his native Anhui province. USTC was located in Beijing until the 1960s, and it was then moved to Anhui province to reduce the concentration of strategically important institutions in the capital. Hao started his college study as an earth and space science major but in searching for greater rigor he changed to be a math major.

After graduation from USTC in 2007 he wanted to study abroad, so he cast his net widely, and finally decided upon University of Minnesota. He was a student of Vladimir Sverak. He graduated in 2013 and then took a Dickson Instructorship at the University of Chicago. He interacted in Chicago frequently with Carlos Kenig. He spent the year before arriving in Minnesota at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He works on fluid equations such as the Navier-Stokes equation. He is interested in the soliton resolution conjecture predicting long-time decoupling of solutions of dispersive equations into radiation and solitons.

Hao likes watching soccer and walking around the plentiful lakes of the Twin Cities.

Ru-Yu Lai

Ru-Yu Lai was born in Nantou county, Taiwan, the unique landlocked county of Taiwan with the further distinction of possessing the largest body of fresh water (Sun Moon Lake). She learned Mandarin and English in school, but spoke Taiwanese at home with parents, grandparents and neighbors. In 2002 she entered National Taiwan Normal University to train as a high school teacher, graduating in 2006. She spent the next year as a practice teacher in a junior high school in Nantou as part of the teacher certification process. But a strong interest in mathematics and a desire to study abroad pushed her in a different direction.

In 2007 she returned to Taipei to pursue a master’s degree in mathematics at National Taiwan University. She graduated in 2009 and during 2009-2010 was a research assistant at the Institute of Mathematics of Academia Sinica. Prof. Tai-Ping Liu, a researcher in nonlinear partial differential equations, shock wave theory, and kinetic theory, was her mentor. In 2010 she was admitted to study for the Ph.D. degree at the University of Washington in Seattle. She wrote her thesis under the supervision of Gunther Uhlmann, graduating in 2015. During her Ph.D. studies she visited UC, Irvine for three months in 2012, while her advisor Uhlmann held a position at UCI, and then visited Mikko Salo at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland for 6 weeks in 2014.

In her thesis she studied several inverse boundary value problems, in particular obtaining uniqueness and stability estimates for Calderón’s problem and its related applications. Roughly speaking, in problems of this sort one seeks to reconstruct the coefficients in a partial differential equation in a bounded region from boundary measurements. The prototypical application of this circle of ideas is to electrical impedance tomography (EIT), an imaging technique which reconstructs electrical conductivity inside the body from voltage and current measurements on the skin. Uhlmann, a major contributor to the theory around EIT and related imaging problems, remains one of her collaborators. In her spare time she enjoys classical music, movies, and Tai-Chi.

Featured Colleagues

Jasmine Foo

Jasmine Foo was born in Malaysia, and moved with her parents and brother to the US at age four. Her family moved a lot in the US when she was young, and Jasmine was often tested to determine her grade level, resulting in her skipping a few grades. She says that her mother was some thing of a ‘tiger mom’, always looking for extracurricular opportunities to advance her children’s education. In one instance, nine-year old Jasmine took a course in logic at the University of Houston taught by a family friend. Jasmine reports that she was near the top of this class, until one day when her mom forgot to bring her there, causing her to miss a quiz that hurt her standing within the class - her mom was heartbroken.

At age 15, Jasmine started at Brown University as an undergraduate. At first she imagined studying history or anthropology, but switched to math and physics after two inspiring math and physics classes as a sophomore. Undergraduate research experiences in cosmology and on cosmic microwave background radiation confirmed this direction and gave her contacts that led to her meeting her future PhD advisor George Karniadakis, again at Brown. She entered the Applied Math PhD program there in 2002 writing her thesis on numerical methods for PDEs with stochastic parameters.

She was also working on various applications at that time, and found that her interests began shifting toward problems in mathematical biology. In 2008, after her PhD, she took a postdoctoral position at Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York that enabled her to immerse herself in biology. She began working on mathematical models of cancer evolution, aimed toward improving clinical outcomes. Sloan-Kettering was already a familiar locale to Jasmine, because her mother had been treated for cancer there, before succumbing to the disease in 2003. Although Jasmine’s PhD work had been satisfying and stimulating, she began to feel ‘more motivated to get out of bed each morning’ by the challenges of modeling biological systems, and cancer in particular. In 2010, she moved with the group of her postdoctoral advisor Franziska Michor to Harvard, where Jasmine had a joint appointment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Harvard biostatistics department.

She joined our School of Mathematics in Fall 2011 and has continued her work in modeling and analysis of biological systems. Her work has been recognized by an NSF CAREER grant, a University of Minnesota McKnight - Land Grant Assistant Professorship, and mostly recently, by a Fulbright Fellowship which she will use for her upcoming sabbatical trip to Norway in 2018-19. Her first two PhD students are both graduating this year, one headed to a postdoc at the University of Michigan, and one to industry. Jasmine reports being ‘very excited to see the first batch of cookies out of the oven’. 

Much of Jasmine’s work is collaborative, often with biologists, and also with her spouse, Kevin Leder. The two met in graduate school and came to Minnesota at the same time, with Kevin joining our department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Jasmine reports many plusses associated with spousal collaboration: most couples can’t really understand exactly what their partner is doing in their job on a day-to-day basis. She finds that she and Kevin collaborate very well together, in lock-step, never bickering nor competitive, and that it is great to have him around to pick his brain on a research idea at any moment. She does report one minus: ‘When we are collaborating and research is going badly, it is like a blanket of gloom and darkness descends upon our house, and our marriage. Then you wish you were married to someone who doesn’t understand what you are working on!’

Jasmine and Kevin have two children, Audrey and Linden, ages 3 and 1. Jasmine says that having skipped a few grades early in school helped her a bit with the thorny problem that faces many women in academia: when to start raising kids. By being younger, she could wait until she was almost tenured. She says that a two-professor parenting team is very handy 90% of the time, because of the flexibility of their schedules, but difficult 10% of the time when both have an unavoidable commitment. They enjoy many interests, including travel and hiking, theater, and running. Jasmine has recently become involved in the protest against the closing of the University’s Child Development Center, attended by both of her children. A benefit of this political activity has been the opportunity to meet and work with a diverse group of faculty from across the University.

Jasmine is active in outreach, and gives talks to general audiences at local colleges. She is particularly proud of ‘Solve It!’, a one-week summer camp for area high school girls that she introduced and has run for the past four summers, funded partly by her CAREER grant, and partly by the University and other donors. Each day of the camp has a different theme, including ecology, math in medicine, and epidemic models. Although she finds the organization a bit stressful in the weeks leading up to it each summer, she is always very happy to have done it, as the girls love it, and Jasmine finds it helpful in her own teaching.

Jasmine belongs to two underrepresented groups within our department, women and Asian-Americans, and she comments that, unlike with women, Asian-Americans are often encouraged in STEM subjects by US society at large, and are also encouraged by their families to pursue non-academic professions that use these subjects. This has resulted in family members occasionally mentioning to her how the skills she is developing now might prove useful for ‘when she gets a real job’.

Steve Sperber

Steve Sperber was born in 1945 in Brooklyn and through his teen years grew up and was educated there. It was a wonderful time and place: it seemed as though the whole world was there, exuding a vibrant energy that made you feel alive. There was a sense of experimentation and taking things to new limits. Steve recalls hearing Jimi Hendrix in Greenwich Village on one occasion, as well as John Coltrane, Charlie Mingus and Ornette Coleman at the Five Spot Café, the Birdland Jazz Club and the Half Note.

Steve attended S.J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn. One of the other students there at this time was our colleague Bill Messing and they became lifelong friends. Steve recalls that they were both on the school math team, where they would compete against other New York high schools on Fridays. Attitudes towards this activity were not uniformly positive on the part of the school teachers. An excuse was necessary to get out of Phys Ed to compete on the team, and Steve remembers particularly an occasion when the teacher, Mr. O’Shea, took the opportunity to announce with evident sarcasm before the 200 students present, ‘Make way for the MATH team everyone.’

On graduating from Tilden High School Steve went to Brooklyn College entering in 1962 as a participant in the scholars’ program there. It is quite remarkable that three of our colleagues attended Brooklyn College at or about this time. Bill Messing went there a year ahead of Steve, and a year or two ahead of him was Jay Goldman, as well as Larry Smith, a frequent visitor to our department. These were not the only distinguished mathematicians to come through that college: Steve recalls being part of the 1963 Brooklyn College Putnam Exam team made up of himself, Bill Kantor and Robert Zarrow. They came in second in the nation.

Steve devoted much of his time to political questions that were in the fore in the 1960s, and that have concerned him throughout his life. He was active in the anti-war movement protesting the war in Vietnam, and also the civil rights movement, participating in demonstrations in New York and DC, and once in Chicago. He comes from a politically active family: his father was a volunteer who fought for the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War; his uncle was a New York City public school math teacher who was blacklisted during the McCarthy period and forced out of his teaching position; and his sister, Bernice Schrank, an English professor in Canada, was a union organizer for the faculty union in Canadian higher education. There is now an award in Canada, named after her, given for achievements in the defense of collective agreement provisions. Steve still has these concerns and is strongly aware of the great dangers of war and international aggression. He is concerned that so many people in our society have been marginalized by the prevailing culture and economy.

Steve entered graduate school at Harvard in 1966, and then in 1967 he began graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania working under Stephen Shatz. After some delay brought about by his political activities, Steve visited Messing at IHES outside Paris in the summer of 1972 and met Bernard Dwork there. He was inspired by Dwork’s work connecting p-adic methods with classical analysis in the study of questions in arithmetic algebraic geometry and number theory. Steve obtained his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania in 1975, under Shatz and Dwork, and this area of mathematics has remained of central interest to him throughout his career. He came to Minnesota in 1977 as Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1980, then Professor in 1983. He comments that Minnesota was very welcoming, a wonderful place to work and live.

Steve finds that the joy and excitement of mathematical discovery is one of the most exciting experiences one can have. The majority of his research papers are written jointly with other mathematicians. He and Alan Adolphson have worked together since 1977, publishing some 35 joint papers. He has also written multiple joint papers with our colleague Yasutaka Sibuya as well as Bombieri, Dwork, Haessig and Voight. He has held visiting positions at Princeton University, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, the IHES, MSRI in Berkeley as well as other places in France, Italy, China, and the former Soviet Union.

When not doing mathematics these days he takes pleasure in painting, in oil or acrylic and is part of the Florence Hill co-op that meets on Saturdays with a live model. When he first joined he was told of the past participation of our colleague Dan Pedoe. His wife Barbara has her own artistic interests. She is a poet and has a published book of poems, ‘In the Garden of our Own Making’. She has been working in recent years as a playwright and four of her works have been performed in Baltimore, Kansas City, New York City, and Minneapolis. They have two children, Rebecca and Jacob, and two grandchildren Emma and Will, all of whom live in the Twin Cities.

Scot Adams

Scot was born in 1959 in Billings, Montana, and moved around the country during his early childhood, including stints in Denver, Great Falls, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia, before his mother decided to move back to her home state of Minnesota. His adoptive father recognized his abilities and set out to nurture Scot’s intellect. When Scot was seven years old, his father gave him the Socratic dialogue “Meno,” which had a profound impact on his young mind. In a famous passage in the dialogue, Meno asks Socrates to elaborate on his claim that “learning is only a process of recollection.” Meno calls over one of his slave boys, who has no knowledge of geometry. Through a series of questions, Socrates leads the boy through the solution of a classical geometry problem, doubling a square.

Scot was fascinated by the notion that everybody has innate mathematical knowledge, in which case the process of mathematical discovery amounts to finding a way to recall the right ideas and bring them into the conscious mind. From that point forward, math held a special place in his mind. As a child it was hard to decipher all of the mathematics in the dialogue, but he was excited to learn from his mother that there are people called “mathematicians” who could think about those kinds of ideas all day.

Scot’s long association with our department began at age 13, when he began attending classes at the University of Minnesota instead of St. Anthony Village Middle School. He fondly remembers taking second-year calculus with John Baxter and an ODE course from Harvey Keynes, as well as classes from Tom Berger and Gene Fabes. After three years, he transferred to Cornell and finished his undergraduate studies there. At that point, as an 18-year old who had spent nearly one third of his life in college, Scot was feeling burned out by school, and accepted a position in the actuarial department at Lutheran Brotherhood in downtown Minneapolis. He already knew that graduate school was a possibility in his future, but this brief sabbatical from academic life gave him a chance to experience life off-campus and save some money.

Although he enjoyed his time at Lutheran Brotherhood, the work was largely computational, including a good deal of computer programming, and he found he missed the theoretical nature of his mathematics courses. After two years he returned to academia, earning his PhD in 1987 from the University of Chicago, under the direction of Robert Zimmer, who is now the President of that University. After graduating, Scot took a postdoctoral position at Stanford, then returned to Chicago, and eventually joined the faculty at Minnesota in 1992.

By the turn of the century, Scot began to focus on service to the department through a variety of positions. He spent 2002-2004 as the Associate Director of the IMA, and then took over from Paul Garrett as the Director of Graduate Studies. Beginning in 2007, he spent four years building a Masters in Financial Mathematics (MFM), which laid the groundwork for the eventual founding of the Minnesota Center for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics (MCFAM). Although the phrase “financial center” brings locations such as Chicago and New York to mind, the Twin Cities has a large number of insurance companies, banks and hedge funds. Scot was gratified to find a variety of people from the financial industry who were excited to share their expertise and teach in the department’s fledgling program.

Although he had spent time at Lutheran Brotherhood, the content of the financial math courses was unlike his work there, let alone his own mathematical research in the dynamics of Lie groups. Scot therefore had to learn a whole new area of mathematics, which he describes as both terrifying and exhilarating, and is all the more remarkable given the administrative work he was also doing at the time. He is quick to mention how he appreciated the willingness of Larry Gray, John Baxter, and Nick Krylov to answer his questions about probability theory that arose in the MFM courses.

In addition to those classes, Scot has taught a wide variety of other courses in the department. He continues to think about how, like Socrates in “Meno,” he can best help students discover the mathematics within - or, as he puts it, to “pull knowledge from the soul.” He points out that mathematics as a career can be competitive and political, but like his seven-year old self, he thinks mathematics as a subject is innate and natural. He describes math as the “Nexus of all rational beings,” and the excitement of a young child for mathematical discovery is still evident in his work today.


Rivière-Fabes Symposium

The 20th Rivière-Fabes symposium took place last Spring during the period April 28-30, 2017. It brought together over 50 mathematicians in Vincent Hall. The symposium featured an outstanding line-up of main speakers in partial differential equations and statistical mechanics: Manuel Del Pino (Universitad de Chile, an alumnus of our department), Phillip Isett (UT Austin), Sylvia Serfaty (Courant Institute, NYU) and Luis Silvestre (Chicago). About 40 PhD students and postdocs from all over the country came to Minneapolis for the event.

Conference in honor of Mitch Luskin

On September 23-25, 2017, the School of Mathematics hosted an International Conference honoring our colleague Mitchell Luskin on the occasion of his 65th birthday. With a very distinguished roster of organizers and speakers, the conference focused on future directions and challenges for multiscale modeling, analysis, and computation with applications to materials science, quantum and molecular mechanics, fluid and solid mechanics, chemistry, electronics, and optics. The workshop provided a unique venue for both senior and junior, theoretical and computational, multiscale researchers to exchange ideas on the progress of current multiscale research and develop future collaborations. The meeting was funded by the Army Research Office, the College of Science and Engineering, and the Department. An enjoyable and well-attended conference banquet was held in the Weisman Art Museum, where the speakers praised Mitch’s many fundamental contributions to the field.

CA+ Meeting

The fourth meeting of CA+, a regional conference in Commutative Algebra, was held September 22-23, 2017. This meeting alternates between the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Its goal is to promote a broad view of Commutative Algebra, inspiring conversations and collaborations between different areas of algebra. There were close to 70 participants, many of whom were graduate students and other early career mathematicians. Work from algebraic combinatorics, algebraic geometry, commutative algebra, and representation theory was highlighted by this year’s speakers, who were: Alexander Pavlov (Wisconsin), Claudia Polini (Notre Dame), Emily Witt (Kansas), Lauren Williams (UC Berkeley), Jay Yang (Wisconsin), and Alexander Yong (UIUC). The meeting also featured a discussion time between the speakers and small groups of graduate students to discuss both research and career development.

Conference in honor of Gennady Lyubeznik

The conference ‘Local cohomology in commutative algebra and algebraic geometry’ was held August 7 - 11, 2017, in celebration of the sixtieth birthday of Gennady Lyubeznik. The meeting highlighted recent advances in areas that have been of interest to Gennady throughout his distinguished career. The 18 speakers included former collaborators, postdocs, and graduate students of his, from seven different countries. They spoke on local cohomology, rings of prime characteristic, D-modules, and the homological conjectures, among other things. There were also two open problem sessions and a poster session featuring young researchers. The conference was well attended, with over 100 participants.

Midwest Combinatorics Conference

The 2017 Midwest Combinatorics Conference was held May 23-25, 2017 in Vincent Hall 16. It was a follow-up to the popular May 2015 Midwest Combinatorics Conference, both funded by the NSF Research Training Grant in Combinatorics held by Profs. Musiker, Pylyavskyy, Reiner and Stanton. There was no registration fee, and travel support was offered to roughly 60 non-local participants, with preference given to those more junior. Three plenary speakers each gave two lectures of 60 minutes each, on connections between combinatorics and representation theory, geometry, and complexity theory. They were Thomas Lam (Univ. Michigan), Greta Panova (U. Penn.), and John Shareshian (Washington Univ. in St. Louis). Additionally there were fifteen shorter talks by invited speakers mainly from Midwestern institutions, many of whom were former Minnesota combinatorics postdocs.

AMS Special Session in Honor of Dennis Stanton

A session titled ‘Special Functions and Combinatorics (in honor of Dennis Stanton’s birthday)’ was held at the January 2018 Joint Math Meetings of the AMS-MAA-SIAM in San Diego, organized by Dennis’s longtime collaborator Mourad Ismail, Dennis’s former student Susanna Fishel, and Vic Reiner. The event highlighted Dennis’s many deep and lasting contributions to both subjects in the title. The 20 speakers included eight from his math-genealogical tree, including his PhD advisor Richard Askey. The remaining speakers were chosen from among Dennis’s many collaborators. The lecture room was at times packed, with more than 70 people in the audience. Stories of Dennis’s kindness, warmth, and special nature abounded. The event also included a dinner with 50 attendees, with our colleague Dennis White as M.C. Two of Stanton’s siblings were present. His brother, Fred, told a story presaging Dennis’s mathematical career: as a boy, Dennis often found mistakes in the averages listed for baseball players on the backs of their trading cards, when they differed from his own meticulous records of the players’ data.

Remembering Former Colleagues

Bob Gulliver

Bob GulliverWe are all very shocked by the sad news that our long time colleague, Bob Gulliver, passed away on October 15, 2017. Bob was born in the city of Torrance, California, on July 24, 1945. He started out his undergraduate career at Stanford aiming at a degree in physics, only switching to mathematics during his junior year, and continuing at Stanford for graduate school. He worked first with Hans Samelson in algebraic topology, but found the machinery of that subject less inviting than differential geometry and variational problems. He worked for a time with Robert Finn, and finally wrote a thesis with Robert Osserman, on branch points of surfaces with constant mean curvature.

After his 1971 PhD, Bob was an instructor at U.C. Berkeley, which he found to be a stimulating environment. He enjoyed having an office close to those of Ed Spanier and Shiing-Shen Chern. Chern was one of the most prominent figures in twentieth century differential geometry, and he had many graduate students. Once or twice a week Bob would see a long line of these students outside Chern’s office, each waiting for their turn for a few minutes of wisdom. After Berkeley, Bob came to Minnesota in 1973.

Bob’s research work has spanned a wide range of topics related to differential geometry, partial differential equations and the calculus of variations. He made extensive and important contributions to the study of minimal surfaces. Stimulated by comments of our colleague Leon Green, he wrote a paper in 1975 on manifolds without conjugate points, which led to considerable research by others, as well as a joint paper with Leon in 1984. Much later Bob collaborated with Walter Littman and others in a series of papers on control theory, and at one time Fadil Santosa and his student Jing Wang approached him about a problem arising in multi-focal lens design. He ended up co-advising Jing on his thesis and the work led to a US patent that the University successfully licensed to a lens manufacturer. These were Bob’s Minnesota collaborations, but he collaborated with many around the world.

Bob served twice as Associate Director at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (1994-98 and 2001-2002), and was very engaged in the scientific life of the institute. He has had eight PhD students, and has held many visiting positions over the years, including Germany, particularly at the University of Bonn, as well as in Italy and Australia. He has also organized many international conferences including the Yamabe Memorial Symposiums here. He was also the joint editor of two books.

Recognizing Bob’s achievements, a conference on ‘Calculus of Variations and Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations’ was held in Hangzhou, China in 2005, jointly in honor of the sixtieth birthdays of Bob, Robert Hardt, and Leon Simon. Bob was unfortunately not able to attend this conference because he was the victim of a hit and run accident shortly before, while riding his bicycle. He did recover well, and was able to get back to riding his bike vigorously!

Bob is survived by wife of 31 years, Kathryn ‘Kacy’, son Jacob Gulliver, and brother John Gulliver, a professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo-Engineering here at the University of Minnesota. He participated actively in the life of his church (Grace Trinity Church in Uptown), singing in the choir there and serving on committees, and he met Kacy while they were both serving on such a committee. In a memorial service at the church on November 11, 2017, we heard reminiscences from many people, including anecdotes from Jacob attesting to the importance of family in Bob’s life. We heard of Bob’s sense of fun and his enthusiasms. These included travel and biblical archaeology (he subscribed to Biblical Archaeology Review), which were combined on sabbaticals visiting art museums. Apparently he had a soft spot for Madonna and Child paintings. Music was important to him: he had a life-long love of choral music, and earlier on he had played saxophone in the high school marching band (his father was director) as well as in a rock group. We heard of Bob’s medical circumstances when he was young. At the age of 3 he was diagnosed with polio, and as a teenager with Bell’s Palsy. On top of this he was affected by late onset type 1 diabetes from graduate school onwards. His spirit is very well captured by a composite photograph that was used at the church ceremony, and of which he was fond: Bob appears to be riding a motorcycle at high speed, with a reference to mathematics in the background, and there is an element of fantasy in this photograph. He loved company: we will miss his twinkle and good cheer.

 Hans Weinberger

Hans WeinbergerThe School of Mathematics expresses its profound sadness upon the passing of Hans Weinberger on Friday, September 15, 2017, in Durham, NC. Hans was a mainstay of the School during its modern era, and formed an essential component of its preeminence in analysis. He was renowned for his contributions to the analysis of partial differential equations, especially eigenvalue problems. He turned his attention to mathematical biology later in his career, and was active in research throughout his life. Indeed, even in retirement one could always see Hans hard at work (at least when not napping!) in his office on the fifth floor of Vincent Hall. Hans was also famous for seeming to doze off in seminar talks, only to engage the speaker at the end with his penetrating insight and questions.

Hans received his Ph.D. in 1950 from Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie-Mellon University). He joined the University of Minnesota in 1960 as full professor, and, after many years of dedicated service, retired to take on the role of professor emeritus in 1998. During that time he served as Department Head in 1967-69. Over the years, he supervised 9 Ph.D. students and published 114 papers, appearing between 1952 and 2015. He was honored by being elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1986, and was in the inaugural class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society in 2012. Hans was also the author of three influential books. His undergraduate text A First Course in Partial Differential Equations, published in 1965, was used in classes throughout the world, and introduced generations of undergraduates to this area. He also coauthored, with Murray Protter, a research monograph on Maximum Principles, an area in which he made profound contributions, as well as writing a book on Variational Methods for Eigenvalue Approximation, based on his Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences lectures at Vanderbilt University in 1972.

Hans was born in Vienna, Austria on September 27, 1928. His mother and father both studied medicine, with a specialty in dentistry and oral surgery, and they worked together in his grandfather’s practice. As the Nazis in Germany began to threaten Austria, as well as Jews in general, it seemed certain that Hitler would soon take over Austria. An uncle who was also a medical doctor had emigrated to the U.S. and wrote that the time had come to start applying for visas. They applied for several, and the ones for the U.S. came in first. So, in the Fall of 1938 they set sail for America and eventually settled in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Hans demonstrated an early aptitude for the sciences. He was a finalist in the Westinghouse Talent Search at the age of 17, receiving this recognition for designing a self-inflating life vest for the US Navy. He then attended Carnegie Tech, enrolling at a very young age. He stayed on to write a thesis under the direction of Richard Duffin, and counted John Nash and Raoul Bott, a fellow advisee, as classmates. By the age of 21, he had earned his Doctorate in Mathematics, and then joined the faculty of the University of Maryland in College Park where he spent ten years at the Institute for Fluid Dynamics and Applied Mathematics. As a young professor living in Washington D.C. Hans met his wife, Laura while attending a social event. He remained at Maryland for 10 years, and was then invited, by the Department Head Stefan Warschawski, to come to Minnesota. Hans became an integral part of the golden age for partial differential equations here, initiated by Art Milgram and Paul Rosenbloom, and his colleagues included Jim Serrin, Don Aronson, Walter Littman, Eugenio Calabi, among others. He just missed having Hidehiko Yamabe as a colleague.

In 1979, in response to the National Science Foundation’s request for proposals to establish a Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, Hans, George Sell, and Willard Miller, the then Department Head, submitted a proposal to establish the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) at the University of Minnesota. They boldly envisioned a mathematics institute that would look outward from the core of mathematics toward applications as enriching mathematics itself. With the successful funding of the IMA by NSF, Hans went on to serve as its first director, from 1982 to 1987. Under his leadership, the IMA quickly became known for its cutting-edge scientific programs, its unique atmosphere that encourages collaboration, and as a training ground for postdoctoral researchers. During his tenure, Hans was very engaged in the scientific life at the IMA, attending lectures and collaborating with visitors and postdocs. A recent director of the IMA, Fadil Santosa, has said ‘I am the caretaker of the house that Hans built’.

Hans is survived by his wife, Laura, his daughters, Catherine and Sylvia, and son, Ralph, and their families, including 8 grandchildren and a great-grandson. Mathematics and collaboration with colleagues remained a lifelong passion for Hans, who made a daily bus trip to his office as a Professor Emeritus for 18 years following his ‘retirement’ up until he and Laura moved to North Carolina in 2016 to be closer to their family. In spite of his impressive accomplishments, Hans was the most modest and accessible person one could ever meet, and was exceptionally generous with his time and his ideas. He will be sorely missed.

Margie Voelker

Margie (Marge) Voelker, long-time Mathematics Librarian, died on October 17, 2017, at the age of 92. Marge was born June 23, 1925 in Hastings, MN. She graduated from the College of St. Benedict in 1947 with a degree in Mathematics and Physics. She also received her Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota in Library Science in 1968. She became Associate Professor and Head Librarian of the Mathematics Library at the University of Minnesota, and retired in 1987 after more than 18 years of service. Her gentle manner is fondly remembered among the faculty, but she also successfully resisted having the Math Library consolidated into a central location, as the other science libraries were, with support rising to activism from the mathematics faculty.

She published a compilation of winners of mathematics prizes in the School of Mathematics’ report series (Margie L Voelker, “Prizes in Mathematics,” University of Minnesota mathematics report no. 85-139 (1986), Mathematics Library QA99 .V63x). Such information was hard to find in the pre-internet days, and her report served as the basis for a book published by her successor, Janice Jaguszewski.

Marge was active in the main professional organization for mathematics librarians, the Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics (PAM) division of the Special Libraries Association, having been elected to the Executive Board and serving as Secretary 1979-1981. She also served on various PAM committees and led the mathematics librarian workshop at the Detroit conference in 1982. Her husband, Karl Voelker, and son Mark predeceased her. She is survived by children Ann, Mary and John, 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Awards and Recognition

Mitch Luskin

Professor Mitchell Luskin was named the first IPAM Simons Participant at the Institute for Pure & Applied Mathematics in the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) during their program “Complex High-dimensional Energy Landscapes” which began on September 11, 2017. A conference on Multiscale Theory and Computation in honor of Prof. Luskin’s 65th birthday was also held at the University of Minnesota on September 23- 25, 2017 (see elsewhere in this newsletter).

Peter Polacik

Professor Peter Polacik was named Fellow of the American Mathematical Society for 2018 for contributions to partial differential equations and infinite-dimensional dynamical systems.


Bert Fristedt

Bert FristedtBert Fristedt retired at the end of 2017. He joined the faculty of our department first in 1963 on a one-year appointment, after which he was appointed at Carleton College for a year. In 1965 he returned to the University of Minnesota as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1970 and to Full Professor in 1982 remaining here apart from time spent at the University of Wisconsin in 1970-71 and the University of Liverpool in 1978-79. In all, he provided over 50 years of service to the department, serving as Coordinator of the Actuarial Science Program of the School of Mathematics during 1982-83 and 1984-1986, and as Director of Undergraduate Studies 1988-1990. He has been an outstanding teacher, receiving two awards for this. The first was the Morse-Amoco Teaching Award (1986), now known as the Morse-Alumni Teaching Award, and the second was an award for quality mentoring of graduate students in 1994. More than these awards, the quality of his teaching has been widely recognized, in many contexts. He has advised four Ph.D. students, two Master’s students, and a large number (around 30) of undergraduate senior projects.

Bert attended Hopkins High School in the early 1950s, graduating there with high honors in 1955. He did well academically, and was also an outstanding athlete. At Hopkins he played football, and writes that he played a large array of defenses: he would call the defense, after which the three linebackers (himself included) would call a variation in that defense appropriate for the defensive players near them. His success led him to be chosen to the Star-Tribune 11-man all-state team, and it also resulted in numerous newspaper entries relating to him in 1955. As well as football, he represented Hopkins in track and field, and placed second in the discus throw in a state meet. Bert was offered a football scholarship to attend the University of Minnesota, but he decided to turn it down in order to have more study time. In addition to his own athletic achievements, Bert comments that in 1956 Shirin Wesley, who was later to become his wife and was 15 years old at the time, won five track and field events at the Allahabad (India) regional championships: 100 and 200 meter dashes, 80 meter hurdles, long jump and javelin throw.

Graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1959 Bert went on to MIT, where he completed his Ph.D. in 1963 under Henry McKean Jr, in the area of probability. This part of mathematics and related areas have remained his lifelong research interest. During his career Bert has produced more than 30 research papers, on a range of topics, and has written three books: a text written with Larry Gray that Bert has used for a graduate course on probability; a research monograph written with Donald Berry (Statistics Dept.) on ‘Bandit problems’; and a text written with Naresh Jain and Nick Krylov called, ‘Filtering and prediction: a primer,’ also used for a course on that topic.

Bert has always had a strong interest in education. In 2003 he and Larry Gray were invited by the Minnesota State Commissioner of Education to be part of a committee of 40 charged with rewriting the state education standards. He later became part of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, set up in response to an executive order by President George W. Bush to advise on the best use of scientifically based research on the teaching and learning of math. Bert belonged to the Assessment Task Group and to the Instructional Materials Subcommittee and the panel produced its final report in March 2008. With the perspective of this experience, he later advised against the adoption by Minnesota of the Common Core Standards in mathematics, finding them to be over-prescriptive, and indeed these standards were not adopted by Minnesota.

In retirement Bert is living in Bloomington and, so far, he has been playing and teaching the game of bridge quite seriously. He has also devised a way to play duplicate cribbage, the issue being to restore the order of the cards so that subsequent players can play the same hand. A departmental retirement dinner was held on May 1, 2017 to honor his achievements and his contributions as a colleague. Many got up to share their recollections of him as an individual and of his outstanding service. The consensus is that he is one of the kindest, most congenial people that we could hope to meet. We wish him the very best for the future.

MathCEP Wins 2018 AMS Award for an Exemplary Program

MathCEP awardThe School of Mathematics was delighted to learn that its Math Center for Education Programs (MathCEP) is the recipient of the 2018 AMS Award for an Exemplary Program or Achievement in a Mathematics Department for its outreach programs aimed at K-12 children, teachers, graduate students, and postdocs. The AMS created the award to recognize departments that have distinguished themselves by creating particularly effective programs of value to the mathematics community. The citation focused on the University of Minnesota Talented Youth Mathematics Program (UMTYMP), which has served more than 6,000 students over the past 40 years, but also praised the center’s many other outreach programs for students and professional development for teachers. The award is a tribute to the efforts of all the current and former MathCEP staff and faculty, and especially Harvey Keynes’s vision and work in the department.

As part of the announcement, the May 2018 Notices of the AMS includes a history of UMTYMP and MathCEP


Russell Johnson

Russell Johnson, a University of Minnesota BA and PhD alumnus, died on August 16, 2017. Russell was born in Fairmont, Minnesota, in 1947, and earned his Ph.D in 1975 under the guidance of Robert Ellis with a thesis entitled “Topological and Measure-Theoretic Properties of Compact Transformation Groups with Free Action”. During his graduate studies here, he also worked closely with George Sell. From 1976 to 1991 he was on the math faculty of the University of Southern California. In 1991, he moved to the University of Florence, Italy, where he spent the remainder of his distinguished career. He mentored 5 PhD students of his own, and published over 130 papers. He was an internationally known expert in dynamical systems, including topological dynamics and ergodic theory, and was recognized as a leader in the area of non-autonomous systems

Hubert Walczak

Hubert Walczak, a University of Minnesota PhD alumnus, passed away on January 31, 2018. Hubert received his Ph.D in 1963 under the guidance of Edgar Reich, with a thesis on distortion theorems for quasiconformal mappings. He became a distinguished and revered professor of mathematics at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving in this capacity for 33 years. His classes often began with weather anecdotes and statistics, and he would have been an accomplished meteorologist. In recognition of his impact on thousands of students over the years, many of whom went on to distinguished industry and academic careers, he was awarded the honors of Teacher of the Year and Professor of the Year at St. Thomas.

School of Mathematics Center for Educational Programs (MathCEP)

This year brought major changes to the Math Center for Educational Programs. For years, MathCEP has run a wide variety of programs for K-12 students and teachers, ranging from summer professional development programs for teachers to the University of Minnesota Talented Youth Mathematics Program (UMTYMP). To support these programs, MathCEP has hired postdocs with a teaching emphasis and worked closely with the department’s Masters in Math with an Emphasis in Math Education program. Overall this meant MathCEP was involved in mathematics education at all ages except the undergraduate level. At the same time, faculty members such as Mike Weimerskirch and Duane Nykamp have been revamping the department’s undergraduate courses in algebra, precalculus and calculus for biology students, often working on the same kinds of projects that UMTYMP faculty were involved in. Thus, MathCEP was expanded this year to to create one umbrella organization in the department that can serve the college, state and region as a leader in mathematics education.

Jonathan Rogness has been the Director of MathCEP since 2010. He continues as the center’s Director of Educational Programs, encompassing the previous programs such as UMTYMP and enrichment. Mike Weimerskirch has produced a video text book series for college algebra, trigonometry and introductory probability courses, and is working to update the department’s placement exam. He will continue this work as MathCEP’s Director of Educational Innovation. Duane Nykamp joins the center as the Director of Strategic Initiatives, and will focus on developing curriculum and educational technology, and securing grants and additional resources.

IMA News

After the NSF’s decision to ramp down funding, the IMA decided to move away from annual thematic programs and pivot to a model that can quickly respond to the evolving landscape of applied mathematics. After a call for proposals to the community, a group of five major activities were formed for the 2017-2018 year, and several of these programs continue to run through the summer and fall of 2018. It has been a very busy year at the institute!

Faculty from the School of Mathematics have been instrumental in several of these year-long activities, including Carme Calder, Mitch Luskin and Yoichiro Mori, who ran a large program on “Multiscale Mathematics in Material Science and Energy”. This program included a wide range of activities, from workshops and long term visitors to small focused working groups. A program in precision medicine was co-organized by Jasmine Foo. A third program, organized by Ben Brubaker and Gregg Musiker, set up coding sprints, designed to develop software for use by academic and industrial scientists in the open source mathematics language, SageMath.

An exciting development occurred during the 2017-2018 year as a new data science consortium started, under the sponsorship of Target Corporation and Cargill, Inc. These grants provide support for six industrial postdocs, who spend half of their time working on projects directed by industrial scientists and the other half at the IMA under faculty mentorship working on their research program. Augmenting the postdoc program are semester-long focus periods that include workshops, long-term visitors, and training programs. The first thematic program began this spring 2018 and focused on “Spatial-Temporal Data Science”. The IMA is currently gearing up for a fall 2018 program on machine learning and the supply chain. Along with the activities associated to the consortium, the director of the IMA’s Data Science Lab, Gilad Lerman, organized a year-long seminar series in data science.

As has been the case in its recent history, the IMA will be busy over the summer. In addition to four workshops in stochastic control and optimization, the institute will host its third “Mathto- Industry Boot Camp” for graduate students and a fifth “Math Modeling Camp for High School Students,” held in conjunction with MathCEP. Finally, there will be two special workshops: at the end of May, “Bridging Sheaves and Statistics” organized by Justin Curry, and “Workshop for Women in Mathematical Biology,” organized by Jasmine Foo; in August the IMA will host a “Tutorial on Multiparameter Persistence, Computation and Applications.”

Finally, the Sixth Abel Conference, in honor of Robert Langlands, is being organized for the fall of 2018. This conference series, which celebrates the work of the Abel laureate, is a collaboration between the IMA and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Langlands is recognized for the visionary program that aims to build connections between representation theory and number theory.

Minnesota Center for Financial & Actuarial Mathematics (MCFAM)

 MCFAM had another active year in 2017-18 with many student, alumni, program and teaching collaborations. About 170 alumni, students and teachers celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Master of Financial Mathematics (MFM) program at MFM reunions in Minneapolis and Shanghai.

A MCFAM team of 5 undergraduate Actuarial and MFM students competed in a data analytics competition on Nov 4, 2017. It was sponsored by MinneAnalytics, a nonprofit association of the Twin Cities big data, data science and analytics community.

MCFAM had another active year in 2017-18 with many student, alumni, program and teaching collaborations. About 170 alumni, students and teachers celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Master of Financial Mathematics (MFM) program at MFM reunions in Minneapolis and Shanghai.

A MCFAM team of 5 undergraduate Actuarial and MFM students competed in a data analytics competition on Nov 4, 2017. It was sponsored by MinneAnalytics, a nonprofit association of the Twin Cities big data, data science and analytics community. Our team made it to the finals and ranked 3rd, out of 51 competing universities in the Graduate division; they had the 2nd highest rank for prediction accuracy.

Dr. Katherine Kovarik, who teaches actuarial and financial mathematics courses for MCFAM, joined the Center full time in September of 2017. She has a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from Columbia University and taught courses in mathematics for 12 years at the University of St. Thomas and Pace University. Katherine also spent time in industry as a financial risk manager in New York City.

MCFAM, MathCEP and Wells Fargo are co-hosting a Girls Machine Learning Summer Day Camp for one week in June, 2018. The goal of the camp is to engage high school girls in the exciting and growing field of machine learning in a friendly and stimulating environment on the University of Minnesota Campus.

We welcomed two MCFAM Distinguished Lectures in 2017-18. Dr. Raphael Douaday (Stony Brook), was our fall 2017 lecturer, presenting on Dominant Factor Analysis by Nonlinear Polymodels. On March 1, 2018 Dr. James Guszcza (Deloitte), gave the Spring MCFAM Distinguished Lecture on AI in the Age of Data Science. The lectures attracted wide interest and a roundtable with faculty members and local practitioners on March 2nd was also highly productive and well received.

Minnesota Center for Industrial Mathematics (MCIM)

MCIM aims to expose our graduate students to the mathematical challenges and skills that arise in industry, while helping them become either leaders in industry or leaders in academia with broad background in industrial applications. It also aims to foster research collaborations between industrial and academic researchers.

The joint IMA/MCIM Industrial Problems Seminar has been very active and hosted a wide range of industrial speakers from corporations that include Battelle, CH Robinson, ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, Honeywell, Intel Corporation, J.P. Morgan, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories, Mayo Clinic, Merck & Co, National Security Agency, New York Life Insurance, Optum, Sentek Systems and When I Work. The seminar talks provide a window on the daily activities of mathematicians in industry. Moreover, the industrial visitors get to learn about the strength and expertise within our department. These visits resulted in several summer internships as well as discussions that may potentially turn into collaborations. By early April, internships were arranged for our students in different companies including Center for Communications Research - La Jolla, Galois Inc, General Dynamics Mission Systems, Metro Transit (Strategic Initiatives Department), Novartis, Stratysys, Target and XLP Capital. Help with industrial positions was also offered to graduating students and current postdocs.

A research collaboration has been continued this year with a 3M researcher, while involving a graduate student. Additional activities of MCIM include maintaining and updating a webpage with resources on industrial internships as well as working together with the SIAM students’ chapter at UMN and the Career Center for Science and Engineering to help improve the professional development of our graduate students.

Math Library News

As part of the Mathematics Library’s services and collections balancing multiple formats, this year saw an expansion in e-book access to include the current titles published by Wiley and Elsevier. These publisher packages join existing access to most e-books from SIAM, CRC Press, and Springer. Print books, of course, continue to be selected for the physical collection - and checked out - as math researchers and students clearly value them. The hybrid MyCopy system offered by Springer, whereby UMN individuals can purchase a much-discounted print copy of the e-books that the library licenses, continues to be of interest.

Openly sharing UMN-produced material, including undergraduate honors theses or posters, through the University Digital Conservancy ( was one of the various publishing issues on which the math librarian, Kris Fowler, provided consultations. Some math lecture notes, pre-prints, papers, and books have already been deposited in the UDC, but more would be welcome, both to readers worldwide and to authors who can thereby increase their reach. Kris also contributed content for Prof. Doug Arnold’s research ethics program, which focused on evolving issues and opportunities in journal publishing, for the School of Mathematics retreat.

A new student-focused program in the Math Library featured snacks and games during finals week. These “Stressbuster” activities, which library assistant Lynn Tran coordinated with other campus libraries, were designed to give students a relaxing break at a busy time, and based on the number of granola bars consumed and coloring pages posted on the bulletin board, they were appreciated!

Undergraduate Program

Graduate teaching assistants Harini Chandramouli, Shelley Kandola, and Tara Palnitkar received the 2016-17 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. The instructional evaluation committee received more than 900 nominations from students in support of their Math TAs.

Twenty-eight math majors will be awarded 2018-19 departmental merit scholarships from the Dalaker, Gilquist, Hart, Lando, Othmer, and Rasmussen funds, totaling $70,000. Faculty advisers selected nine Outstanding Graduates in Mathematics for 2018. Seven will attend graduate school as follows: Kendra Bergstedt (NSF graduate fellowship in physics, Princeton); Kelly Catlin (Stanford, computational mathematics and engineering); Hannah Davis (UC San Diego, computer science); Elena Hafner (Cornell, mathematics); Owen Levin (U. Wisconsin, Madison, computer science); Ryan Vogt (U. of Washington, applied mathematics); Lucy Yang (NSF graduate fellowship in mathematics, Harvard). The remaining two are Steven Gilpin (hedging analyst for Allianz Life), and Ian McMeeking (teaching secondary mathematics through Colorado’s Boettcher Teacher Residency).

The School of Mathematics joined the university’s Writing- Enriched Curriculum program in 2017-8. The WEC program provides resources to departments as they infuse discipline-specific writing instruction into their curricula. Professor Craig Westerland is serving as our faculty liaison to the WEC program.

Graduate Program

Graduate Student Fellowship Awards

Richard McGehee, Director of Graduate Studies in Mathematics and The Graduate School congratulates the following graduate students who received fellowships.

Dallas Albritton, National Defense Science & Engineering (NDSEG) Graduate Fellowship, Vladimir Sverak advisor.

Loren Anderson, 2017 National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellowship, Gilad Lerman, advisor.

Montie Avery, 2017 College of Science & Engineering (CSE) Graduate Fellowship, Svitlana Mayboroda, advisor

Sarah Brauner, 2017 College of Science & Engineering (CSE) Graduate Fellowship, Gregg Musiker advisor

Olivia Cannon, 2017 College of Science & Engineering (CSE) Graduate Fellowship, Paul Garrett advisor

William Frazier, 2017 Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE) Fellowship, Richard McGehee, advisor.

Tyler Maunu, 2017 Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, Robust Energy Landscapes of Non-convex Structured Data Problems, Gilad Lerman, advisor.

Katherine Meyer, 2017 Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship (IDF), Synthesizing new mathematical models of disturbance with ecological data., Richard McGehee, advisor.

Laurel Ohm, 2017 Torske Klubben Fellowship, Yoichiro Mori advisor, Daniel Spirn co-advisor.

Maria Sanchez Muniz, 2017 Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE) Fellowship, Richard McGehee, advisor.

Adrienne Sands, 2017 National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellowship, Paul Garrett, advisor.

Samuel Stewart, National Defense Science & Engineering (NDSEG) Graduate Fellowship, Vladimir Sverak advisor.

Lillian Webster, 2017 College of Science & Engineering (CSE) Graduate Fellowship, Gregg Musiker advisor.

Joshua Wilson, 2017 U.S. Department of Defense (DOE) Science Graduate Student Research Fellowship, Fadil Santosa, advisor.

Ph.D. Graduating Students

Richard McGehee, Director of Graduate Studies in Mathematics and The Graduate School congratulate our recent graduating Ph.D. students (May 2017 to February, 2018).

Andersen, Heidi, Symplectic Flexibility and the Hard Lefschetz Property, Tian-Jun Li, advisor, Postdoctoral Instructor, Mathematics, University of Dallas, Irving, TX

Arnaldsson, Orn, Involutive Moving Frames, Peter Olver, Advisor, Postdoc, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland

Dassbach, Paula, Computational Aspects of Energy Minimization of the Landau-de Gennes Model for Liquid Crystals, Calderer, Carme, advisor, Senior Scientist, Medtronic, Minneapolis, MN

Douvropoulos, Theodosios, Applications of geometric techniques in Coxeter-Catalan combinatorics, Victor Reiner, advisor, Postdoctoral Researcher, CNRS: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France

Foldes, Robert, Nucleation of Cavities in Gels, Ronald Siegel, advisor, ARxC Analyst, Aon, Minneapolis, MN

Goes, John, Robust Sparse Covariance Estimation, Gilad Lerman, advisor, Quantitative Researcher, Fixed Income, Lord Abbett & Co., Jersey City, NJ

Gray, Nathan, Metaplectic Ice for Cartan Type C, Benjamin Brubaker, advisor, Visiting Lecturer/Assistant Professor, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA

Grodzicki, William, The Non-Split bessel Model on GSp(4) as an Iwahori-Hecke Algebra Module, Benjamin Brubaker, advisor, Visiting Assistant Professor, Mathematics, Statistics, & Computer Science, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN

Hahn, Jonathan, Rate-Dependent Bifurcations and Isolating Blocks in Nonautonomous Systems, Richard McGehee, advisor, Data Scientist, World Wide Technology, Minneapolis, MN

Hill, Jonathan, Fundamental Solutions and Green Functions for Nonhomogeneous Second Order Elliptic Operators with Discontinuous Coefficients, Svitlana Mayboroda, advisor; Data Scientist, 3M, St. Paul, MN

Li, Jun, Symplectomorphism Group of Rational 4-Manifolds, Li, Tian-Jun, advisor; Postdoctoral Assistant Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Ortan, Alexandra, Efficient numerical algorithms for virtual design in nanoplasmonics, Fadil Santosa, advisor, Senior Data Scientist, Bloomberg Law, New York, NY

Saglam, Kadriye Nur, Construction of New Exotic Symplectic 4-Manifolds and Fillings of Contact 3-Manifolds, Anar Akhmedov, advisor, Visiting Assistant Professor, University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA

Shen, Jiguang, Hybridizable discontinuous Galerkin method for nonlinear elasticity, Bernardo Cockburn, advisor, Computational Software Engineer, Schlumberger Information Solutions, Houston, TX

Valdebenito, Dario, Existence of Quasiperiodic Solutions of Elliptic Equations on the Entire Space, Peter Polacik, advisor; CRC Postdoctoral Fellow, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Wan, Chen, A Local Trace Formula and the Multiplicity One Theorem for the Ginzburg-Rallis Model, Dihua Jiang, advisor; Member, Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) School of Mathematics, Princeton, NJ

Other News

The first Mathematics Project at Minnesota (MPM) was held in January 2018. MPM is a four day, annual workshop for underrepresented undergraduates who are interested in mathematics. Participation in this first workshop was restricted to undergraduate women at the University of Minnesota and topics of the workshop included community building, combating impostor syndrome, and requirements of the math major, among others. Professors Christine Berkesch Zamaere and Jasmine Foo gave tutorials on permutation groups and error-correcting codes. Current graduate students Alice Nadeau, Kim Logan, and Harini Chandramouli developed MPM in the spring and fall of 2017. With the help of many graduate student volunteers, MPM established a mentoring program between graduate students and undergraduate math majors and kickstarted a weekly undergraduate research seminar. Funding for MPM was provided by the WATCH US Grant (Nebraska), Campus Climate Grant (Minnesota), and the College of Science and Engineering.

Contact Information

School of Mathematics
University of Minnesota
127 Vincent Hall
206 Church Street S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Telephone: (612) 625-5591
Fax: (612) 626-2017

Department Head:
Peter Olver

Telephone: (612) 625-5591

Graduate Studies
Richard McGehee, Director

Telephone: (612) 624-6391

Undergraduate Studies:
Bryan Mosher, Director
Telephone: (612) 625-4848

Minnesota Center for Financial & Actuarial Mathematics (MCFAM)
Rina Ashkenazi, Academic Diector
Laurie Derechin, Executive Director
Telephone: (612) 626-8057

Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA)
Daniel Spirn, Director
Benjamin Brubaker, Deputy Director
400 Lind Hall
207 Church Street S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0463
Telephone: (612) 624-6066
Fax: (612) 626-7370

Minnesota Center for Industrial Mathematics (MCIM)
Gilad Lerman, Director

Telephone: (612) 625-2004
Fax: (612) 624-3333

School of Mathematics Center for Educational Programs (MathCEP)
Duane Nykamp, Director of Strategic Initiatives
Jonathan Rogness, Director of Educational Programs
Mike Weimerskirch, Director of Educational Innovation
4 Vincent Hall
206 Church Street S.E.
Minneapolis, Mn 55455
Telephone: (612) 625-2861
Fax: (612) 626-2017

The Newsletter Committee is composed of Peter Webb (Chair), Greg Anderson, Bonny Fleming, Peter Olver, Victor Reiner, Jonathan Rogness, Harry Singh.