Department of Mathematics

Van Vleck Hall, 480 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI

News Items

Senior math major among finalists for Rhodes Scholarship


University of Wisconsin–Madison senior Alex Plum competed this year as a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship, the oldest and most celebrated college award for postgraduate international study.

The 32 American winners of Rhodes Scholarships were chosen recently.  Dozens of others, including Plum, made it to the final stage of the prestigious competition.

“The Rhodes Scholarship is the very pinnacle of undergraduate achievement, and to be among the finalists is a huge honor,” says Provost Karl Scholz. “During his time with us, Alex has been a scholar of extraordinary ability and a leader inside and outside the classroom. He is poised to become an intellectual leader who makes a broad impact on the world.”

Link: https://news.wisc.edu/uw-madison-senior-among-finalists-for-2020-rhodes-scholarship/

Henry Mayes awarded for University Staff Excellence


Henry Mayes has won a University Staff Excellence Award.  This award is extremely competitive and staff in technical fields such as Information Technology rarely win.  This was a joint award coordinated between the Botany and Math Departments as Henry works part-time in each department.  We are fortunate to have such a dedicated and respected employee in Henry and he is very deserving of this award!

In Memoriam: Louis Solomon


Emeritus Professor Louis Solomon passed away Wednesday, November 18, at his home. He attended Harvard for his undergraduate education, and after two years of service in the Army, returned for graduate study, receiving his PhD from Harvard in 1958 under Professor Richard Brauer. Following positions at the Rockefeller Institute, Haverford College, and New Mexico State University, two summers at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and a year as a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study, he joined the Mathematics Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1969 and retired in 2000. A week-long meeting "Combinatorics of Lie Type,” hosted by the University of Wisconsin Mathematics Department in June 2000, drew 130 participants from all over the world to celebrate his career, mathematics, retirement, and birthday.

Lou made many important contributions to the study of reflection groups and Coxeter groups. Solomon's descent algebra is a mainstay of the theory. His series of influential papers in the 1980s with Peter Orlik, and later together with Hiroaki Terao, pioneered the study of hyperplane arrangements. The Orlik-Solomon algebra that resulted from these papers is closely related to the shuffle algebra used by Diaconis and others in the study of card shuffling. Lou was named a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society in the inaugural class of 2013.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years Elsbeth Aellig Solomon, son Jeremy Solomon, daughter Susan Solomon, and three grandchildren. 

The Atlantic interviews Jordan Ellenberg on Election Forecasting


The Atlantic published an interview by Derek Thompson with Jordan Ellenberg about politics, election forecasting, and how to think about the future like a pro.

Link:  https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/election-probabilities-are-emotional-nonsense/616916/

Former Van Vleck Professor Awarded Dolciani Prize for Excellence in Research


Amanda L. Folsom, a Van Vleck at the UW from 2007-2010, will receive the 2021 Mary P. Dolciani Prize for Excellence in Research from the American Mathematical Society (AMS). Folsom is a Professor of Mathematics at Amherst College. She was awarded the prize for her outstanding record of research in analytic and algebraic number theory, with applications to combinatorics and Lie theory, for her work with undergraduate students, and for her service to the profession, including her work to promote success of women in mathematics.

Link:  https://www.ams.org/news?news_id=6424

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