Mathematics Departmental News for 2005

Harvey Mudd College Department of Mathematics Wins the First AMS Award for an Exemplary Program or Achievement in a Mathematics Department (12/2005)

Read the AMS Press Release. The award was announced at the January, 2006, Joint Mathematics Meeting.

Julijana V. Gjorgjieva Wins Prize at SACNAS (10/05)

Julijana Gjorgjieva ’06 (mathematics) had the prizewinning poster at this year’s Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Conference. Julijana’s poster, “Modeling Interaction of Predator and Prey Populations on Dynamic Habitats”, involves the development and analysis of an adaptive numerical method for solving a system of partial differential equations on a growing domain and was based on her summer research at HMC with Professor Jon Jacobsen.

Visit Undergraduate Posters at the 2005 SACNAS Conference at the AMS website for more information.

You can also read about Julijana’s adventure with the “Who Wants to Be A Mathematician”; contest at the conference.

Greg Minton Takes Second Place in National Problem-Solving Competition (8/05)

Sophomore math major Greg Minton received second prize in the National Problem-Solving Competition sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America during MathFest in Albuquerque, New Mexico, August 6, 2005. Congratulations Greg!

This year is the fourth consecutive year that someone from HMC has finished first or second in this competition. Last year, Eric Malm ’05 finished first; in the two previous years, second place finishes were earned by Robin Baur ’06 and Daniel Boylan ’02.

Mudders Present Work at National SIAM Conference (7/05)

Seniors Clay Hambrick (physics), Katie Lewis (mathematics), and Lori Thomas (mathematical biology) travelled to the annual Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Conference to present their prize-winning work from the MCM.

SIAM selected the team as winners of the 2005 SIAM Award in the Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM). Established in 1988, the prize is awarded to two of the teams judged to be “outstanding in the annual MCM”.

The team presented their paper, “From Lake Murray to a Dam Slurry”, which models the extent of damage that might be caused due to a breach in the Lake Murray Dam (in South Carolina). In particular, the team assessed potential damage to the South Carolina capitol building, which is located downstream of the dam. The team’s work will also be published in the Journal of Undergraduate Mathematics and Its Applications (UMAP).

Congratulations Lori, Katie, and Clay!

HMC Places Eleventh in Putnam Competition (3/05)

The results of the 2004 William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition (held on December 4, 2004) have just been announced. Sixty HMC students chose to take this rigorous six-hour exam, which requires a unique blend of cleverness and problem-solving skills. Nationwide, 3733 students competed the exam, which was apparently particularly hard this year—the nationwide median score this year was 0 out of a total of 120 points. Happily, forty-five of the sixty HMC participants scored above the median!

Our team of Eric Malm, Jason Murcko, and Jeff Hellrung placed eleventh out of 515 participating schools. HMC’s outstanding team performance comes on the heels of placing fifth (2003), sixth (2002), and ninth (2001).

In the individual category, three HMC students made the Top-200 List, and ten HMC participants made the Top-500 List, a great accomplishment given our school size—only ten of the 515 competing schools had more students in the Top 500.

Special honors go to Eric Malm and Jason Murcko who ranked 159.5, and Brian Rice who ranked 181.5. The following also made it into the Top 500 List: Nick Rauh, Gregory Minton, Jeff Hellrung, Alex Eustis, Jonathan Azose, Reid Howard, and Gwen Spencer.

Seven additional HMC students were within two points of the top 500.

We are proud of all the students who sacrificed their time, talent, and energies to compete in this year’s Putnam competition. Please join us in congratulating all those who participated!

Gwen Spencer Wins Watson Fellowship (3/05)

Gwen Spencer ’05 has been awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for one year of post-baccalaureate study outside the United States. Gwen’s project, “Reinterpreting the Gender of Science and Technology in Emerging Economies”, will take her to Tanzania, Swaziland, Kenya, India, and Ireland.

Congratulations Gwen!

Karl Mahlburg ’01 Solves Major Problem in Number Theory (3/05)

Karl Mahlburg ’01 (now a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin) has proved a sixty-year old conjecture in number theory, first posted by Freeman Dyson in the 1940’s, and building on the work of George Andrews and Ken Ono. The New Scientist has a detailed article: Classic maths puzzle cracked at last. Malhburg is also collecting press reports.

There are also news features in Science and Scientific American (planned). We are very proud of Karl!

Carl Yerger Wins Churchill Scholarship (3/05)

Carl Yerger ’05 has been awarded the Churchill Fellowship for study in the UK after graduation. Nationwide, only 11 students were selected for this prestigious scholarship, which is for one year of postgraduate study at Churchill College of Cambridge University. Carl will study for a Certificate in Advanced Study from the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics. Carl follows in the footsteps of other mathematical luminaries at Cambridge such as Isaac Newton and Professor Andrew Bernoff. In the past decade, Harvey Mudd has had seven Churchill winners.

Seven HMC Students Present Research at the AMS-MAA National Meetings (1/05)

Seven Harvey Mudd College students presented their research at the AMSMAA Joint Winter Meetings held January 5–8 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Brian Tagiku ’05, Zajj Daugherty ’05, Akemi Kashiwada ’05, Gwen Spencer ’05, and Eric Malm ’05 were all selected to speak in a special session on undergraduate research. They were five of about twenty-five students who spoke in that session.

Carl Yerger ’05 spoke in a combinatorics session; Julijana Gjorgieva ’06 and Ivan Ventura ’07, along with Spencer and Kashiwada, presented posters on their research at the undergraduate poster session. All four HMC students who presented posters received prizes for outstanding presentations.

Each of these students performed research as part of their senior theses with HMC professors, in summer research here at HMC, or at other summer REU programs. We are very proud of these students for presenting their work at a national conference.