2013 Math Newsletter
2013 Newsletter
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22 members of our department were named in the inaugural class of American Mathematical Society Fellows.  
  • Richard Askey
  • Georgia Benkart
  • Nigel Boston
  • Richard A. Brualdi
  • Jordan S. Ellenberg
  • Edward Fadell
  • Simon Hellerstein
  • Morris W. Hirsch
  • I. Martin Isaacs
  • Shi Jin
  • Howard Jerome Keisler
  • Alexander Nagel
  • Yong-Geun Oh
  • Peter Orlik
  • J. Marshall Osborn
  • Donald S. Passman
  • Paul H. Rabinowitz
  • Joel Robbin
  • Mary Ellen Rudin
  • Louis Solomon
  • Stephen Wainger
  • Melanie Matchett Wood

Faculty Awards/Honors

  • Timo Seppäläinen has been  invited to speak at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 2014.
  • Andreas Seeger was named a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society (Class of 2014).
  • Shi Jin was a 2013 SIAM Fellow.
  • Alexander Kiselev has been awarded a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship in Applied Mathematics.
  • Gloria Mari-Beffa is on a sabbatical this year due to a Simons fellowship from the Simons foundation. Gloria is working on discrete moving frames and applications.
  • With support from the Simons Foundation, Professor Jeff Viaclovsky spent Fall of 2012 in Paris at Institut Henri Poincaré, where he organized the program  "Trimester in conformal and Kähler geometry", and did research on critical metrics on connected sums of Einstein manifolds. In Spring of 2013, he was a visiting professor at Rice University and Osaka University.
  • Jean-Luc Thiffeault won the Outstanding Paper prize from the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) for his paper with  Matthew Finn for Topological Optimization of Rod-Stirring Devices, SIAM Review, Vol. 53, Issue 4 (2011), Expository Research Papers section, pp. 723-743
  • Yong-Geun Oh has been awarded the Kyung-Ahm Prize
  • Dove Soap selected Melanie Matchett Wood as a Role Model for Young Girls.

    Faculty Art Display

    Lecturer Gabriele Meyer exhibited at the Joint Mathematical Meetings her hyperbolic surface art work in January 2013.

    Three of Gabriele Meyer's works have been added to the ninth floor lounge in Van Vleck Hall on a permanent basis.


Faculty Publications

  • Timo Seppäläinen was invited to become the (Chief) Editor of the Annals of Applied Probability for the period 2013-2015.  AAP is the flagship journal of applied probability, published by the  Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS).   
  • The second edition of the book "Mathematical Models in Population Biolgy and Epidemiology" written with Fred Brauer (Emeritus) and Carlos Castillo-Chavez (Ph.D., 1984), was published by Springer in 2012.
  • The lecture notes "Mathematical Models for Communicable Diseases" was published by Fred Brauer (Emeritus) for  SIAM in the CBMS-NSF regional conference series in applied mathematics, No. 84 (2013). These notes come from the CBMS workshop at East Tennessee State University in 2011.

Faculty Travels and Conference News

  • Shi Jin gave a plenary lecture at the biennial SIAM Conference on Nonlinear Waves and Coherent Structures, Seattle, June 13-16, 2012.
  • Joe Miller (along with his student Mushfeq Khan on an RA) is spending a special research semester in Buenos Aires, where a number of folks from algorithmic randomness from all over the world have congregated for this semester.
  • Arnie Miller is spending his sabbatical year in Toronto, the first semester of which was during a special set theory semester at the Fields Institute.
  • Timo Seppäläinen delivered a plenary lecture  at the  Finnish Mathematics Days  (every other year meeting of the Finnish Mathematical Society)  in January 2012. He also gave invited minicourses in Finland, UK and  Singapore during 2012.  Timo organized a session on Interacting Particle Systems at the Eighth World Congress on Probability and Statistics, in Istanbul, Turkey on July 9-14, 2012.
  • Fred Brauer gave a set of lectures as part of the Sixth Winter School in Applied Mathematics of the City University of Hong Kong in December 2012.
  • Steffen Lempp spent three weeks in Europe last February (2012), one at Oberwolfach and two at the Newton Institute in Cambridge, where there was a special semester in honor of Alan Turing's 100th birthday.
  • At a meeting in December in Kumbakonam to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Ramanujan's birth, Sastra University awarded honorary doctorates to Bruce Berndt, George Andrews and Richard Askey. Bendt, who received his Ph.D. in 1966 under Rod Smart, has published five volumes editing Ramanujan's Indian Notebooks. Andrews was a visiting professor at the Univ. of Wisconsin in 1975-76 when he discovered what is known as Ramanujan's Lost Notebook. Together with Berndt, two volumes on the Lost Notebooks have been published and two more will appear in the near future. Askey commissioned a bust of Ramanujan. One casting of it was given to Ramanujan's widow in the early 1980s. Askey retired in 2003 after 40 years at UW Madison.

Graduate Student Awards

  • Sarah Tumasz (student of Jean-Luc Thiffeault) was awarded the 2012/13 John Nohel Prize in Applied Mathematics for her thesis, "Topological stirring." 

Alumni Awards

  • T.S. Michael (Ph.D., 1988) received a George Pólya Award at the Mathematical Association of America on August 3, 2012 for his article “Guards, Galleries, Fortresses and the Octoplex,” College Mathematics Journal, v. 42:3 (2011) p. 191-200.  Dr. Michael  has been on the mathematics faculty at the U.S. Naval Academy since 1990, where he coached the Putnam team for ten years and was the founding coach of the Naval Academy triathlon team.  His book, How to Guard an Art Gallery and Other Discrete Mathematical Adventures, was published in 2009.
  • Dan Kalman (Ph.D., 1980) received a Trevor Evans Award at the Mathematical Association of America on August 3, 2012 for his work with Nathan Carter on “Harvey Plotter and the Circle of Irrationality”, Math Horizons, vol 19:2 (2011) p. 10-13.  He has been a member of the mathematics faculty at American University, Washington, DC since 1993.  Prior to that he worked for eight years in the aerospace industry and taught at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay.  

Graduate Updates

  • Qiang Deng (student of Leslie Smith) graduated in Summer 2012 and has a postdoc at Courant Abu-Dhabi starting Sept 2012.
  • Hesam Dashti (student of Amir Assadi) received an MSc in Computational Mathematics in May 2012 and continues his PhD in Biophysics at UW Madison.
  • Anakewit (Tete) Boonkasame (Ph.D. student of Paul Milewski) graduated in Summer 2012, and is now a postdoc with Leslie Smith and Fabian Waleffe.
  • Zhan Wang (Ph.D. student of Paul Milewski) graduated in Summer 2012, and is now a postdoc with Jean-Marc Vanden-Broeck at UCL.
  • Peng Qi (Ph.D. student of Shi Jin) graduated in Summer 2012 and took a Quantitative Associate position at Wells Fargo Bank in California.
  • Li (Aug) Wang (Ph.D. student of Shi Jin) graduated in Summer 2012 and is now an postdoctoral Assistant Professor at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
  • David Seal (Ph.D. student with James Rossmanith) graduated in 2012 and is now a post-doc at Michigan State University.
  • E. Alec Johnson (Ph.D. student with James Rossmanith) graduated in 2012 and is now a post-doc at the Centre for Plasma Astrophysics (KU-Leuven).
  • Rob Owen (PhD '08) and Jennifer Losaw (MA '10) welcomed the first addition to their family - a daughter Zinnia Oriana Owen - in July '12.
  • Xu Yang (Ph.D. 2009, advisor Shi Jin) started a tenure-track assistant professor position at University of California, Santa Barbara, after postdoctoral positions at Princeton and Courant.
  • Rohini Kumar (PhD 2009, advisor Seppalainen) has begun a tenure-track assistant professorship at Wayne State University in Detroit.  
  • Mathew Joseph (PhD 2009, advisor Seppalainen) has accepted a position as Lecturer at the University of Sheffield in UK.  

Special Visitors

  • Logic is fortunate to have David Diamondstone in computability theory and Howard Becker (Postdoc, 80-82) in set theory as visitors for the year and the semester, resp.
  • Steffen Lempp has a visiting graduate student, Kyle Riggs, co-advised with Larry Moss from Indiana U, who is visiting us again this semester (as he was last spring).

Newsletters, Conferences and other events.    
Current News:  Read the 2012 Newsletter


UW-Madison mathematics Ph.D. program ranked in the top ten in the 2011 NRC ranking. In the 2010 NRC ranking of Ph.D. programs  (see,  the mathematics Ph.D. program at UW-Madison was ranked between 6 and 15 in the R-ranking (NRC regression-based quality score), and between 6 and 16 in the S-ranking (NRC survey-based quality score). In both rankings the average values placed our Ph.D. program in the top ten in the nation.  Also In the 2011 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) (, the UW Mathematics department was ranked No. 12 in the world, and No. 9 in the nation.

  • The UW Division of Continuing Studies will offer two math courses for non-traditional students who cannot come to the regular course offerings: Math 319 and Math 340.
  • Jordan Ellenberg has been invited to be one of the hour speakers at the Joint Meetings next January in San Diego.
  • Sasha Kiselev receives a Guggenheim Fellowship.
  • Alex Nagel receives a Hilldale Award (on April 9, 2012).
  • The three year FRG project "Singularities, mixing and long time behavior in nonlinear evolution" has been funded by the NSF. It has been ranked second among all FRG proposals in mathematical sciences submitted to the NSF this year. UW is the lead institution in the project, Alexander Kiselev is the PI and Sergey Denissov and Andrej Zlatos are co-PIs. Other participating institutions are Caltech (PI Hou), Princeton (PI Constantin), Stanford (PI Ryzhik) and University of Minnesota (PI Sverak). The total budget is $1.34 million. The UW share of the grant is primarily for student and postdoc support. The grant is also expected to fund three conferences, at least one of which will be at UW.
  • Our logic postdoc Mingzhong Cai (Ph.D. 2011 from Cornell under Richard Shore) has just won the prestigious Sacks Prize for the best thesis in logic this past year (jointly with Adam Day, currently at UC-Berkeley). The Sacks Prize is awarded to one or two individuals each year by the Association for Symbolic Logic and is named after Gerald Sacks of Harvard University.
    Congratulations to Mingzhong! He is thus the second Sacks Prize winner in a row to join the UW logic group, after Uri Andrews, who won the Sacks Prize last year.
  • Gloria Mari-Beffa has received the Philip R. Certain award from Dean Gary Sandefur. This award was established by gifts from the L&S Board of Visitors in honor of former Dean Philip R. Certain. The awards are give at the  discretion of the Dean of the College of Letters and Science to reward and encourage outstanding faculty who are doing good work for the College.
  • UW Math Professors Alexander KiselevAndreas Seeger and Leslie Smith have received an RTG grant from the NSF. The title of their grant is "Analysis and Applications", and its approved budget is $1.8 million for 5 years. The funds are mostly for support of graduate students, postdocs, and undergraduate research. The proposal ranked first among RTG in Analysis submitted this year to the NSF. The grant involves faculty members in both analysis and applied mathematics groups. Read more about it here.
  • Prof. Shi Jin, along with Prof. Eitan Tadmor (University of Maryland, College Park) and Prof. Irene Gamba (University of Texas-Austin) has received a five year, $5 million dollar grant from NSF Division of Mathematical Sciences under its newly established program Research Networks in Mathematical Sciences. This is among the 3 awarded networks in the inauguration year of this program. This network, under the title "KI-Net: Kinetic description of emerging challenges in multiscale problems of natural sciences" ( will have three hubs at Maryland, Texas and Wisconsin, with Prof. Jin directing the Wisconsin hub.
  • Congratulations to these three Math Dept TAs who have won campus wide teaching awards from the College of Letters and Sciences: (5 December 2011)
    • Derek Garton Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award
    • Edward Hanson Innovation in Teaching Award
    • Christelle Vincent Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award
  • Congratulations to postdoc Gerardo Hernandez-Duenas who was awarded 2011 Youth Prize from the state of Colima, Mexico in the
    Academic Category. The 12 categories include Academics, Civics, Environmental Protection, Research and Technological Development, Arts and Community Development. Altogether, there were 800 participants, 12 categories and 12 winners.
  • Congratulations to Mischa Feldman who was awarded the SIAG/APDE Prize. More information about this SIAM sponsored prize is here.
  • Congratulations to Benedek Valko, who just won an NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award. This award is one of the most prestigious honors given to a young faculty member in science and engineering.
  • Congratulations to Edward Hanson who was selected by the L&S Teaching Assistant Instructional Development Program Committee as an L&S Teaching Fellow for year 2011. Selection and participation as a Teaching Fellow recognizes the high quality of his performance as a teaching assistant.
  • Congratulations to Shirin Malekpour who has been chosen as a recipient of the L&S Early Career Award by the L&S Academic Staff Professional Development Commitee. The award recognizes individuals who demonstrate outstanding performance in their position, show substantial promise of future contributions, and demonstrate a high degree of professionalism.
  • Professor Mikhail Feldman received a Vilas Associates Award from the graduate school. This award provides summer research support for two years and a flexible research fund for scholarly activities.
  • Congratulations to Andrej Zlatos for winning an NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award. This award of $498K is one of the most prestigious honors which can be given to a young faculty member in science.
  • Congratulations to Nicos Georgiou for winning a campus-wide TA award.  This award of $500 recognizes the high quality of his work as a teaching assistant in the Math department.
  • Congratulations to Uri Andrews for winning the prestigious Sacks Prize for the best thesis in logic worldwide in 2010! This award, named after Harvard/MIT logician Gerald Sacks, is awarded by the Association for Symbolic Logic each year to one or two young logicians. Uri was the only recipient this year, for his thesis entitled   "Amalgamation Constructions in Recursive Model Theory"
    under the direction of Tom Scanlon.
  • NAGEL AND WAINGER RECEIVE BERGMAN PRIZE Alexander Nagel and Stephen Wainger of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, have been awarded the 2007-08 Stefan Bergman Prize for their fundamental contributions in collaborative work in the the study of Bergman and Szego kernels, the geometry of control (Carnot-Caratheodory) metrics associated to vector fields, and the initial breakthroughs for singular integrals on curves, culminating in a general theory of singular Radon transforms. The Bergman Prize honors the memory of Stefan Bergman, best known for his research in several complex variables, as well as the Bergman projection and the Bergman kernel function. Read more about the prize at this link
  • Emeritus Professor Walter Rudin died on Thursday, May 20.  Here is the Wisconsin State Journal obituary and the UW Math obituary
  • Professor Timo Seppalainen was recently elected a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS). The Fellowship is a way of honoring the outstanding research and professional contributions of the members of INS, contributions which help keep IMS in a leading role in the field of statistics and probability. See
    Each newly elected Fellow will be welcomed and presented with a plaque at the IMS Annual Meeting during the in Gothenburg, Sweden, The presentation and reception will take place at the IMS Presidential Address on Tuesday, August 10 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Math Department's 2010 newsletter
  • Zajj Daugherty is one of fifteen UW Madison TAs who received an award for service from the College of Letters and Science
  • Professor and Chair of the Mathematics Department Shi Jin received a Vilas Associates Award from the graduate school. This award provides summer research support for two years and a flexible research fund for scholarly activities.
  • Prof. Jordan Ellenberg was awarded an H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship by the Graduate School Research Committee.
    This fellowship is named in honor of H.I. Romnes, later Trustee President of the WARF. With this fellowship, the University recognizes proven potential and provides an opportunity for critical judgement by the Fellow on the best strategies for development of an outstanding research program.
  • KATHRIN BRINGMANN to receive the Sastra Ramanujan Prize.  Kathrin was formerly a postdoc with Prof. Ken Ono. The $10,000 prize will be awarded on Dec. 22, 2009 during an International Conference on Number Theory at Sastra University in Kumbakonen, India, Ramanujan's hometown.
  • Great Lakes Geometry Conference will be held April 10-11 in Madison, WI.
  • Gautam Bharali (PhD 2002, Nagel) Hindustan Times, August 22, 2009 - GUWAHATI, Aug. 22 -- The Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi has awarded the INSA medal for young scientists, 2009 to Dr Gautam Bharali of the Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore, a press release stated. Dr Gautam Bharali, son of Utpalananda Bharali and Purabi Bharali, is currently an assistant professor in the Mathematics Department of Indian Institute of Sciences in Bangalore. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 1997 and received PhD degree in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, USA in 2002. He had been an assistant professor in Mathematics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor before he returned to India, the release added.
  • NSF awards major training grant to UW Number Theory/Algebraic Geometry group. Effective August 1, 2009, the UW Department of Mathematics will be awarded a $1.6 million Research Training Group (RTG) grant from the National Science Foundation. Professors Ono (PI) and Ellenberg (Co-PI) are the principal investigators on this grant which will support training in Number Theory and Algebraic Geometry. The RTG grants are part of the NSF initiative to enhance the mathematical sciences workforce in the 21st century and will fund numerous programs, as well as provide support for graduate students, undergraduates and postdocs.
  • Kathrin Bringmann, a former Van Vleck Assistant Professor (2004-2007) who worked in Number Theory, has been awarded the 2009 Alfred Krupp Research Prize.
    The board of curators of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation awards an annual prize to scientists of the younger generation working in the natural sciences and engineering. The aim of the prize is to improve the scope and research opportunities available to professors of C3 rank by providing research and equipment funding to the tune of 1 million Euros.
    Kathrin, who has positions at both the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) and the University of Cologne, is just the 2nd mathematician to ever win the prize.
  • Prof. Fedor Nazarov has been selected to give a 45-minute invited lecture in the analysis section of the 2010 International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in 2010. An invitation to speak at the ICM, the most important math conference held every four years, is a prestigious honor for a mathematician.
  • Siam Fellows: Richard Askey, Carl deBoor, Seymour Partter and Paul Rabinowitz are named as Siam Fellows.
  • The 2009 newsletter is here!
  • David Griffeath and Janko Gravner develop computer model for snowflakes.
  • Dilip Raghavan (PhD 2008 with advisors Kunen and Kastermans) received the Sacks Prize for best thesis in Logic. This is an international prize.
  • The UW Math Department has received a $100000 gift from the estate of Richard Good. Professor Good received his AB from Ashland College in Ohio, and his MA and PHD from our department in 1940 and 1945 (his Ph.D. advisor was Richard Bruck). He taught at the University of Maryland. His wife also was a UW graduate who earned a master's and PhD degree from another department (not math).
  • Three Wisconsin REU students win prizes at the Joint Math Meetings. Three Wisconsin REU students were awarded national prizes at the Joint Math Meetings largely for their work in the Wisconsin VIGRE REUs organized by Professor Ken OnoAaron Pixton (REU 2006) was awarded the 2009 AMS-MAA-SIAM Frank and Brennie Morgan Prize (, awarded for outstanding research by an undergraduate student. Maria Monks (REU 2008) was awarded the 2009 Alice T. Schafer Prize by the Association for Women in Mathematics (, awarded for excellence in mathematics by an undergraduate woman. Doris Dobi (REU 2007) was awarded the runner-up prize in the competition. Ono will be running an REU in 2009 in Number Theory. Application materials are available at ( The deadline for applications is January 31, 2009.
  • Paul Rabinowitz received an honorary degree from Complutense University in Madrid, Spain, in late January, 2009.
  • Six of our graduate students, Samuel Eckels, Benjamin Ellison, Matthew Felton, Nikos Georgiou,  Daniel McGinn and Christelle Vincent were selected by the Campus-wide TA Award committee to receive the 2008 Teaching Assistant awards. This award recognizes their high quality performance as teaching assistants and their impressive contributions to the educational mission of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Each winner will receive a prize of $500. A reception and award ceremony in their honor will be held in February. Congratulations to Samuel, Benjamin, Matthew and Daniel!
  • Mathematicians land top spot in the Wall Street Journal's new ranking of the best occupations in the U.S.
  • Just for fun: See a slide show of the helicopter which delivered new elevators for Van Vleck.

  • Alex Nagel is among seven members of the University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty who have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He was honored for fundamental work on singular Radon transforms, oscillatory and singular integrals, the Carnot metric with applications to subelliptic estimates and several complex variables. You can read more about this here.
  • Yiming Long (Ph.D 87, Paul Rabinowitz), currently Professor and Director of the Chern Institute of Mathematics, Nankai University Tianjin, China, was recently elected a fellow of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS). See the news release. According to the citation, "Long has made fundamental contributions to Hamiltonian dynamics. In particular, he is acknowledged for his iteration theory for symplectic matrix paths, and for his deep studies on periodic solution orbits of Hamiltonian systems. A member of the Chinese Academy of Science, he has received the 2004 TWAS Prize in Mathematics, the Natural Sciences Award (first class), the SS Chern Prize and the Qiushi Foundation Prize".
  • Leslie Smith, former chair of the Math Department, has been elected a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) "for important and insightful contributions to the understanding of turbulence in engineering and geophysical flows through theory and numerical simulations". The APS's Division of Fluid Dynamics recommended the nomination, which was conferred at the APS council meeting in September 2008. No more than one half of one percent of APS members are fellows.
  • Olga Holtz (PhD 2000, Hans Schneider) is one of 10 recipients of the European Math Society's 2008 prize. The prize is given every four years. Awardees must be below 35 years age, and to be either born or work in Europe.
  • Information about the Annual Wisconsin Reunion at the January Joint AMS/MAA meetings.
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  • 1997 PhD Centennial
  • 1963 Dedication of Van Vleck Hall
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