Each year the Board of Governors of the Mathematical Association of America selects a Pólya Lecturer, to serve for two academic years. Marty Isaacs has been selected for 2003-04 and 2004-05. On a rotating basis, sections of the MAA can invite one of two Pólya Lecturers to their annual regional meetings. Marty's first Pólya lecture will be given in Anchorage, Alaska.
Marty received his PhD from Harvard University in 1964 under the supervision of Richard Brauer. He was appointed as an Associate Professor at UW-Madison in 1969 after three years at the University of Chicago, and was promoted to Professor in 1971. Over the years, Marty has received many teaching awards and is well-known for his inspiring teaching and lecturing. He received a UW-Madison Distinguished Teaching Award in 1985, the Benjamin Smith Reynolds Award for Teaching Engineering Students in 1989, and the Wisconsin Section MAA Teaching Award in 1993. Marty is also a recent winner (for the second time!) of the Sliffe Award of the MAA. This award is primarily intended for high school teachers and is given on the basis of nominations by students. Students at Madison Memorial High School nominated Marty for his work on the Mathematics Talent Search. He was nominated for the first Sliffe Award by students at Madison West High School. Professor Isaacs is the author of over 125 papers and three books: ``Character Theory of Finite Groups (Academic Press, 1976), ``Algebra: A graduate course'' (Brooks/Cole, 1993), and ``Geometry for College Students'' (Brooks/Cole, 2000). Among his recent invitations to speak at a conference, is an invitation to speak in Naples, Italy in April 2004. Nineteen graduate students have completed PhD dissertations under Marty's supervision.
Professor Ken Ono who has been on our faculty since 1999 is now the Solle P. and Margaret Manasse Professor of Letters and Science. This is an endowed chair funded by a generous gift to the College of Letters and Science. Ken was also awarded a John S. Guggenheim Fellowship in the amount of $40,000 from the Guggenheim Foundation; only four mathematicians in the USA and Canada were awarded Guggenheim Fellowships in 2003.
In June 2003, Ken gave 10 lectures as the Distinguished Lecturer for the NSF-CBMS Conference on Number Theory which was held at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Out of these lectures came the book "The web of modularity: The arithmetic of the coefficients of modular forms and q-series" which is being published in January 2004 by the American Mathematical Society. The book is appearing in the NSF-CBMS Series.
Among his many recent and future activities are:
The REU entitled ``Investigating elliptic curves and q-series'' that he ran this summer. Eight talented undergraduates were selected from an applicant pool of 130+. The REU consisted of lectures, many given by Jeremy Lovejoy (former VIGRE Van Vleck Visiting Assistant Professor), Gwyn Coogan, Rohit Chatterjee and Jackie Anderson. The students were divided into 2 teams:
|Team 1||Stephanie Basha (Santa Clara University)|
|Jayce Getz (Harvard University)|
|Harris Nover (CalTech)|
|Emma Smith (MIT)|
|Team 2||Daniel Corson (MIT)|
|David Favero (Brown University)|
|Kate Liesinger (University of Chicago)|
|Sarah Zubairy (University of Rochester)|
Team 1 wrote a paper generalizing a theorem of Atkin and Zagier on the supersingular locus of elliptic curves. Their result generalized the notion of the Hasse invariant using new families of orthogonal polynomials obtained by integrating against `modular measures'. Their paper has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications. This team won first place in the MAA poster session at the recent joint AMS-MAA Meetings in Phoenix.
Team 2 wrote a paper generalizing an Inventiones paper of George Andrews, Freeman Dyson, and Dean Hickerson. These students investigated the properties of the so-called `mock theta functions.' They found new mock theta functions, and used them to compute values of certain Dedekind zeta-functions at negative integral arguments. This paper has been recommended for publication.
Ken gave the Milton Brockett Porter Lecture series (5 lectures on number theory) at Rice University this past spring. He also gave a series of 10 lectures at Postech University in Korea in January 2004. At the `Who wants to be a mathematician?' competition for high school students in Wisconsin that is being hosted by the American Mathematical Society in Madison on April 16, 2004, Ken has been asked to to give public lecture highlighting this event.