By the Numb3rs Spring 2016


Chair's Message

In this issue of By the Numb3rs you can read about recent developments in the Department of Mathematics as well as some accomplishments by our students and faculty. We are proud to report that the Department of Mathematics placed 24th nationally in the 2015 Putnam Competition.  Our students worked very hard to accomplish such an outstanding achievement.  Dr. Marta Lewicka delivered a plenary lecture at the annual meeting of the American Mathematical Society.  Dr. Kiumars Kaveh has been awarded a Simon's Foundation Fellowship to further his research on “Convex bodies and algebraic geometry”.

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Student Chapter hosted a Quantitative Career Workshop.  Our graduate students delivered lectures at the preparation camp for the US team at the International Math Olympiad. You can also read about the most recent Integration Bee and the BIG Ideas in Math course. 

An important addition to our web site is a new alumni page. Please fill in any exciting news you would like to share with us. As always, please keep in touch. We would love to hear from you. Visit our web page for information on how to contact us and for the latest news about the Department.

Pitt ranked 24th nationally in the 2015 Putnam Competition

Putnam logoThe William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is the most important undergraduate mathematics competition in North America. It takes place in the first Saturday of December. In 2015, there were 4275 contestants from over 500 universities in USA and Canada. Moreover, there were two sessions of 6 questions each valued at ten points. A list of the problems can be found here. This year one question was so hard, that no-one in the whole nation solved it completely! For more details, please consult Kedlaya's report.

We are excited to let you know that the University of Pittsburgh's official Team (Stefan Ivanovici, Mingzhi Tian and Matthew Smylie) ranked 24th Putnam groupnationally and two of its members, Stefan and Ming, made it to the top 460 of individual scorers. In fact, Stefan made it to the top 200. Derek Orr a Pitt undergraduate student also delivered a fine performance and managed to make it to the top 460. Other participanting students include Alec Jasen, Tommy Bednar, Alex Mang, Jacob Gross, Andrew Tindall, Jack Hafer, and Mark Paulson.

This is the best team performance that Pitt has had since 2002 and represents a extraordinary improvement over just last year, when Pitt ranked 108th nationally.  This terrific result reflects the dedication of the students involved as well as that of their mentors, graduate student Cezar Lupu, faculty advisor George Sparling, and several other faculty and graduate students (Gregory Constantine, Bogdan Ion, Kiumars Kaveh and Irina-Roxana Popescu) who coached our students during the Putnam seminar.

The Math Department will be offering the Putnam seminar again this fall to help students train for the 2016 competition.  The seminar is 2 credits and if you would to enroll please email Cezar Lupu for more information. Information on the 2015 seminar can be found here.

Prof. Marta Lewicka featured at the 2016 Joint Mathematics Meeting

Marta LewickaM. Lewicka delivered a plenary lecture at the annual meeting of the American Mathematical Society, January 2016. The lecture highlighted the research done together with R. Pakzad at the Department of Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh. In this framework, Lewicka and Pakzad were invited to publish an introductory article based on the lecture in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society.  This paper investigates the phenomenon of shape formation in elastic tissues caused by prestrain through rigorous mathematical formulations, and showcases how such study leads to the construction of anomalous solutions to the Monge-Ampere equation by convex integration. More>