Department of Mathematics

Van Vleck Hall, 480 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI

News Items

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.



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".  


The Wonderful World of Hagfish Slime

Hundreds of meters deep in the dark of the ocean, a shark glides toward what seems like a meal. It’s kind of ugly, eel-like and not particularly meaty, but still probably food. So the shark strikes.

This is where the interaction of biology and physics gets mysterious — just as the shark finds its dinner interrupted by a cloud of protective slime that appeared out of nowhere around an otherwise placid hagfish.

Jean-Luc Thiffeault, a University of Wisconsin–Madison math professor, and collaborators Randy Ewoldt and Gaurav Chaudhary of the University of Illinois have modeled the hagfish’s gag-inducing defense mechanism mathematically, publishing their work in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

Links to other articles about this:



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

(608) 263-3054

Contact Us

Got a question about
accessibility, content
or structure of this website?



Privacy and copyright statement: Privacy Notice 

© 2019 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System