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News from the Undergraduate Director by Roger Zierau
OSU Mathematics majors had a successful 2010-2011 school year. In addition to normal course work, a number of students completed research projects, senior thesis, internships and competed on our Putnam team.
A number of students took advantage of opportunities both at OSU and elsewhere. These included two prestigious Wentz Scholarships, a research project at MSRI (Mathematical Sciences Research Institute), a semester in Moscow and Internships in applied mathematics.
Junior Matt Swartz has been particularly active in obtaining internships in applied mathematics. Last summer he worked for Ultra Electronics ProLogic, a company specializing in IT solutions for various government agencies, such as the Department of Defense and the Department of energy. He worked on an optimization problem using a multi-objective optimization algorithm. This spring Matt is working full-time in an internship with NASA in Virginia. In this project Matt has been using a hyperspectral inverse model to determine pigments in the ocean. He has found that his programming and computer skills, as well as his knowledge of linear algebra, have been important in his day-to-day work. These internships have shown Matt what might be expected from a career in applied mathematics.
Jonathan Crossley has a Wentz Scholarship to study special values of L-functions. He is working under the guidance of Prof. Raghuram on this endeavor. The project involves performing computations important in analytic number theory using the computer software packages of SAGE. The results of this work may lead to a senior thesis for Jonathan.
James Bishop will complete a senior thesis this semester on the game called "Domineering". His thesis advisor is Prof. David Wright. In this game two players play on a checkerboard, one player lays dominoes on the board horizontally and the other lays them vertically. The player who can no longer lay down a domino looses. The question is this: Can one give a winning strategy (algorithm) for an arbitrary size rectangular board? The answer is unknown! James has discovered winning algorithms for some boards of small size and is learning some of the mathematics used to study problems in the area of Game Theory.
The Mathematics Department's Outstanding Senior this year is Markus Vasquez. Markus has had a spectacular undergraduate career here at OSU. In addition to his courses in advanced mathematics as well as many other subjects he has participated in several mathematics programs outside of OSU, written a senior thesis and secured a Wentz Scholarship to conduct research in mathematics. Last summer he participated in MSRI-UP at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, CA. This is a program for undergraduate students who want to work on research in mathematics. Only a very small number of undergraduate students nation-wide are selected to participate. In the fall Markus completed a senior thesis under the direction of Prof. Lisa Mantini. For his Wentz Scholarship he worked on a problem in the algebra of polynomial rings and ideal theory. He formulated a conjecture and made progress on its proof. This spring he is spending a semester in Moscow studying mathematics at the Independent University of Moscow. He is planning to attend graduate school in mathematics this coming fall at the University of California at Berkeley, one of the top graduate schools for mathematics in the country; he plans to earn a Ph. D.
These students should be commended for their initiative in getting involved in these activities.
Each year a number of mathematics majors win awards and scholarships. Here are this year's winners:
Outstanding Senior: Markus Vasquez
W. N. and Jane Enger Award: Jonathan Crossley
Professor Emeritus Awards: Benjamin Popp, Dillon Redding, Matthew Swartz, Thomas Wright
Hazel Bucy awards: James Bishop, Andrew Noel, Laurel Wilson
Wolfe Award for Math Education: Tyler Eckert.