Abhyankar Receives Honorary Degree

Message from the Head

New Faces in the Department

Visiting Faculty

Math Profs Host Conference

Purdue Profs Participate in Project NExT

Interview with Michael Golomb

Undergraduate News

Math Advisory Council

1998-99 Outstanding TAs

Grad Student inducted into Teaching Academy

John Purdue Returns!

Editors and Contributors


Math PUrview Home Page

Math Department Home Page
Carl Cowen Department Embraces a Wide Range of Activities
-Carl Cowen

A glance through this newsletter will give you an impression of the breadth of activities and achievements of the students and faculty in our department. We want to have a vital research program, successful educational programs for both graduate and undergraduate students, and worthy efforts in using our expertise to serve others in the university and our community.

Our faculty are nationally and internationally known for their contributions in a wide variety of research areas with much of their work funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Security Agency, and other federal agencies which support applied research. In this issue, we mention Professor Abhyankar whose work in algebraic geometry was recently recognized, Professor Golomb who worked in analysis and numerical analysis, and the interdisciplinary conference on superconductivity held here late last spring. We do not mention the work of our faculty in advancing the frontiers in homotopy theory, in the analytic foundations of number theory, in the use of differential equations to study the spread of epidemics, in complex dynamics, in the application of probabilistic ideas in analysis, in geometric ideas stemming from operator algebras, in the study of differential equations on manifolds, or the numerical analysis of image compression or fluid flow--to name just a few areas of research our faculty are pursuing.

The research strength of our faculty forms the foundation of our graduate program. Our graduate students get a broad education in mathematics and have the opportunity to do advanced specialized work in an area at the frontier of mathematical knowledge. This year, the excellence of the work of several of our graduate students has been recognized through the support of their research by national funding agencies. At the same time, by working as teaching assistants in the instructional program of the department, our graduate students have the opportunity to develop teaching skills that, for many of them, will form the basis of an important part of their careers. They teach students from across the university and do so in a way that other departments say reflects well on the Mathematics Department. This year the undergraduates in our programs have the active support of three student organizations--the Actuary Club, the Math Club, and the Math Education Club. The Math Club has sponsored regular presentations by mathematicians from Purdue and elsewhere on interesting aspects of mathematics such as using linear algebra to reconstruct maps from distance information or the number theory behind the RSA algorithm for cryptography. The Math Education Club has had programs relating to teaching careers as well as organizing a tutoring program in a local school. The Actuary Club has sponsored many presentations and interview visits by companies who are interested in hiring our graduates as beginning actuaries or summer interns.

But we are doing many other things as well! For example, two math alumni returned to campus last fall to speak in a Math Career Night held to inform current Purdue students, local high school students, their parents, and teachers, and members of our department about careers for which a mathematics major is good preparation. Donna Osborn, teacher at Lafayette's Jefferson High School, spoke about why she finds teaching mathematics an exciting and challenging career; her presentation was titled "I Touch the Future--I Teach!" Larry Stone, senior vice president and C.O.O. of Metron, a consulting firm based in Reston, Virginia, told us how he used mathematics to direct the (successful) search for 22 tons of gold lost when the SS Central America sank off the Carolina coast nearly 150 years ago.

We welcome your participation in the activities of our department! Let us know what you are doing with your mathematics degree, help recruit talented mathematics students for Purdue, or support our work with your contributions. Of course, if you are passing through the West Lafayette area, please stop by to say hello to us in the department; you're always welcome here!