Department of Mathematics

Van Vleck Hall, 480 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI

News Items

In Memoriam: Terry Millar


Terry Millar died on Saturday, March 9 after a long battle with cancer.  Terry was a faculty member in the Math Department since 1976, retiring in 2015.

After dropping out of college to join the Marines for two years (including a brief stint as forward artillery observer in Vietnam), Terry started graduate school at Cornell and received his PhD in 1976 with Anil Nerode (twenty years his elder and still not retired!).

During the 1980’s, Terry was one of the world’s foremost researchers in computable model theory, an area which had been started by the Novosibirsk school of algebra and logic under Mal’cev and Ershov as well as, in the West, work of Fröhlich and Shepherdson, Rabin, and Nerode; and for a decade, Terry and Goncharov from Novosibirsk, both with coauthors, ended up proving the same results independently and almost simultaneously, but leaving many questions open to the current day.

In the late 1980’s, computable model theory fell briefly out of fashion, and Terry remembered his other great talent, administration, first serving for many years as Associate Dean in the Graduate School and finally as assistant to the Provost. He also became heavily involved in mathematics education and teacher training and was in charge of large grants for multiple school districts across the country, including Madison’s.

A few semesters before his retirement, Terry returned full time to the math department and revived in particular our history of mathematics course (using his unique expertise in both physics and logic).

He will be greatly missed in the department, and we mourn with his family this loss.

Memorial celebration of Terry's life

Terry's family, with guidance from a minister at the First Unitarian Society of Madison and help from many friends, invite all to a memorial to celebrate Terry’s life. This event will be on...

Swimming microbes steer themselves into mathematical order


Saverio Spagnolie and Arthur Evans of UW–Madison, University of Michigan physicist Christopher Miles and mathematician Michael Shelley of the Flatiron Institute and New York University found that when the particles are confined to a thin sheet and allowed to expand into an empty fluid, the collective motion can be described by equations already used in entirely different classical problems in fluid mechanics. The group published its findings recently in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Link: https://news.wisc.edu/swimming-microbes-steer-themselves-into-mathematical-order/

 

Sloan Fellowships Awarded to Two Faculty


Two University of Wisconsin–Madison professors, Mihaela Ifrim and Botong Wang, have been named to 2019 Sloan Research Fellowships — prestigious and competitive awards given to promising young researchers in the early stages of their careers.

“Sloan Research Fellows are the best young scientists working today,” says Adam F. Falk, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “Sloan Fellows stand out for their creativity, for their hard work, for the importance of the issues they tackle, and the energy and innovation with which they tackle them. To be a Sloan Fellow is to be in the vanguard of 21st century science.”

Ifrim’s research includes fluid mechanics, harmonic analysis, and nonlinear dispersive equations with an emphasis on water wave equations. Wang focuses on topology of algebraic varieties and its interaction with combinatorics and algebraic statistics. Both mathematicians earned doctorates in 2012 and joined the UW–Madison faculty in 2017.

Each fellow receives a two-year $70,000 fellowship from the foundation, which has awarded Sloan Research Fellowships in eight scientific and technical fields — chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences...

Math Teaching Assistants Win Campus Wide Awards


Two of our talented Math graduate students have been honored with campus-wide teaching awards.

Soumya Sankar has won the Exceptional Service Award and Di Fang has won the Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award. 

Of over 2000 teaching assistants on campus, these two were honored among a class of 13 others for their contributions to the classroom, lab, and field teaching contributions. 

We are thrilled at the recognition by campus of our promising graduate students and their outstanding teaching!

Erman, Sam, Ellenberg Mentions in the Bulletin of the AMS this month.


Two of the four articles published this month in the Bulletin of the American Mathematics Society have UW connections.  Daniel Erman and former faculty, Steven Sam, have an article titled "Cubics in 10 variables vs. cubics in 1000 variables: Uniformity phenomena for bounded degree polynomials".  Jordan Ellenberg has been involved in work related to what Joshua Grochow published "New applications of the polynomial method: The cap set conjecture and beyond".  

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UW-Madison Department of Mathematics
Van Vleck Hall
480 Lincoln Drive
Madison, WI  53706

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