Mathematics Departmental News for 2006

Professor Arthur Benjamin Chosen as MAA’s Pólya Lecturer (11/21/2006)

Professor Arthur Benjamin is the MAA‘s sixteenth George Pólya Lecturer.

The award, named for renowned teacher and writer George Pólya (1887–1985), a Hungarian-born mathematician, is meant to encourage “the high quality of exposition which the Mathematical Association of America seeks to encourage”. It pays recipients’ expenses for giving talks at MAA regional section meetings.

MAA MathFest 2006 News (10/02/2006)

Dan Walton ’07 won the SIAM (Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics) Award for his presentation on “Optimal Resource Allocation to Deter a Terrorist” at the MAA Mathfest held in Knoxville, Tennessee. Dan’s talk is based on summer research at HMC with Professor Susan Martonosi.

Professor Francis Su delivered the eighth annual James R. Leitzel Lecture on “Teaching Research: Encouraging Discoveries”. The Leitzel Lecture provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of “issues or innovations in mathematical sciences education at the undergraduate or graduate level”, and, in so doing, honors the many contributions of James R.C. Leitzel to the improvement of mathematical sciences education.

Professor Lesley Ward receives national Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching (5/2006)

Professor Lesley Ward has been named a 2006 recipient of the Mathematical Association of America‘s Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning Faculty Member.

This award honors beginning college or university faculty whose teaching has been extraordinarily successful and whose effectiveness in teaching undergraduate mathematics is shown to have influence beyond their own classrooms. Professor Ward was cited for her excellence in teaching, for innovative work in redesigning the core math curriculum at HMC, for her work on making the department’s senior-thesis requirement a cohesive program, for numerous (and award-winning) papers with students, for mentoring many women students in mathematics, and for courses she has given at Park City and IAS/Princeton.

This is the third year the MAA has given the award and the second year a member of the faculty of the Harvey Mudd College’s Department of Mathematics has been recognized (Professor Francis Su was a recipient in 2004).

Math Graduates Win Five NSF Fellowships; Five Honorable Mentions (4/06)

Five math majors from Harvey Mudd have won prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships this year, and five more won honorable mentions in this year’s competition! The awardees are: Stephanie Moyerman ’06 (math and physics), Susanna Ricco ’06 (joint CS-math), Jeff Jauregui ’05 (math), Kenny Maples ’06 (math and engineering), and Michael Vrable ’04 (joint CS-math). The fellowships provide $30,000/year plus $10,500 cost of education allowance for 3 years of graduate study.

Five more HMC math majors or alumni won honorable mentions: Robin Baur, Joe Majkut, Alan Davidson, Jason Murcko, and Tim Carnes.

AMS Notices Article About the HMC Mathematics Department. (4/2006)

The American Mathematical Society Notices included and article, Harvey Mudd Mathematics Department Garners AMS Award (PDF), in its April, 2006, issue about the reasons that the department won the first AMS Award for Exemplary Program.

Professor de Pillis Gives Keynote Addresses at College of the Redwoods’ Celebration of Women in Math, Science, and Engineering (4/2006)

Professor Lisette de Pillis gave two keynote addresses the week of April 6 during the week-long Celebration of Women in Math, Science, and Engineering at College of the Redwoods. One was a keynote lecture on “Using Mathematics to Understand Cancer”; the second was an evening public talk: “When Medicine and Mathematics Meet”. In conjunction with the event, Professor de Pillis appeared in radio spots and newspaper advertisements.

This year was the second year the College of the Redwoods has run the celebration. Professor Lesley Ward of HMC gave the first keynote address last year.

Professor Ward Gives Plenary Address at the Southwestern MAA Sectional Meeting (4/2006)

Professor Lesley Ward was invited to give a plenary lecture at the Southwestern Sectional Meeting of the Mathematical Association of America. She spoke about the Harvey Mudd College mathematics Clinic program. She also gave a colloquium at the University of Arizona.

Professor Benjamin Wins Beckenbach Book Prize (1/2006)

Professor Arthur Benjamin and coauthor Jenny Quinn received the Mathematical Association of America‘s Beckenbach Book Prize for their book Proofs that Really Count: The Art of Combinatorial Proof. The Beckenbach Prize is awarded to “distinguished, innovative MAA books” that are “truly outstanding”. The winning book is an introduction to combinatorial proofs and counting arguments. “Few mathematicians are immune to the limpid charms of a clever counting argument,” says the citation, noting that such charms are in abundant display in the book by Benjamin and Quinn. The award was presented at the National Joint Meeting of the AMS and MAA in January, 2006.

Congratulations Art & Jenny!

Professor Su Gives Invited Address at National MAA Meeting (1/2006)

Professor Francis Su presented the 2006 MAA Invited Address at the annual Joint Meeting of the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America. Professor Su presented the talk “Preference Sets, Graphs, and Voting in Agreeable Societies”. His talk outlined his recent research related to preference sets and voting theory. He also highlighted various contributions that Harvey Mudd students have made, including those by Debbie Berg ’06 and Andy Neidermaier ’05.

Eight Harvey Mudd College Students Present Research at National Math Meetings (1/2006)

Mathematics majors Robin Baur ’06, Debbie Berg ’06, Tristan Brand ’06, Alex Eustis ’06, Julijana Gjorgjieva ’06, Tyler Seacrest ’06, Marie Jameson ’07, and Greg Minton ’08 made presentations at the Annual Joint Meeting of the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America.

Berg, Eustis, Gjorgjieva, and Seacrest presented fifteen-minute talks on their senior-thesis projects; Baur presented a poster on her senior thesis. Jameson, Brand, and Minton presented posters on summer research projects.

Both Robin Baur and Greg Minton won prizes for outstanding posters!