Department of Mathematics

Van Vleck Hall, 480 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI

News Items

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.

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UW Students Perform Well on Virginia Tech Math Contest

On October 24, 2018, several math students took the Virginia Tech Math Contest.   The Virginia Tech Contest is similar to the Putnam Exam, but perhaps somewhat easier; this year 94 schools from 29 states took part in the 40th contest and there were 792 participants. The maximum possible score was 70.
We were thrilled to discover two of our students ranked 2nd and 3rd nationwide! 
Congratuations to Liwei Jiang (2nd) and Sivakorn Sanguanmoo (3rd).
Also notable, Xiaxin Li (21st) and Ruiting Tong (24th).

John Heim makes Top Moments at the UW in 2018

Check out the 2018 Top Moments in Time,

UW Photographers pick their favorite pictures of 2018.  John Heim is #16.

Melanie Matchett Wood Elected to AMS Council

Melanie Matchett Wood has been elected to a 3 year term on the American Mathematical Society Council, starting in 2019.  The Council formulates and administers the scientific policies of the Society and acts in an advisory capacity to the Board of Trustees.  Congratulations, Melanie!

David Anderson Awarded Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor

Congratulations to David Anderson on being awarded as a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor.  Candidates for the professorships possess unusual qualifications and promise, having been recognized nationally and internationally for the quality of their research.  Congratulations, David!


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

(608) 263-3054

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