# News

## department of mathematics

### Stephanie Ger Receives McCarthy Prize, Scholar Of The College Thesis

Stephanie Ger '14 was awarded the McCarthy Prize for her Scholar Of The College senior thesis. Scholar of the College is an honor given at Commencement to exceptional students who have excelled academically in their undergraduate studies and who have done substantial independent work of the highest quality for a significant part of their senior year. The McCarthy Prize recipients are chosen by a panel of reviewers from all completed SOC projects; this year Stephanie was one of two awardees in the natural sciences. Her thesis, "Existence, Uniqueness and Stability of Splay States in Networks of Coupled Oscillators," supervised by Rennie Mirollo, analyzes the existence and uniqueness of certain highly symmetric periodic states in systems of coupled oscillators motivated by superconducting circuit arrays. Congratulations Stephanie!

### In Memorium: Paul Sally Jr.; 1933-2013

**Dr. Paul Sally Jr. '54, MA '56**, renowned mathematician and educator, died Dec. 30, 2013. Paul was a great friend and supporter of the Boston College Math Department. Among many initiatives, he endowed the Sally Award, which is given to a graduating senior who has shown true academic distinction in a demanding program in Mathematics at Boston College. An article on Dr. Sally appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of *Boston College Magazine, *and an obituary appeared in the *UChicagoNews.*

* *

### Prof. Sol Friedberg Named AMS Fellow

Congratulations to **Sol Friedberg** for being named a Fellow of the AMS! Prof. Friedberg was specifically honored *"For contributions to number theory, representation theory, and automorphic forms, and for the establishment of a new Ph.D. program in mathematics."*

### New External Grants

Math Professors **CK Cheung** and **Solomon Friedberg**, together with the LSOE's Prof. **Lillie Albert**, have been awarded a 6-year, $1.6 million, NSF grant entitled "Exemplary Mathematics Educators for High-need Schools." In addition, Profs. **Friedberg**, **Avner Ash**, **Tao Li**, **Mark Reeder** and **Rob Meyerhoff** have received new federal grants for their mathematics research. Congratulations Avner, CK, Sol, Tao and Rob.

### International Cooperation

BC's Math Department has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mathematical Sciences Center and Department of Mathematical Sciences at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, to encourage cooperation and the exchange of scholars.

### Careers in Mathematics: A Panel Discussion; Oct. 30, 6 PM, Lyons 202

Interested in a math-related career? Curious to learn about your options? Panelists will discuss how they use their math degrees in their careers, why they chose the paths they chose, and more.

Panelists this year include our own Jenny Baglivo, along with

- a visiting professor at SIAM who has written several books on using math modeling to address various environmental and social problems
- a researcher from MIT Lincoln Lab who does weather forecasting for the FAA
- a wealth management advisor and VP at Merrill Lynch

*Come in costume!* (*The best mathematical costume wins a prize...*)

### BC Math Society Undergrad Lecture Series

Professor Greene kicked off our BCMS Undergraduate Lecture Series on Wednesday, October 9th in Carney 309 at 3pm. He spoke about: **The Dowry Problem** How long should you spend driving your car in search of gasoline off of a highway exit? Whom should you marry? The constant e will play a miraculous role in the solution to these questions and more.

### Putnam Prep Sessions

The BC Problem Group will began preparation sessions for the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition on Wednesday, September 25, at 4:00 in Carney 309. For information about the Putnam, see http://math.scu.edu/putnam/. All undergraduates are invited, and interested students should contact Prof. Keane, Fedorchuk, or Cebanu.

### ICM Invitation

**Prof. Tao Li** has been invited to speak at the 2014 International Congress of Mathematicians, one of mathematics’ highest honors.

### McIntyre Chair

Professor of Mathematics **Solomon Friedberg** – who during his tenure as chair of the department has overseen a period of unprecedented growth and achievement — recently was appointed the James P. McIntyre Professor of Mathematics.

### NSF Graduate Fellowship Award

Congratulations to Lisa Piccirillo '13, who has been awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics.

### First Math Ph.D.

Congratulations to **David Hansen**, who recently received

Boston College's first Ph.D. in math ever.

### Sloan Fellows

Congratulations to Assistant Profs. **Joshua Greene** and **David Treumann** who have been selected as 2013 Sloan Fellows in recognition of their outstanding scholarship.

### Distinguished Ordway Lecturer

**Solomon Friedberg**, Professor and Chair, has been selected as Distinguished Ordway Lecturer at the University of Minnesota. Prof. Friedberg will give a series of lectures there during the 2013-2014 academic year.

### Tao Li promoted to Full Professor

Congratulations to **Tao Li**, who has been promoted to Full Professor in recognition of his professional accomplishments in scholarship, teaching and service.

__BC to host American Mathematical Society meeting__

Boston College will be the site of the Eastern Sectional Meeting of the American Mathematical Society on April 6-7, 2013, featuring lectures on everything from low dimensional topology to financial mathematics. Registration fee for students $5.

### Don Wiener

We announce with sadness the passing of **Don Wiener**, who served as an adjunct faculty member for many years. Donations in his memory may be made to the American Cancer Society.

### Undergraduate Summer Opportunities: Apply Now

Now is the time to apply for summer programs in math. Most pay all expenses and award a stipend. There are REUs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates), SIBS (summer institutes in biostatistics), and also two special programs for women, including one open to rising sophomores and juniors.

REUs:

www.ams.org/programs/students/undergrad/emp-reu

www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/list_result.cfm?unitid=5044

SIBS:

www.nhlbi.nih.gov/funding/training/redbook/sibsweb.htm

Special programs for Women

www.math.carleton.edu/smp/

### Prof. Bridgeman receives Simons Fellowship

Congratulations to Professor **Martin Bridgeman** who has been awarded a prestigious Simons Fellowship. The fellowship will provide funding for a semester research leave allowing Prof. Bridgeman to take a full year sabbatical in academic year 2013-2014.

### De Rham Speaker

Congratulations to Prof. **Robert Meyerhoff** who will give one of the two invited addresses at the Journée Georges de Rham 2013 in EPF Lausanne. The organizers invite two speakers of international reputation who present their vision of contemporary mathematics and of future developments.

### Opportunities for Graduate Students

BC is a node of the NSF-funded grant on Geometric Structures and Representation Varieties, providing funds for graduate students to visit BC to work with Prof. **Martin Bridgeman**, as well as BC graduate students to visit other nodes as part of the project's Research Experiences for Graduate Students program.

**Jia-Wei Guo** has received a fellowship from Taiwan's National Science Council to visit BC for 8 months while he pursues his Ph.D. in Taiwan. He will study under the superivision of Prof. **Solomon Friedberg**.

### New Record for Majors

Math now has over 250 majors counting only sophomores, juniors and seniors, a new record, and an increase of over 40% from five years ago.

### AMS Fellow

Prof. **Avner Ash** is one of the American Mathematical Society's inaugural class of Fellows. Congratulations, Avner!

### Elite Journal Publications

Congratulations to Profs. **Maksym Fedorchuk **(Inventiones), **Josh Greene** (Inventiones, Annals), **Ben Howard** (Annals), **Tao Li** (JAMS) and **David Treumann** (Inventiones) who have had papers accepted or recently appear in one of the top 3 math journals.

### New Grants

Congratulations to math faculty members **John Baldwin**, **Ian Biringer**, **Maksym Fedorchuk**, **Joshua Greene**,** Eli Grigsby**, **Ben Howard**, and **David Treumann** who all received new NSF grants in support of their research this spring or summer. And congratulations to faculty members **Avner Ash** and **Sol Friedberg** who have been informed that they will soon receive new NSA grants in support of their research. With on-going NSF grants held by **Dawei Chen**, **C-K Cheung**, **Sol Friedberg**, **Eli Grigsby**, **Ben Howard**, **Dubi Kelmer**, **Tao Li** and **Mark Reeder**, a Simons Fellowship held by **Rob Meyerhoff**, and an NSF conference grant held by **Martin Bridgeman**, **Rob Meyerhoff** and **Tao Li**, this represents the highest number of math faculty holding external grants in the history of the department.

### New Book

Congratulations to part-time faculty member Dr. **Paul Garvey** whose new book on Risk Analysis was just published.

### Special Events for Majors

The **Block Party for Majors**, including advice about courses for next semester, takes place on April 5, 2013 in Carney 309, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Co-sponsored by the BCMS.

And "Careers in Mathematics: a Panel Discussion," co-organized by the BCMS and the BC Career Center, takes place November 13, 5:30 p.m. at 9 Lake Street, Room 100.

### New Books by Math Faculty

**Avner Ash** and **Rob Gross**: "Elliptic Tales: Curves, Counting, and Number Theory" (Princeton University Press).

**Solomon Friedberg**: "Multiple Dirichlet Series, L-Functions and Automorphic Forms" (Progress in Mathematics, Birkhauser), co-editor with D. Bump and D. Goldfeld and co-author.

**Ben Howard**: "Intersections of Hirzebruch-Zagier divisors and CM cycles (Lecture Notes in Mathematics, Springer-Verlag), joint with T. Yang.

### Welcome BC Students

Welcome to all new and returning BC students. Considering a math major? It's a broad and critical discipline and the path to a wide range of exciting careers. Wondering what mathematicians do. Look www.ams.org and mathalumninetwork.

### New Faculty Join Math Department

We welcome new Assistant Professors **Ian Biringer**, **Maksym Fedorchuk** and **David Treumann**, new Visiting Assistant Professors **Radu Cebanu**, **Aaron Fraenkel (McMillan)**, **Matthew Graham**, **Yusuf Mustopa**, and **Emily Norton**, and new part-time faculty member **Paul Garvey**.

__Prof. Eli Grigsby awarded NSF CAREER grant__

Prof. Eli Grigsby has received a five-year NSF CAREER award for her project entitled *Connections between algebraic and geometric invariants in low-dimensional topology*.

### Honorary Degree

Prof. Margaret J. Kenney has received an honorary Doctor of Pedagogy degree from Rhode Island College.

### Graduate School Bound

Congratulations to class of 2012 math majors ** Tair Akhmejanov**,

**Jacobson Blomquist**,

**Anna Broido**,

**Thomas Holek**,

**Julie Kauffman**,

**Michelina Pallone**,

**Sean Talia**,

**Jonathan Ubnoske**, and

**Alexander Walker**who will be going on to graduate school in the mathematical sciences. These students will pursue advanced degrees at Brown, Columbia, Colorado [2], Cornell, Florida State, NYU, Ohio State, and University College London. We salute their accomplishments and wish them much success.

__Summer Research in Mathematics__

Four BC undergraduate math majors will be carrying out research in mathematics this summer.

### BC Alumnus Paul Sally Jr.

BC Alumnus Paul Sally Jr. ('54; MS '56) appears on the Science Lives Project, which features in-depth interviews with "some giants of twentieth century mathematics and science."

__Math Department Launches Alumni Network__

The Mathematics Department has launched the Boston College Math Alumni Network, a database of BC math alumni who are willing to serve as Alumni Mentors for BC mathematics students. The Math Department will maintain the database of mentors, which will be available to BC math students and math alumni.

### Summer Research in Mathematics

Four BC undergraduate math majors will be carrying out research in mathematics this summer.

** Karolina Cybert** A&S '14 has been awarded a 2012 Advanced Study Grant for her project "Coronal Mass Ejections—Their Causes, Frequency, Probability Distributions and Impact on the U.S. Airline Industry". Prof. Jenny Baglivo and Dr. Charles Carrano, Senior Scientist at BC's Institute for Scientific Research, will serve as co-mentors on her project.

** Stephanie Ger** A&S '14 has been awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowships to work on aspects of dynamical systems. Prof. Rennie Mirollo and Prof. Jan Engelbrecht (Physics) will serve as co-mentors on her project.

** Amy Nesky** A&S '13 will be one of the inaugural class at Brown University/ICERM's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, working on open questions in geometry and in dynamical systems of geometric origin. She will also attend summer mathematics workshops at Berkeley and at Notre Dame.

** Lisa Piccirillo** A&S '13 will attend Cornell University's REU. She will also attend the Women and Mathematics workshop at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

### Professor Meyerhoff awarded Simons Fellowship

Congratulations to Professor Meyerhoff who has been awarded a prestigious Simons Fellowship. The fellowship will provide funding for a semester research leave allowing Meyerhoff to take a full year sabbatical in academic year 2012-2013.

### Conference on recent work of Professor Tao Li

The Redbud Topology Conference is focussed around Professor Tao Li's recent examples of hyperbolic 3-manifolds whose Heegaard genera are strictly greater than the rank of their fundamental groups.

### Promotion to Full Professor

The Mathematics Department is pleased to announce that in recognition of his accomplishments in teaching, scholarship, and service Associate Professor Benjamin Howard has been promoted to Full Professor. Congratulations, Ben!

### Women and Mathematics

Lisa Piccirillo '13 has been accepted as an undergraduate participant in the 2012 Women and Mathematics program taking place this May at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. WAM is a two week mentoring program for undergraduate and graduate women in mathematics. Lisa will be taking courses entitled "Tangent Vectors and Twisting Planes: An Introduction to Legendrian Knot Theory" and "From Linear Algebra to the Non-Squeezing Theorem of Symplectic Geometry."

### 2012 BC Distinguished Lecturer in Mathematics

Robert Ghrist, Andrea Mitchell University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, will be the 2012 BC Distinguished Lecturer in Mathematics. Prof. Ghrist will give 3 lectures April 18, 19, and 20, the first intended for a general university audience. Prof. Ghrist works in Applied Topology, and holds appointments at Penn in both the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Electrical/Systems Engineering.

### Undergraduate Summer Research Opportunities

The NSF has announced summer sites for their Research Experience for Undergraduates program. Opportunities are also available on campus.

### Undergraduate Research Symposium

Three undergraduates who have carried out research in mathematics, Anna Broido, Michelina Pallone and Lisa Piccirillo spoke about their work in the BC Undergraduate Research Symposium on Friday, February 3 at 2 p.m. in Fulton 235. The talks are intended for a general audience, and are a great way for math students interested in research to see what other students have done and get ideas for themselves.

### Math Department Fall Advising Party

Math professors and students gathered over pizza at the pre-registration block party to discuss the course offerings for next spring.

### Info Session for Undergrads Interested in Summer Research

Are you interested in doing research in the mathematical sciences this summer? If so, please come to an information session Thursday, December 1, from 12 to 1 in Carney 309. Pizza will be served. For more details, please contact Prof. Eli Grigsby.

### Actuarial Review Sessions

Profs. Chambers and Rallis are running weekly review sessions Wednesdays 3:00-4:00 p.m. in Carney 251 to help BC students prepare for the actuarial examination Exam P- Probability.

### BC Problem Solving Group Weekly meetings begin: Wed., Sept. 21, 4:30 p.m., Carney 309

This is an opportunity for math lovers to learn more and interact with other math students. Many group members compete in the Mathematical Association of America’s prestigious William Lowell Putnam Competition. The competition’s problems are drawn from the usual mathematics major curriculum. For additional information, come to the first meeting or email Prof. Keane.

### BC Math Society Math Study Sunday Evening Sessions

The Boston College Math Society will be hosting math study sessions on Sunday nights from 7:00–8:45 p.m. in Carney 309. The study sessions are intended for MT216 and higher courses. These drop in, informal sessions, are an opportunity for students in these classes to discuss some homework problems together.

### Undergraduate Lecture, Co-Sponsored with the BC Math Society

Dr. Paul Garvey, Chief Scientist at the MITRE Corporation, will speak Monday, September 26, from 4:00-5:00 p.m. in Carney 102. His lecture, “Evaluating Risky Prospects, with a little Calculus,” involves the mathematics of risk. He will also be talking about his personal experience, which may be informative for those of you who are curious in learning about careers in math-related fields.

Dr. Garvey is internationally recognized and widely published in cost analysis, cost uncertainty analysis, and in the application of advanced decision analytic methods to problems in engineering systems risk analysis and management.

You don’t need to be in the BC Math Society or a math major to come, so bring your friends—refreshments will be served.

### Info Session for Undergrads Interested in Summer Research

Are you interested in doing research in the mathematical sciences this summer?

If so, please come to an information session Thursday, December 1, from 12 to 1 in Carney 309. For more details, please contact Prof. Eli Grigsby.

### Announcing New Faculty

We are pleased to announce four tenure-track Assistant Professor appointments: Professors **John Baldwin** (topology/Princeton),** Dawei Chen** (algebraic geometry/University of Illinois, Chicago), **Joshua Greene** (topology/Columbia), and **Dubi Kelmer** (number theory/University of Chicago). Profs. Chen, Greene and Kelmer will begin their appointments next fall, while Prof. Baldwin will begin his appointment in January 2012.

### Professor Rick Faber

Retired Professor Rick Faber, a long time member of the math department, passed away on August 22, 2011. Rick was a special teacher, and a remarkable guy: he lived for 43 years undergoing dialysis.

### Eight mathematics majors will be involved in research and training programs this summer.

**Tair Akhmejanov ’12** will participate in the research experiences for undergraduates program in mathematics at Cornell University, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Students in this program will explore the properties of functions defined on fractals, the linear algebra of finite groups, and the combinatorial aspects of triangulations of manifolds and pseudomanifolds.

**Jacobson Blomquist ’12** will participate in the research experiences for undergraduates program in mathematics at the University of Texas in Tyler, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Students in this program will explore problems in knot theory, tiling theory, and graph theory.

**Anna Broido '12** will participate in the research experiences for undergraduates program in modeling and applied mathematics at North Carolina State University, co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency. Students in this program will explore topics as diverse as ozone inhalation models, cluster analytics and visualization, cell rearrangements in tissues, models for financial risk, and models for the spread of HIV/AIDS.

**Stephanie Ger ’14** will participate in the undergraduate research institute in experimental mathematics at Michigan State University, sponsored by the National Security Agency. Students in this program will study topics in the areas of generalized Fibonacci polynomials, inverse modeling dynamical systems, and patterns in permutations.

**Troy Heffernan ’12** will be working under the joint supervision of Professors Rennie Mirollo (Math Dept.) and Jan Engelbrecht (Physics Dept.). His project will investigate connections among three research areas in applied dynamical systems and mathematical neuroscience: the study of synchrony in networks of simple coupled oscillators, like the classic Kuramoto model, the study of synchrony in the firing events of neural networks and its biological relevance to pattern recognition, and the question of decoding input signals from the firing patterns of single-compartment as well as networked neural models. He will be supported by a Boston College Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

**Alexander Meyers '12** will participate in the summer institute in biostatistics program at Boston University, cosponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Center for Research Resources. Students in this program will explore how quantitative methods can be used to investigate important health issues, learn from recognized practicing biostatisticians, epidemiologists and statistical geneticists, and train with leading researchers using data from the renowned Framingham Heart Study.

**Michelina Pallone ’12** will participate in the research experiences for undergraduates program in mathematics at Louisiana State University, cosponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Louisiana Education Quality Support Fund. Students in this program will explore the interaction of several areas of mathematics centering around group actions, graphs and polyhedra, braids and knots as well as modular forms.

**Lisa Piccirillo '13** is working with Professor Elisenda Grigsby, exploring the relationship between categorified quantum and gauge-theoretic invariants of knots and links. She will be supported by a Boston College Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

### Clavius Group

The Clavius Group will be in residence at Boston College from June 27 to July 23. This group of Catholic mathematicians will organize research lectures as well as a full day Symposium on Mathematics and Religious Discourse.

### Block Party

Math professors and students gathered over pizza at the pre-registration block party to discuss the course offerings for next fall.

### Mathematics Distinguished Lecturer Series

The distinguished number theorist **Peter Sarnak**, Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics at Princeton and permanent member of the Institute for Advanced Study's School of Mathematics, was the fourth annual BC Distinguished Lecturer in Mathematics. Prof. Sarnak gave three lectures and met with BC students and faculty during his visit.

### Publications

Two math faculty members have published papers in elite math journals. Prof. **Ben Howard**'s article "Intersection theory on Shimura surfaces II" has appeared in Inventiones Mathematicae (Volume 183, Number 1). Prof.** Solomon Friedberg**'s article "Weyl group multiple Dirichlet series, Eisenstein series and crystal bases" has appeared in Annals of Mathematics (Volume 173, Number 2).

### Welcome

The Math Department is pleased to welcome our first class of Ph.D. students.