News for 2021

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December 2021
Check out our yearly Department Newsletter for news and research!
Check out our yearly newsletter for items on incoming faculty and KAPs, research on symplectic 4-manifolds and Lie groups, recent retirees, and updates from all our programs.
December 2021
De Loera elected Vice President of AMS
Results of the 2021 AMS Election have been announced. Congratulations to Jesús A. De Loera for being elected Vice President! He will serve a 3 year term. He was elected alongside Bryna Kra of Northwestern University as President and Jennifer Taback of Bowdoin College as a Trustee.
October 2021
Denena Recognized as Outstanding Advising Administrator
Every year, UC Davis recognizes the efforts of campus academic advisors for their excellent work done with students, faculty, and the community. We are proud to see Tina's hard work and thoughtfulness recognized. Tina Denena will be awarded as the 2021 Outstanding Advising Administrator.
October 2021
Teran Selected as CAMPOS Fellow
Joseph Teran was selected as a UC Davis CAMPOS Faculty Scholar. These faculty are characterized by the excellence of their research, and by their commitment to transforming STEMM education at UC Davis and contributing service to help address the problems of inequity in science, engineering and medicine. Teran was selected for leading science in computational mathematics, as well as being an outstanding mentor, and his focus on diversity.
October 2021
Workshop in honor of Craig Tracy
On October 30, the Mathematics Department will host a workshop to honor Professor Craig Tracy on the occasion of his retirement. Craig joined the Department of Mathematics in 1984 and retired in 2021. He is the recipient of the George Pólya Prize SIAM, Norbert Wiener Prize in Applied Mathematics, and Leroy P. Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research in Analysis/Probability Theory. Among his breakthroughs in mathematics are the discovery of the Tracy-Widom distribution, together with Harold Widom. Visitors will be expected to follow UC Davis' requirements for COVID.
September 2021
Vazquez awarded SLOAN grant to advance STEM faculty diversity
The Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science, or CAMPOS, recently secured a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to further advance STEM faculty diversity by assisting underrepresented minorities with research development and family care during and after the coronavirus pandemic.
September 2021
In Memory of Washek Pfeffer

Our colleague Washek Pfeffer passed away on January 3, 2021, at age 84. Václav Frantiček Pfeffer, born in Prague on November 14, 1936, changed his name to Washek Pfeffer on becoming a US citizen in 1970. He joined the UC Davis Department of Mathematics in 1966, retiring in 1994.

Washek exemplifies the ideal of the quirky cosmopolitan intellectual who would be at home at any university, anywhere in the world. One of Washek's middle school classmates who later rose to prominence, Václav Havel, the famous playwright and President of Czechoslovakia (1989-1992) and of the Czech Republic (1993-2003), became a close friend in the 1950s.

Washek's zest for life translated into mathematical productivity: He published over 100 research articles, including one last year. I urge you to take a moment to read Richard Gardner's obituary.

August 2021
Vazquez featured in BBC's CrowdScience podcast
On the CrowdScience blog maintained by BBC News World Service, a recent post titled "Why do my cables keep getting tangled" featured Mariel Vazquez. Hear her explain torsion and coiling in DNA, how it wraps around proteins called histones, how this affects replication in bacteria, and how Nature and modern medicine overcome harmful knotting.
July 2021
Martin Fraas named 2021 Hellman Fellow

Martin Fraas has been named a 2021 Hellman Fellow. The Hellman family inaugurated the Hellman Fellows Program in 1994 to support junior faculty research by making grants to junior faculty at 14 institutions: the ten campuses of the University of California along with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Business School, Stanford University, and Williams College. Congratulations Martin!

June 2021
Nachtergaele wins Humboldt Foundation's von Siemens Research Award

Bruno Nachtergaele was selected as one of this year's recipients of the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Research Award. The award, given annually by Germany's Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, recognizes Nachtergaele's lifetime achievements in mathematics research and teaching.

The von Siemens award includes a cash prize and an additional stipend to fund a research stay of up to a year in Germany. Nachtergaele plans to use this support to continue his long-term collaboration on the mathematics of the fractional quantum Hall effect and other topics in mathematical physics with researchers Simone Warzel and Amanda Young at the Technical University of Munich.

Congratulations, Bruno!

Additional links: Article in Dateline (June 8), UC Davis College of Letters and Science announcement (June 1)

May 2021
Gorsky recognized for outstanding teaching

Eugene Gorsky was selected as one of the winners of the UC Davis College of Letters and Science Teaching Award for 2021. The award is given annually by the College to recognize outstanding teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Gorsky and four other recipients of this year's award will be presented with the award at the College Assembly on June 2. Congratulations Eugene!

May 2021
De Loera to give plenary talk at SIAM 2021 Annual Meeting
Jesús De Loera will be one of the plenary speakers at this year's Annual Meeting of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (2021), to be held online on July 19-23, 2021.
April 2021
UCD sponsors mathematician-run journal on combinatorics
UC Davis Libraries is a sponsor of the newly founded mathematician-run journal Combinatorial Theory. Combinatorial Theory is an open-access publication with no fees for authors or readers. It publishes high quality articles in combinatorics, an active research area with applications throughout the mathematical, computational and natural sciences. Combinatorial Theory uses the University of California's eScholarship publishing platform with an innovative open access funding model. The editors range across many colleges, including our own!
April 2021
Give Day 2021: Math Department Gift Challenge - April 16-17

This Give Day 2021, generous donors have the opportunity to transform our students' lives. Please consider supporting one of the Department of Mathematics gift challenges.

Math Department Challenge

Thanks to a generous gift from Val Chan '92 to establish this challenge, any gift received will support outstanding academic programs, the pursuit of new knowledge, as well as our talented students and faculty. Your contribution will also allow flexibility to address the greatest needs within the department, including graduate student recruitment and community building.

Eric C. Ruliffson Scholarship in Mathematics

Help support math students and honor the memory of Eric Ruliffson (B.S., mathematics, ’68). Eric excelled at problem-solving at UC Davis, which helped him to achieve life-long personal and professional success. This scholarship was established to support mathematics students, like Eric, to help them succeed. Once 15 gifts to this fund are received, $25,000 from Erica Ruliffson Schultz and Bryan Schultz will activate on Give Day.

February 2021
Chaudhuri and Starkston awarded 2021 Sloan Fellowship
Department of Mathematics faculty members Rishidev Chaudhuri and Laura Starkston have both been awarded Sloan Research Fellowships for 2021. These prestigious fellowships are awarded annually by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. According to the Foundation, the Fellowships "seek to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise." Chaudhuri and Starkston are among 128 recipients of the Fellowship for 2021.

Rishidev Chaudhuri is an applied mathematician. He joined UC Davis in 2019 with a joint appointment between the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior. His research deals with themes such as noise and variability in the brain, computation via dynamics in recurrent networks, and more. He plans to use the Sloan Fellowship funding to study how noise and randomness might play a role in neural computation, and to develop techniques to extract structure from experimental recordings of the activity of populations of neurons, and attempt to apply the resulting data to test and refine theories of decision-making.

Laura Starkston joined UC Davis in 2018. She is a pure mathematician specializing in low-dimensional topology. Her Sloan Fellowship work will focus on several research questions relating to symplectic 4-manifolds and singular submanifolds. In addition to the Sloan Fellowship, she is the recipient of a 2020 Hellman Fellowship and a 2021 Faculty Early Career Award from the National Science Foundation.

Congratulations Rishidev and Laura!

February 2021
Laura Starkston awarded CAREER grant
Laura Starkston has been awarded a Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant by the National Science Foundation. The CAREER award, a five year grant, is one of the most prestigious awards given by the Foundation, which describes it as being given "in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization."