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2014 News

Undergraduates compete in Mathematical Contest in Modeling

Math undergraduates, left to right: Dante Iozzo, Nigel Michki, Andrew Harris, Collin Olander, George Braun, and Jonathan Tang.

Two teams of undergraduates participated in the 2014 Mathematical Contest in Modeling. The team of Andrew Harris, Dante Iozzo, and Nigel Michki was designated as "Meritorious Winner" (top 9%) and the team of George Braun, Collin Olander, and Jonathan Tang received honorable mention (top 31%). John Ringland served as the faculty advisor to both teams.

The Mathematical Contest in Modeling is a multi-day mathematics competition. It is distinguished from other major mathematical competitions such as Putnam by its strong focus on research, originality, teamwork, communication and justification of results. This year there were 6,755 teams participating from around the world. [April 2014]

 

Steve Schanuel, In Memorium

Stephen H. Schanuel passed away July 21, 2014 just a few days after his 81st birthday on Bastille Day. He leaves his son Jason, daughter Lynn (Carlos), grand daughter Jenna, and a sister.

Stephen H. Schanuel

Steve came from modest beginnings in St. Louis where his mother struggled to care for Steve and his, his three sisters and a brother. Steve’s father was a traveling salesman. Even though he won free tuition to Princeton, he worked long hours in a cafeteria where he got free food. One of his professors (I forget who) impressed with his ability, discovered Steve's circumstances, was concerned he did not have enough time to do mathematics, and subsequently obtained a scholarship to support Schanuel's room and board.

Steve began graduate school in Mathematics at The University of Chicago where we worked with Irving Kaplansky. He earned his PhD from Columbia in 1963 under Serge Lang. Before joining UB in 1972, he was at Johns Hopkins, Cornell, and SUNY Stony Brook. Though Steve came here as a heralded young Number Theorist, his contributions to Algebra were nearly as notable. Schanuel’s Lemma in Homological Algebra was publicized by Kaplansky when Steve was a student. In Number Theory, the Schanuel Conjecture, also discovered when he was a student, is a famous still open problem (for a brief statement see my article "Million-Buck Problems" in The Mathematical Intelligencer (2002), for an early study see James Ax’s article "On Schanuel’s Conjectures," Annals of Mathematics 1971.)

Steve’s interests were very wide, so wide that many of our colleagues outside Algebra and Number Theory would talk with him. Steve has written with several of our colleagues; however, he was a long time collaborator with our colleague F. William (Bill) Lawvere, with whom he wrote papers and published a popular book "Conceptual Mathematics." A second book, "Objective Number Theory" is forthcoming.

From 1986 until 1998, Steve was a member of the Friday after school "Sign of the Steer" (on Main street) beer group whose nucleus was Don Schack, Mohan Ramachandran, Jim Reineck, Bill Lawvere and Scott Williams. From 1998 to 2010 that group became the coffee group at Wegmans and the "Coffee Bean Cafe" now renamed the restaurant "Shango" on Main Street where much mathematics (Number Theory, Measure Theory, Category Theory, Topology, Set Theory), and politics, music, art and psychology was discussed six or seven days a week. We met nearly every Saturday morning and once a month on Sunday morning.

I have many fond personal memories of Steve, beginning with discussing poetry with his wife Joan and he during the 1970s. Steve was quite humble. People were often surprised with what he knew. If someone's wife or child were present, he would show interest and listen to them. He was a span, enjoying football, tennis, and track & field.

Once, when Steve visited my home in the 1980s, he brought his guitar. After dinner he complained that he did not know how to improvise on the instrument. Though I could not play the guitar, I played the piano. At our piano I improvised three pieces by respectively George Gershwin, Miles Davis and Rogers & Hammerstein. Steve said, "like that?" and then proceeded to improvise on the piano so much better than I that I never again played in front of him. Yes it was the guitar, not the piano, that caused his problem. In the 1990s Steve introduced me to the poet Billy Collins. A few years later, I owned five Collins poetry books. My most striking mathematical memory was during the 11 weeks in 2005 when I was hospitalized. Steve and Don Schack visited me daily for hours, where we read and tried to work out all the known solutions of Hilbert’s problems.

Steve retired in 2011 and left Buffalo a year later to be near his daughter Lynn and family in Florida.

I received the following note from Jill Paolini who studied with Steve and I:

"That makes me so sad. I loved him. I wrote a poem, "Ode to My Math Teacher," about him. and bought "Conceptual Mathematics" for myself for my birthday. We used to call him 'Schanuel the Manual' because he needed and used no book. He had a glint in his eye, like Santa, even if he shaved his white beard in December. I am so sorry to hear he passed. I will nurture what he taught me, and remember him with a smile on my face, even though right now I am looking through a layer of water. I remember one day in class... I asked a question and Professor Schanuel said, "That's a great question. Does anyone mind if I discuss this instead of what I was going to talk about? This is far more interesting." I also remember clearly our final exam for a 400/500 level algebra course. He gave us each 8 pieces of blank paper and told us to show him we had learned something. He said we could prove our favorite theorem, or solve a problem we could not have solved prior to his course. He concluded by telling us that he needed some encouragement, and asked us to please show him that we had learned something. Vu To was sitting next to me. He was about 18 years old, a math Olympian from Vietnam. I remember he looked so surprised and wrote nothing for at least 15 minutes... and then proceeded to write with confidence and probably encouraged Professor Schanuel with a beautiful treatise. Another story comes to mind... and another…"
     ~Scott Williams July 27, 2014

Kim Javor wins SUNY Chancellor's Award

The Mathematics Department congratulates Kim Javor for winning the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching. This is the inaugural year of this SUNY-wide program recognizing the very best adjunct instructors. In initiating the program, Interim SUNY Provost Bringsjord noted "one of SUNY's most important distinctions is the wealth of accomplished educators and consummate professionals among its ranks. The Excellence Awards are a recognition of, and tribute to, the expertise, dedication and commitment of these individuals. Award recipients personify professional excellence and serve as role models for the SUNY community." [February 2014]

Kim Javor

Fourth Upstate New York Number Theory Conference at UB

Professor June Zhu is co-organizing the Fourth Annual Upstate New York Number Theory Conference, to be held at UB on April 26-27, 2014. See more information on the conference website.   [February 2014]

2014 Events

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2013 News

Myhill Lecture Series 2013-14
Professor Percy Deift from Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences presented the Myhill Lecture Series for 2013-14. This 3-part lecture series was held Oct 15 - Oct 17, and included a reception in honor of Professor Deift immediately following the first lecture. See the Mathematics Department Calendar for more information. [October 2013]

 

Shuen Yuan has passed away
Professor Emeritus Shuen Yuan has died at the age of 77 in his home in Williamsville. Professor Yuan earned his B.A. from National Taiwan University in 1958 and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1964. He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton from 1964-66, an Assistant Professor at Case Institute for 1966-67, then joined our department in 1967 as an Associate Professor. He was a member of the department faculty for 47 years, becoming Professor in 1974 and retiring in January of 2011. Professor Yuan's research was in algebra, particularly commutative rings and algebras, and he supervised the dissertation of three Ph.D. graduates. [November 2013]

 

Professor Xiaoqing Li Receives Morningside Silver Medal at ICCM
On July 14, 2013, Xiaoqing Li, associate professor of mathematics at UB, received a Morningside Silver Medal at the opening ceremony of the Sixth International Congress of Chinese Mathematicians (ICCM) in Taipei. The ICCM is a triennial event that brings together Chinese and overseas mathematicians to discuss the latest research developments in both pure and applied mathematics.

The Morningside Medal is the most prestigious award for young Chinese mathematicians. It is awarded to exceptional mathematicians of Chinese descent under the age of forty-five for their seminal achievements in mathematics and applied mathematics. Each Morningside Medalist receives a certificate, a medal, and cash award of US$25,000 for a gold medal, or US$10,000 for a silver medal. Li delivered a 45 minute invited address at the Congress in the "Number Theory, Automorphic Forms and Arithmetic Geometry" section.

The 2013 Morningside winners are:
Morningside Gold Medal: Xuhua He (The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology), Ye Tian (Chinese Academy of Sciences), Xianfeng David Gu (State University of New York at Stonybrook).
Morningside Silver Medal: Chieh-Yu Chang (National Tsing Hua University), Xiaoqing Li (State University of New York at Buffalo), Hao Xu (Harvard University), Tai-Peng Tsai (University of British Columbia). [August 2013]

 

Jim Reineck has passed away
It is with great sadness that we report that our friend and colleague Prof. James F. Reineck passed away at his home on Saturday, April 13, 2013 after a long illness. Jim came to UB in 1987 as an Assistant Professor, was promoted to Associate Professor in 1991 and to Professor in 2002. He served as our Director of Graduate Studies from 1999-2004. He had four doctoral students graduate under his supervision. Those wishing to send condolences to Jim's family, which includes his wife Hilde and daughters Sonja and Maria, may do so by way of the UB Mathematics Department (244 Math Bldg, Buffalo, NY 14260). [April 2013]

 

Congratulations to Graduates and Award Winners
The Mathematics Department congratulates all of our graduating seniors. We also congratulate the following award winners: Bud Rozwood and Jiechen Chen (2013 Gehman Scholarship); Sean Bearden, Victoria Klemann, Hyunwoo Na, and Maya Malaviya (2013-14 Hazel and John Wilson Undergraduate Mathematics Scholarship); and Matthew Schmidt (2013 Oustanding Senior). [May 2013]

Jim Javor wins Excellence in Teaching Award
We are delighted to report that Prof. Jim Javor is the winner of a 2012 Milton Plesur Award for Excellence in Teaching. The Undergraduate Student Association sponsors this award, given to outstanding professors and nominated by the students who have benefited from their extraordinary efforts to enlighten and educate. Prof. Javor is now a two-time Milton Plesur Award winner, having also received this recognition of his outstanding teaching in 2004. [April 2013]

 

Michael Rosas Wins Graduate School Teaching Award
Congratulations to our graduate student Michael Rosas who was recently announced as a winner of the University at Buffalo 2012-2013 Graduate School Excellence in Teaching Award. Michael will receive his award at the UB Celebration of Student Excellence on April 12, 2013. [April 2013]

 

2013 Myhill Lectures by Professor Peter Sarnak
Professor Peter Sarnak from Princeton University presented the Myhill Lecture Series for 2013. This 3-part lecture series was held Mar 20 - Mar 22, and included a reception in honor of Professor Sarnak immediately following the first lecture. See the Mathematics Department Calendar for more information. [March 2013]

 

URGE to Compute Program for Undergraduate Research
URGE to Compute provides apprenticeships worth $10,000 to each of 12 students annually to conduct research of a computational nature in mathematics and the mathematical sciences. URGE stands for Undergraduate Research Group Experiences, and it is the implementation in Buffalo of the National Science Foundation's CSUMS program. It is a collaboration of the UB and Buffalo State Mathematics Departments, the UB Physics Department, the UB Center for Computational Research, and the Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute. Students accepted to the program will conduct a year-long program of research, closely mentored by faculty, and engage in many activities that support the research and their intellectual and personal development. Please visit the URGE to Compute website for more information. [October 2013]

2013 Events

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2012 News

Professor Lawvere Named AMS Fellow

Congratulations to Emeritus Professor F. William Lawvere on being named a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society. Professor Lawvere is a member of the highly-distinguished inaugural class of Fellows. A full listing of AMS Fellows is at http://www.ams.org/profession/fellows-list-institution. [November 2012]

 

The Mathematics Department congratulates all of our graduating seniors. We also congratulate the following award winners: James Kotary (2012 Gehman Scholarship), David Trabucco (2012-13 Hazel and John Wilson Undergraduate Mathematics Scholarship), and John Susice (2012 Oustanding Senior and Harriet F. Montague Award).

2012 Myhill Lectures by Professor Mladen Bestvina

Professor Mladen Bestvina from the University of Utah presented the Myhill Lecture Series for 2012. This 3-part lecture series was held Tue Apr 17 - Thu Apr 19, and included a reception in honor of Professor Besvina immediately following the first lecture. See the Mathematics Department Calendar for more information.

Alyssa Brown Receives Honorable Mention in Teaching Awards

Congratulations to Alyssa Brown, graduate student in Mathematics, who will be receiving an Honorable Mention in this year's Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching Awards competition. The Graduate School and the Graduate Student Association established the Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching Awards Program to publicly recognize those graduate students who have demonstrated exceptional performance in the execution of their teaching responsibilities.

Professor Ringland wins MAA Distinguished Teaching Award

Please join us in congratulating Professor John Ringland who is this year's winner of the 2012 Clarence F. Stephens Distinguished Teaching Award from the Mathematical Society of America Seaway Section. In 1991, the Board of Governors of the MAA established the Section Awards for distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics to recognize teachers of Mathematics at the post-secondary level who have been widely recognized as extraordinarily successful. Their teaching effectiveness must be documented and must have had influence beyond their own institutions. As sectional winner, Professor Ringland will be automatically nominated for the national MAA Haimo Award. Congratulations!

Changes to Department Administration

The department welcomes its new Chair, David Hemmer. Professor Hemmer is taking over from Brian Hassard, who served two three-year terms as Chair. At the same time, Bernard Badzioch will take over the duties of Director of Undergraduate Studies, replacing David Hemmer who served in that position for three years. The department particularly thanks Brian Hassard for his 6 years of dedicated service to the department in capacity of Chair, and extends its gratitude to Professors Hemmer, Faran, Biondini and Badzioch who will be serving the department in administrative roles.

Books written by Department faculty

Two Math Dept faculty members have recently had books published. Prof. Jonathan Dimock's is "Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Field Theory: A Mathematical Primer", published by Cambridge University Press. Prof. Mohan Ramachandran's is "An Introduction to Riemann Surfaces", published by Birkhauser.

URGE to Compute Program for Undergraduate Research

URGE to Compute provides apprenticeships worth $10,000 to each of 12 students annually to conduct research of a computational nature in mathematics and the mathematical sciences. URGE stands for Undergraduate Research Group Experiences, and it is the implementation in Buffalo of the National Science Foundation's CSUMS program. It is a collaboration of the UB and Buffalo State Mathematics Departments, the UB Physics Department, the UB Center for Computational Research, and the Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute. Students accepted to the program will conduct a year-long program of research, closely mentored by faculty, and engage in many activities that support the research and their intellectual and personal development. Please visit the URGE to Compute website for more information.

2012 Events

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2011 News

Professor Pitman's group wins AMMCS Best Poster Competition

The winner of AMMCS 2011 Best Poster Competition is the poster "Numerical Analysis of Time-Dynamic Multi-phase Flow in Volcanic Conduits" by Alyssa Cederman, Anthony Grisafi, Eric Mikida, E Bruce Pitman, Jude Sabato, (UB and Buffalo State College) See Laurier Centennial Conference: AMMCS-2011, URGE to Compute at AMMCS-2011

Professor Bruce Pitman Named Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Professor Bruce Pitman, a noted researcher and professor in the Department of Mathematics and associate dean for research and sponsored programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been named dean of the college, effective July 1.  Read the full story in the UB Reporter.

Professor Ringland Wins Award for Excellence in Mentoring

Professor John Ringland was awarded the UB Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring at the Celebration of Student Academic Excellence on April 6, 2011. 

Craig Dodge Receives Excellence in Teaching Award

Congratulations to Craig Dodge, graduate student in Mathematics, who will be receiving a 2010-2011 Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching Award. The Graduate School and the Graduate Student Association established the Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching Awards Program to publicly recognize those graduate students who have demonstrated exceptional performance in the execution of their teaching responsibilities. The principal selection criteria include outstanding teaching competence, effective mentorship of students, and the maintenance of high academic standards and expectations of student performance.

Professor Xiaoqing Li Awarded 2011 Alfred Sloan Research Fellowship

Let's all congratulate Xiaoqing on her selection as a 2011 Alfred Sloan Research Fellow. This is wonderful for her and an honor for our Department. Thank you, Xiaoqing, and best wishes for continuing success!!

URGE to Compute Program for Undergraduate Research

URGE to Compute provides apprenticeships worth $10,000 to each of 12 students annually to conduct research of a computational nature in mathematics and the mathematical sciences. URGE stands for Undergraduate Research Group Experiences, and it is the implementation in Buffalo of the National Science Foundation's CSUMS program. It is a collaboration of the UB and Buffalo State Mathematics Departments, the UB Physics Department, the UB Center for Computational Research, and the Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute. Students accepted to the program will conduct a year-long program of research, closely mentored by faculty, and engage in many activities that support the research and their intellectual and personal development.

2011 Events

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2010 News and Events

UB Math students present at AMS/MAA Joint Meetings

13 undergraduate math majors in the 2009 cohort of the URGE to Compute program traveled to the AMS/MAA Joint Meetings in San Francisco, CA, January 14-17 2010, to give talks on their research results. The students were accompanied by their research mentors, Profs. John Ringland and Gino Biondini of the UB Math Department and Prof. Saziye Bayram of the Buffalo State College Math Department.

URGE to Compute Program for Undergraduate Research

URGE to Compute provides apprenticeships worth $10,000 to each of 12 students annually to conduct research of a computational nature in mathematics and the mathematical sciences. URGE stands for Undergraduate Research Group Experiences, and it is the implementation in Buffalo of the National Science Foundation's CSUMS program. It is a collaboration of the UB and Buffalo State Mathematics Departments, the UB Physics Department, the UB Center for Computational Research, and the Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute. Students accepted to the program will conduct a year-long program of research, closely mentored by faculty, and engage in many activities that support the research and their intellectual and personal development.

Fall 2010 Events

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2008-2009 News

Don Schack has passed away
It is with great sadness that we report that Samuel D. Schack (Don) passed away at his home this morning, Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 after a brief illness. Those wishing to send condolences to Don’s sister and her family, may do so by way of the Mathematics Department here at UB (244 Math Bldg, Buffalo, NY 14260)

 

Undergraduates Present Results at Rochester Conference
UB and BSC undergraduate students in the URGE to Compute program present results at New York Conference on Applied Mathematics, RIT, October 17, 2009

 

URGE students travel to Penn State to present research results
Thirteen members of the URGE to Compute 2009 cohort traveled to Pennsylvania State University on Nov 20 to give presentations of results of their research at the Conference on Undergraduate Research in Mathematics held there every other year. They were accompanied by UB Math Department professors John Ringland and Gino Biondini, and Buffalo State Math professor Saziye Bayram.

 

URGE to Compute Program for Undergraduate Research
URGE to Compute provides apprenticeships worth $10,000 to each of 12 students annually to conduct research of a computational nature in mathematics and the mathematical sciences. URGE stands for Undergraduate Research Group Experiences, and it is the implementation in Buffalo of the National Science Foundation's CSUMS program. It is a collaboration of the UB and Buffalo State Mathematics Departments, the UB Physics Department, the UB Center for Computational Research, and the Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute. Students accepted to the program will conduct a year-long program of research, closely mentored by faculty, and engage in many activities that support the research and their intellectual and personal development.
Please visit the URGE to Compute website for more information.

 

UB Team Wins Grueling 96-Hour International Math Contest
Undergraduates Tracy Stepien and Amy Evans were one of 1,162 teams to enter the 96-hour 2008 Mathematical Contest in Modeling. They were awarded Outstanding Winner designation as well as the Ben Fusaro Award and the SIAM Prize. Supervised by Professor Ringland, Evans and Stepien were one of two teams from UB to enter the competition. See the full story in the UB press release.