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2008 – 2015 News


  • The American Mathematical Society has announced that Professor Loek Helminck will receive its 2016 Distinguished Public Service Award. Helminck is honored for “his dynamic and public-spirited leadership of the Department of Mathematics at North Carolina State University, and for his work, both in his department and at the national level, to increase the diversity of the mathematical research community.” Helminck served as Mathematics Department head from 2005 to 2015. Presented every two years, the AMS Distinguished Public Service Award recognizes a research mathematician who has made a distinguished contribution to the mathematics profession during the preceding five years. More information about Helminck’s award is here.
  • John Storey, a 1998 honors graduate in mathematics and valedictorian, has won the 2015 COPSS Presidents’ Award, given annually by the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies to a member of the statistics community under age 40. This award is often considered to be the most prestigious in the field of statistics. Storey won the award “for transformative and groundbreaking research on the theory, methods, and applications of inference methods, particularly significance testing, applied to high-dimensional data analysis problems; for impactful development and application of statistics to modern biological and medical research; and for service to the field of statistics through interdisciplinary activities.” Storey is the Harman Professor in Genomics at Princeton University, where he is Director of the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning.
  • Professor Ilse Ipsen has been elected Vice President at Large of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). Her responsibilities will include oversight of the SIAM activity groups and sections, and management of SIAM’s prizes through chairmanship of the Major Awards Committee.
  • Mathematics Professor Patricia Hersh is one of 50 mathematical scientists from around the world who have been named Fellows of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) during the program’s fourth year. Professor Hersh was cited “for contributions to algebraic and topological combinatorics, and for service to the mathematical community.” She is the sixth member of the Mathematics Department to be named a Fellow of the AMS.
  • “Math Doesn’t Bug Me” was a big success at BugFest at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh on Sept. 19.  Undergrad and grad students from the Math Department and the Center for Research in Scientific Computation led interactive math activities and presented posters on their research.   The organizers were  Lorena Bociu, Steven Derochers, and Shira Polster. Kudos to everyone involved!
  • Two Mathematics graduate students have won 2015 departmental awards. Third-year student Lucas Castle won the Maltbie Award, which recognizes outstanding teaching by a graduate student. Fourth-year student James Nance won the Winton-Rose Scholarship, which recognizes academic achievement and research success for a student who is completing their Ph.D. thesis. Castle’s advisor is Lorena Bociu, and Nance’s is Tim Kelley.
  • Professor Fredrick Semazzi, who holds a joint appointment in the Mathematics and Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences Departments, is leading an international initiative to combine climate research with economic development planning for Africa’s Lake Victoria region. The initiative is the subject of a College of Sciences news story.
  • Mathematics major Cori Krause, a May 2015 graduate, is featured in a College of Sciences news story. She is headed to Arlington, Virginia, to work as a cost analyst with the Department of the Navy.
  • Sarah Olson, a 2008 NC State Biomathematics Ph.D. and faculty member at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, has won a National Science Foundation CAREER award, one of NSF’s most prestigious awards for young researchers. The award is for mathematical modeling of sperm motion. Olson’s Ph.D. advisor was Mathematics Professor Mansoor Haider.
  • Professor Loek Helminck stepped down as Head of the Mathematics Departments on August 16. Professor Alina Chertock replaced him as Interim Head. Professor Hien Tran will continue as Associate Head. Helminck served as Interim Head in 2005-2006 and as Head since 2006.
    Highlights of his tenure include:
    * The construction of SAS Hall, which became the Department’s home in 2009.
    * The 2010 American Mathematical Society Award for an Exemplary Program or Achievement in a Mathematics Department, which recognized the Department’s blend of fundamental and interdisciplinary research, integration of undergraduate and graduate students into research, and professional development opportunities for graduate students. The Department’s
    Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, which was started by Professor Helminck and was one of the largest in the country, was especially praised.
    * The 2011 American Mathematical Society Award for Mathematics Programs that Make a Difference, which recognized the Department’s success with students from underrepresented groups. Since 1999 the Department had produced almost 13% of all African American mathematics Ph.D.’s in the nation.
    * Hiring of numerous young faculty, who enjoyed unprecedented success, including a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering (only the third in any field in the history of NC State) and a Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship (the second in the history of NC State).Helminck will remain a member of the Department, continuing research and teaching.Professor Chertock joined the Department in 2002 after completing her Ph.D. at Tel Aviv University and a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley. She is an expert on numerical methods for partial differential equations.
  • Jiang Luh, a member of the NC State Mathematics Department from 1968 until his retirement in 2002, passed away in Raleigh on July 8. He was 83. Dr. Luh received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1963. He was an algebraist who worked on prime rings and semisimple rings. He published 62 research papers and supervised 12 Ph.D. students. In 2002 the Mid-Atlantic Algebra Conference was held at NC State in honor of the retirement of Jiang Luh and Kwangil Koh. Dr. Luh was a founder of the Triangle Area Chinese American Society, which promotes Chinese language and cultural education as well as cultural exchange, and served as its first president. An obituary is here.
  • Dana May Latch, who taught mathematics at NC State from 1976 until 2000, passed away on May 31 following a period of failing health. She was 71. Dr. Latch earned her Ph.D. at CUNY Graduate School in 1971. Her interests were in algebraic topology and theoretical computer science. She published 15 mathematics research papers and had one Ph.D. student. During the 1990’s she served as a program director in the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. A News and Observer obituary is here.
  • The Association for Women in Mathematics Student Chapter held its 4th annual Sonia Kovalevsky Day on April 18. Almost 50 middle-schoolers came to SAS Hall for a morning of math workshops and talks. SK Day honors Sonia Kovalevsky, the first woman in Europe to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics, and aims to encourage young women to continue to pursue their interest in studying math.
  • Congratulations to Mathematics Honors Program graduates Nick Dunn, Thomas Gray, Darren Lipman, Matthew Loeffler, Sam Magura, Nick Quayle, Sara Troutman, and Alexandria Vail. More information is available here.
  • Charlene Wallace, executive assistant to Mathematics Department Head Loek Helminck, has been named winner of the 2015 College of Sciences Award for Excellence. This is only the second time a Mathematics Department staff member has won this award. Professor Helminck notes that when anyone in the math department has an issue they don’t know how to handle, the mantra is, “I’ll ask Charlene!” He adds, “Whatever the crisis of the day might be, Charlene’s good nature, sense of humor, and effectiveness get us through.”
  • Mathematics Professor H. T. Banks has been named the first Leroy B. Martin Jr. Distinguished Professor of Mathematics. The professorship was created by alumnus Dr. James Goodnight, CEO and co-founder of SAS, to honor Martin, a longtime NC State mathematics professor. Banks’s work integrates innovative ideas from mathematics and statistics into powerful predictive models that have profound effects on patient diagnosis and therapy, as well as the design of clinical trials for HIV and other areas of medicine.
  • 2011 Math Ph.D. Kristen Abernathy, an assistant professor at Winthrop University in South Carolina, has been chosen to receive the 2015 Mathematical Association of America Southeastern Section Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Faculty Member. The citation notes that Abernethy “has played a vital role in the culture shift happening in the math department, resulting in students who feel like the department is their academic home and have become more engaged in their coursework.”
  • Professor Frank Morgan of Williams College will speak on “Soap Bubbles and Mathematics” on Tuesday, April 14, in a public lecture aimed at everyone from fifth graders to university faculty. The lecture will include demonstrations, explanations, and a guessing contest with prizes. Professor Morgan’s talk is the fourth annual Kwangil Koh Lecture on Mathematics in Our Time. The goal of the Koh lectures is to communicate the importance of mathematics and its impact on science, technology and society. Professor Morgan is the author of the popular Math Chat Book, based on his live, call-in Math Chat TV show and Math Chat column. He was one of the first winners of the Mathematical Association of America’s Haimo Distinguished Teaching Award, and is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society. The lecture is at 4:30 PM in SAS 2203, and will be preceded by a reception at 4:00PM in the SAS Hall second floor lobby. Professor Morgan will also give a Colloquium Lecture on “Optimal tilings” on Monday, April 13 at 4:00PM in SAS 1102.
  • The NC State Colleges of Sciences and Education hosted “MoSAIC: Mathematics of Science, Arts, Industry and Culture,” a festival celebrating connections between mathematics and the arts, on March 27-28 in SAS Hall. Over 500 people attended, including kids, teachers, college students, faculty, and general public. MoSAIC is a collaborative effort sponsored and funded by MSRI and the Bridges organization. Presenters included Ingrid Daubechies of Duke, past president of the International Mathematical Union, who spoke on “Math Helping Art Conservation”; mathematical sculptor George Hart, co-founder of North America’s only museum of mathematics, MoMath, in New York City; mathematician-photographer Bruce Torrance and mathematician-artist Eve Torrance, who led a workshop on balloon-twisting; mathematician-artist Radmila Sazdanovic of NC State; Raleigh pianist Anatoly Larkin; and NC State graduate student Ashley White, who led a workshop on “Applications of Algebra in Dance Composition.” The event was a great opportunity for children and adults to experience and reflect about the interplay between math and art. Pictures are available online.
  • Distinguished Professor of Mathematics Ralph Smith is one of four NC State faculty named winners of 2015 Alumni Association Outstanding Research Awards. Professor Smith was recognized for seminal contributions to the modeling and control of smart material systems and to uncertainty quantification. He is co-author of the book “Smart Material Structures: Modeling, Estimation and Control” (1996), and author of the books “Smart Material Systems: Model Development” (2005) and “Uncertainty Quantification: Theory, Implementation, and Applications” (2014). Professor Smith is the second Mathematics Department faculty member to win an Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award since the award’s inception in 1982. The first was Professor H. T. Banks in 1996 and 2008.
  • Natalie Clark, a second-year student in the interdisciplinary Biomathematics Graduate Program, has been awarded a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship. Natalie’s research interests are systems biology, developmental biology, and gene regulatory network inference. Her work involves a mix of lab studies, mathematical modeling and statistical analysis. Natalie’s Ph.D. advisors are Professors Ross Sozzani (Plant and Microbial Biology) and Alun Lloyd (Mathematics).
  • Mathematics Professor Hien Tran is one of four NC State faculty named 2015 Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professors. The award recognizes outstanding graduate-level teaching. The selection committee noted that letters from students “attested to the extraordinary quality of the mentoring” that Professor Tran “provided both during and after their graduate programs at NC State.” Professor Tran is the second Mathematics Department faculty member to be named an Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professor since the award’s inception in 1983. The first was Professor H. T. Banks in 2000.
  • Mathematics Ph.D. student Steven Britt has received a Fulbright award for postgraduate research at Tel Aviv University in Israel. The Fulbright Program, which is administered by the U.S. State Department, awards highly competitive grants to U.S. citizens for research, teaching, and creative work abroad. It is considered among the prestigious award programs worldwide. Britt’s Ph.D. advisor is Professor Semyon Tsynkov.
  • A team of three participants in the Mathematics Department’s summer 2014 Research Experience for Undergraduates won an Outstanding Presentation Award at the Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM) in San Antonio in January. Jessie de la Cruz Santos (College of the Holy Cross), Ryan Gallagher (University of Connecticut), and Sarah Hadaidi (University of Kentucky) received the award for their poster “Do Polygons Become Asymptotically Regular under Flow by Curvature?” NC State’s Dr. Andrew Cooper directed the research. JMM is the largest annual mathematics meeting in the world. Outstanding Presentation Awards were given to 43 out of 273 undergraduate posters.


  • Mathematics Department Head Loek Helminck is one of 63 mathematical scientists from around the world who have been named Fellows of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) during the program’s third year. Professor Helminck was cited “for contributions to the representations and applications of symmetric spaces as well as for leadership in developing programs that attract and retain mathematics students.” He is the fifth member of the Mathematics Department to be named a Fellow of the AMS.
  • NC State University has appointed Professor Ralph Smith a Distinguished Professor of Mathematics. The position of Distinguished Professor recognizes faculty members who have “achieved recognition well above the criteria for full professor and [are] considered one of the best scholars in their discipline.” Smith was recognized for his research in modeling and control of smart material systems, including the development of an influential unified theory that describes hysteresis in ferroic materials. He is the fourth member of the Mathematics Department to be appointed to one of NC State’s Professorships of Distinction. The others are Distinguished University Professor and Drexel Professor H. T. Banks, Drexel Professor Tim Kelley, and Distinguished Professor Steve Campbell.
  • Tom Gordon, who taught mathematics at NC State from the 1960’s until 1985, passed away in Raleigh on July 24. He was 96. Col. Gordon, a World War II veteran, was one of four retired military officers who joined the NC State Mathematics Department during the 1960s after earning Master of Teaching degrees. Col. Gordon’s degree was from Duke. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he supervised new teaching assistants for many years. An obituary is here.
  • Research by Professor Mansoor Haider and Ph.D. student Micaela Mendlow on computing eye curvature from imaging data is featured in the Spring/Summer 2014 issue Sciences at NC State, a publication of the College of Sciences. Haider and Mendlow are working with Bioptigen, a Research Triangle Park company founded by NC State physics alumnus Eric Buckland, which makes imaging systems used in ophthalmology.
  • Junior applied mathematics and physics major Mithi (Mia) de los Reyes has been named the 2014 NC State Astronaut Scholarship winner. Astronaut Scholarships are awarded annually by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation to one student at each of 27 leading US universities. They are intended “to ensure that the United States would maintain its leadership in science and technology by supporting some of the very best science and engineering college students.” Mia is also a Park Scholar and has been awarded a Goldwater Scholarship.
  • The National Science Foundation’s Mathematical Discoveries web page features several NSF-funded projects each year to help demonstrate how “NSF’s public investment in science, engineering, education and technology helps to create knowledge and sustain prosperity.” The latest story describes mathematical modeling work by five mathematicians, including NC State Ph.D.’s Lea Jenkins (Clemson University) and Katie Fowler (Clarkson University), that is helping California berry farmers use water more efficiently during California’s current drought. Dan Balbas, a berry grower, says, “You’ve got a given resource, so how do you maximize it to maintain sustainability and do the right thing from an economic and environmental standpoint, marrying the two. It’s math. It really is math.”
  • Mathematics Professor Alina Duca is one of 19 NC State faculty to win a 2013-2014 Outstanding Teacher Award. The award recognizes excellence in teaching at all levels, and confers membership in NC State’s Academy of Outstanding Teachers.
  • Four NC State mathematics students have won prestigious national awards. Ph.D. student Melissa Strait, and Khalida Hendricks and Andre Washka, who earned undergraduate degrees in 2013, have won National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. Hendricks is currently a graduate student in physics at Ohio State, and Washka is a graduate student in statistics at Berkeley. In addition, sophomore mathematics major Mia de los Reyes has won a Goldwater Scholarship for her junior and senior years. Goldwater Scholarships support outstanding undergraduates in mathematics, science, and engineering, and are the premier awards of this type.
  • NC State has been awarded a five-year, $25 million federal grant to lead the new Consortium for Nonproliferation Enabling Capabilities, a group of universities and national labs that will conduct research and education relevant to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. Nine NC State faculty are involved in the project, including Mathematics Professor Ralph Smith and Statistics Professor Alyson Wilson. At NC State the grant will annually support two
    undergraduates, 13 graduate students and five post-doctoral fellows. NC State was selected by the National Nuclear Security Administration over 22 competitors.
  • Graduate Student Ruth Davidson, who will receive her Ph.D. this year, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. Davidson’s research concerns mathematical phylogenetics and geometric combinatorics. She is advised by Professors Patricia Hersh and Seth Sullivant. Davidson will use her NSF postdoc at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she will be affiliated with both the mathematics and computer science departments.
  • Assistant Professor Jonathan Hauenstein is one of 14 young U.S. mathematicians to win a 2014 Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship. Sloan Fellowships, which are awarded in science, mathematics, computer science, and economics, recognize early-career researchers “whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars, the next generation of scientific leaders.” Hauenstein is the first member of the NC State Mathematics Department, and only the second NC State faculty member in any area, to win a Sloan Fellowship since the program’s inception in 1955. Past Sloan Fellows include physicist Richard Feynman and game theorist John Nash. Sloan Fellows have gone on to win 42 Nobel Prizes and 16 Fields Medals, the mathematics prize often considered equivalent to a Nobel Prize. Hauenstein is a leader in the emerging field of numerical algebraic geometry, which brings classical insights about the geometry of polynomials to bear on problems of numerical computation. He earned his Ph.D. at Notre Dame in 2009, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Fields Institute in Toronto, Texas A&M University, and the Institut Mittag-Lefler in Sweden before joining the NC State Mathematics Department in 2012.
  • 2013 Math Ph.D. graduate Jeff Willert has been named to a prestigious Nicholas C. Metropolis Fellowship in Computational and Computer Science at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. He will work on algorithms for multiphysics simulations on state-of-the-art supercomputers. Jeff’s particular interests are in hybrid deterministic-Monte Carlo simulations for radiative transfer.
  • A new video about the important role of journals published by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics features NC State Professors Ilse Ipsen and Tim Kelley
  • The Mathematics Department hosted a workshop on Asymptotic-Preserving Methods for Kinetic Equations February 3 – 6. The workshop focused on numerical methods for fluids in transitional regimes that exhibit nonuniform behavior as a parameter approaches zero. The organizers included Professor Alina Chertock and Postdoctoral Fellow Daniel Balagué.
  • Drexel Professor of Mathematics C. T. (Tim) Kelley gave a keynote address in September at the 12th International Symposium on Distributed Computing and Applications in London. His subject was “Scalable hybrid deterministic/Monte Carlo neutronics simulations in two space dimensions.” In July 2014 he will give a plenary talk at the conference Optimization 2014 in Guimarães, Portugal.


  • Professor Kailash Misra is one of fifty mathematical scientists from around the world who have been named Fellows of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) during the program’s second year. Professor Misra was cited “for contributions to the representation theory of Kac-Moody Lie algebras and quantum groups, and for service to the mathematical community.” He is the fourth member of the Mathematics Department to be named a Fellow of the AMS.
  • Assistant Professor Lorena Bociu gave one of the four invited addresses at the Fall 2013 meeting of the Mathematical Association of America’s Maryland-DC-Virginia Section on November 1-2. Her topic was “Snowflakes, balloons, and the cardiovascular system.” All three phenomena can be modeled as free boundary problems for partial differential equations.
  • Raimond Struble, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, died on October 30. He was 88. Struble was a Navy veteran who earned his Ph.D. from Notre Dame in 1951. He worked for Douglas Aircraft Company and NASA, and was a faculty member at the Illinois Institute of Technology, before joining the NC State Mathematics Department in 1958. He helped establish the applied mathematics doctoral program and directed twelve Ph.D students. Struble worked in the areas of ordinary differential equations and generalized functions in operational calculus. His 1962 graduate text, Nonlinear Differential Equations, was translated into several languages. Struble published over 70 research articles, and corresponded with Albert Einstein on the mathematics of double stars. He was named a University Professor in 1970 and retired in 1987. Struble’s colleagues depended on him for a fair and thoughtful assessment of any situation. His hobbies included coaching pole vaulting, singing, skating, swimming, listening to classical music and ballroom dancing.
  • Drexel Professor of Mathematics C. T. (Tim) Kelley was honored on October 10 as Purdue University’s 2013 Outstanding Mathematics Alumnus. Kelley is a numerical analyst who works on numerical solution of linear and nonlinear equations, multilevel methods for integral equations, optimal control, large-scale optimization, and flow in porous media. He is Chair of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Board of Trustees, and Editor-in-Chief of SIAM Review.
  • Assistant Professor Jonathan Hauenstein is the only mathematician to win a 2013 Young Faculty Award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). These awards are for “rising research stars” working in core technology areas of importance to national security. Hauenstein’s award of up to $500,000 over two years is for the use of numerical algebraic geometry in data analysis. It currently supports a research assistant professor and a graduate student.
  • Assistant Professor of Mathematics Mark Hoefer has won a National Science Foundation CAREER award. The award, one of NSF’s most prestigious for young faculty, is for the analytical, numerical, and experimental study of nonlinear waves in dispersive media, with application to fluid interfaces, ferromagnets, superfluids, and optics. The award will support development of a dispersive shock wave laboratory, which will provide new experimental opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Five NC State faculty members — Mathematics professors Alun LloydMette OlufsenHien Tran, and Tom Banks, and Statistics professor Kevin Gross — have been awarded a five-year, $2.5 million National Science Foundation Research Training Group award to support and train undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs in key areas of biomathematics. The training involves relating mechanistic mathematical models to biological data through parameter estimation methods, uncertainty quantification, and experimental design. It is a joint effort of the Biomathematics Graduate Program, the Mathematics and Statistics Departments, and the Center for Quantitative Sciences in Biomedicine. The website for RTG is located here.
  • Mathematics faculty Alina Duca and Mansoor Haider are the 2013 winners of NC State’s Gertrude Cox Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching and Learning with Technology. The award recognizes the redesign of MA 341 Applied Differential Equations I by Professors Duca and Haider. The redesign incorporates Moodle, WeBWorK, and Livescribe technologies to support student-centered learning.
  • The Mathematical Association of America has chosen NC State Math Ph.D. Rachel Levy, associate professor at Harvey Mudd College, to receive its 2013 Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning Faculty Member. The award honors up to three U.S. or Canadian college faculty each year whose teaching “is effective and extraordinary and extends its influence beyond the classroom.” In 2010 one of the winners was NC State Math Ph.D. Kathleen Fowler, associate professor at Clarkson University. (more)
  • NC State Math Ph.D. Sabrina Hessinger, associate professor of mathematics at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, and her colleagues have used an NSF grant to help thousands of Georgia K-12 teachers to improve their STEM teaching. An article in SCOPE magazine describes her work.
  • Two Mathematics Department faculty, Sandra Paur and Molly Fenn, have received 2013 NC State teaching awards. Professor Paur was named an Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor. This title is one of the most prestigious awarded by NC State for excellence in teaching. Professor Fenn received an Outstanding Teacher Award.
  • NC State senior Joey Arthur, a double major in math and computer science, has won a prestigious NSF Graduate Fellowship. He plans to study biostatistics at Stanford. Another of this year’s winners is 2012 NC State graduate Adam Keith, a double major in math and physics, who is studying physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
  • NC State Math Ph.D. Rachel Levy, associate professor at Harvey Mudd College, tired of hearing people say, “Just explain it like you would to your grandma.” She started what Slate magazine calls the “amazing ‘Grandma Got STEM’ project” to collect the stories of tech-savvy grandmothers who did pioneer work in the sciences and engineering. See the stories and photos, and contribute your own, at
  • The magnetic droplet, a nanoscale, spinning excitation, or soliton, in a magnet, was predicted theoretically in the 1970s. In 2008 Assistant Professor Mark Hoefer proposed a method to create one. Experimentalists at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology have now succeeded in implementing Hoefer’s idea. An article by Hoefer and the experimentalists is in the March 15, 2013 issue of Science. These solitons should prove useful in future spintronic computers.
  • The first Frontiers in Computational Physics Prize, awarded by the Journal of Computational Physics, has gone to Assistant Professor John Harlim. The award recognizes a young scientist in a focus area that will change each year. The first year’s focus is earth system models.
  • Professor Carl Meyer’s work on ranking sports teams has been gaining recognition. The American Institute of Physics featured Meyer’s work with his former Ph.D. student Chuck Wessel, assistant professor of mathematics at Gettysburg College, in an Inside Science video. Meyer’s book Who’s #1?: The Science of Rating and Ranking (Princeton University Press, 2012), written with his former postdoc Amy Langville, associate professor of mathematics at the College of Charleston, was the subject of a featured review in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society, another in the SIAM Review, and an article in the NC State Bulletin. An introduction to Meyer and Langville’s book by the authors is here.


  • Four NC State faculty are among the 2013 inaugural class of Fellow of the American Mathematical Society (AMS). The AMS plans to eventually recognize about 1500 of its 30,000 members as Fellows, mathematical scientists “who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication, and utilization of mathematics.” The inaugural class of 1119 Fellows from around the world represents over 600 institutions. The four NC State Fellows are Professors of Mathematics Michael Shearer and Michael Singer, Associate Professor Seth Sullivant and Professor of Computer Science Carla Savage.
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) has renewed its support for the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) in Research Triangle Park. The new $17.5 million award for 2012-2017 will be split among SAMSI’s sponsors: NC State, Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, and the National Institute of Statistical Sciences. NSF has supported SAMSI since its founding in 2002. SAMSI runs research and education programs designed to forge a synthesis of the statistical and applied mathematical sciences with disciplinary science to confront the hardest and most important scientific challenges. At NC State, the award will be administered by Mathematics Professor Ilse Ipsen, replacing Mathematics Professor Pierre Gremaud, who reached the end of his four-year commitment to SAMSI.
  • Four of the eight poster prizes at the 2012 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Conference on the Life Sciences went to students associated with NC State. The two undergraduate prizes went to NC State senior Joseph Arthur for work with Professor Hien Tran on modeling Hepatitis C viral dynamics, and to Cal Poly Pomona undergraduate Alberto Soto for work done in an NC State summer research program with Professor Mette Olufsen on modeling blood pressure dynamics. Two of the six graduate student awards went to Allison Margolskee for work with Professor Jim Selgrade on modeling hormonal regulation of the menstrual cycle, and to William Cousins for work with Professor Pierre Gremaud on hemodynamic modeling. Margolskee and Cousins are graduate students in the NC State Mathematics Department.
  • Michele Benzi, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Emory University and a 1993 NC State Mathematics Ph.D., has been named a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). He was recognized for “contributions to numerical linear algebra and its applications, especially sparse linear systems and preconditioning.” Benzi, whose Ph.D. advisor was Carl Meyer, is the first NC State Ph.D. to achieve this distinction. He joins five NC State Mathematics Department faculty who are SIAM Fellows.
  • A gift by Anjela Govan (Mathematics Ph.D. 2008) and her husband, Vincent has established the Meyer Graduate Travel Fund Endowment in the Mathematics Department. Named for Govan’s advisor, Professor Carl Meyer, the fund will allow graduate student to attend conferences in the U.S. and abroad. (story)
  • Professor Alina Chertock is part of one of the National Science Foundation’s first Research Networks in the Mathematical Sciences. The “Kinetic Description of Emerging Challenges in Multiscale Problems” network (KI-Net) includes 25 core participants at institutions in the US and Europe. Kinetic equations describe systems of many particles as densities. The participants envision applications ranging from semi-conductors, polymers, and plasma to swarming and neural networks, as well as traffic and social and economic networks.
  • At the International Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology in Pune, India, January 23-27, 2012, three of the ten plenary speakers from outside India were members of the NC State Mathematics Department. Tom Banks spoke on mathematical modeling of human lymphocyte proliferation, Sharon Lubkin spoke on self-organizing tissues, and Hien Tran spoke on optimal control-based treatment strategies for HIV-AIDS.


  • Associate Professor Seth Sullivant has been elected Chair of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Activity Group on Algebraic Geometry. He will serve from January 2012 to December 2013.
  • Drexel Professor of Mathematics Tim Kelley has been named chair of the Board of Trustees of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics effective January 1, 2012. An interview with Professor Kelley, in which he discusses his crushed hopes for a professional football career, his latest book, and his membership in the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, is in the March issue of SIAM News.
  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Tao Pang and two coauthors have won a 2011 Best Paper Prize of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Activity Group on Control and Systems Theory. Their paper, “Optimal Stopping Problem for Stochastic Differential Equations with Random Coefficients,” was judged one of the two best published in the last two years in the SIAM Journal on Control and Optimization.
  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Mette Olufsen is collaborating with researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin and six universities on a five-year, $13 million NIH-funded project to produce a “virtual rat.” The computational models will help decipher the underlying causes of diseases, including hypertension, renal disease, heart failure, and metabolic syndromes. Professor Olufsen is the only mathematician on the project, which will include an NC State graduate student and postdoc.
  • In its September 2011 issue, the bimonthly electronic newsletter PAMS Focus featured the Mathematics Department’s Math Circle in the Triangle. This Saturday morning program for middle-school students does “cool stuff” in fun setting.
  • Professor Alun Lloyd is part of a team that reported in the August 25 issue of Nature on a promising technique for suppressing the dengue fever virus, which infects over 50 million people per year world wide. The virus is spread by a mosquito. The team reported that a strain of the Wolbachia bacterium, which is harmless to humans, can be introduced into a captive mosquito population; the captives are then released into the environment and mate with wild mosquitoes, which pass the bacterium on to their offspring. The bacterium protects mosquitoes from becoming infected with the dengue virus, thus protecting humans. Lloyd did the mathematical modeling for the project, which enabled the experimenters to find the most promising strain of the Wolbachia bacterium. (story)
  • Mathematics Department graduate Ashley Walls has won Arts NC State’s 2010-2011 Creative Award for Dance. Walls, who will begin graduate study in the Mathematics Department this fall, won the award for her modern dance, “That One Should Always.” Four earlier works by Walls have been presented in NC State Dance Company performances and other venues.
  • Mathematics Department Ph.D. student Terrance Pendleton’s poster, “Global Weak Solutions for a Family of Evolutionary PDEs,” was named best in the Theory category at CAARMS 17(Conference for African-American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences), held at UCLA June 1- 4, 2011. CAARMS spotlights the accomplishments of mathematicians from underrepresented minority backgrounds. Pendleton’s advisor is Professor Alina Chertock.
  • Professor Ilse Ipsen, an expert on numerical linear algebra, was named a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics on March 31, 2011. She is the fifth member of the NC State Mathematics Department to achieve this distinction.
  • Elizabeth Dempster, a Lecturer in the Mathematics Department, has won an NC State Outstanding Teacher Award for 2010-2011.
  • Professor Moody Chu is the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences recipient of the 2011 Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching.
  • The Hubert V. Park Classroom, SAS 2102, was dedicated on March 1. Dr. Park (1911-2005) was a member of the NC State Mathematics Department from 1934 to 1978. He was the recipient of two Outstanding Teacher awards, an Alumni Distinguished Professorship, the Alumni Association Award of Merit, and the Watauga Medal, NC State’s highest non-academic honor, which recognizes “those persons who have made notable contributions to the advancement of the University.” A brief biography is here. The photo of Dr. Park’s son Richard B. Park was taken at the dedication.
  • NC State Ph.D. Rachel Levy, an assistant professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, has been selected as Harvey Mudd’s Critchell Assistant Professor beginning July 1, 2011. The Critchell Assistant Professorship, a college-wide honor, recognizes a junior faculty member who has “exhibited an unusual talent for mentoring and counseling students in all aspects of their lives.” Harvey Mudd is a highly selective liberal arts college that focuses on science, engineering, and mathematics. Among all US colleges and universities, it ranks second to Caltech in the percentage of its graduates who earn Ph.D.’s in science and engineering.
  • 2011 graduate Senior Zach Clawson was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which he will use to study applied mathematics at Cornell University. Clawson, a Caldwell Fellow from Manteo, did an undergraduate research project with Professor Robert Martin and participated in an REU program at Cornell.
  • NC State University has appointed Professor Steve Campbell a Distinguished Professor of Mathematics. The position of Distinguished Professor recognizes faculty members who have “achieved recognition well above the criteria for full professor and [are] considered one of the best scholars in their discipline.” Campbell is a world leader in the study of differential algebraic equations, including their numerical solution, control, and engineering applications. He is the third member of the Mathematics Department to be appointed to one of NC State’s Professorships of Distinction. The others are Distinguished University Professor and Drexel Professor H. T. Banks, and Drexel Professor Tim Kelley.
  • Associate Professor Mette Olufsen has been elected Program Director of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Activity Group on the Life Sciences. She will serve from January 2011 to December 2012.
  • Associate Professor Patricia Hersh has been elected to a three-year term (2011 – 2013) on the Council of the American Mathematical Society.
  • Susan Crook has been selected to represent NC State at the upcoming Preparing Future Faculty workshop in Washington, DC, organized by the Council of Graduate Schools.
  • Distinguished University Professor H. T. Banks has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is the first member of the NC State Mathematics Department to achieve this honor.


  • Paul Nickel, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, died on December 10, 2010. Nickel did his undergraduate work at Brown University and received his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1959 under Leo Sario. He taught at Montana State University before joining the Mathematics Department at NC State in 1965. Nickel’s strong mathematical intuition sometimes left his colleagues behind. He worked in function theory, and was also interested in ordinary and partial differential equations. He was an important factor in the development of a Ph.D. program in mathematics at NC State. Nickel had one Ph.D. student at Montana State (Dennis Garoutte, who was a member of the NC State Mathematics Department from 1966 until 2001) and two at NC State. He retired in 1989. A News and Observer obituary is here.
  • Emeritus faculty member Herbert E. Speece died on October 14, fifteen days before his 96th birthday. Herbert Speece came to NC State as an instructor in the Mathematics Department in 1947. He was the first Ph.D. student of Jack Levine in 1956; the degree was from UNC Chapel Hill, since NC State did not yet have a Ph.D. program. He obtained a joint appointment with the School of Education in 1949 and administered the mathematics and science teaching programs. He became the first head of the Mathematics and Science Education Department and held that position until he retired in 1980. Speece retained his joint appointment in the Mathematics Department and was the main reason for the close working relations between the Mathematics and the Mathematics and Science Education Departments. A News and Observer obituary is here
  • Mathematics Department Head Loek Helminck announced on September 1 that the Alliance for Building Faculty Diversity in the Mathematical Sciences is now accepting applications for its first class of three-year postdoctoral fellows. The fellowships are targeted at minority candidates. The Alliance, which is directed by Professor Helminck, includes, in addition to NC State, the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Howard University, the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, the University of Nebraska, and the National Science Foundation-funded math institutes. It is funded by an NSF grant awarded in March 2009. Fellows will typically spend two years at an Alliance university and one year at one of the math institutes.
  • The membership of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) has elected Drexel Professor of Mathematics Tim Kelley to a three-year term (2011 – 2013) on the SIAM Board of Trustees. 
  • Kathleen (Katie) Fowler, a 2003 NC State Ph.D. and associate professor at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, has won this year’s Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member from the Mathematical Association of America. The award is given each year to up to three mathematics faculty in the US or Canada with at most seven years’ teaching experience. Fowler, who works in computational applied mathematics, has directed ten student research projects in such areas as hydrology, polymer processing, psychology, and physiology, and this work has resulted in five publications. She works with or directs programs including Mathcounts, Pi Day, a summer math camp for middle and high school students, and summer institutes for teachers. She started a student chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics with over fifty members, and she advises the university‘s Mathematical Contest in Modeling teams. She has received two university-wide teaching awards.
  • An NC State – Harvard Medical School team has won one of first two Lord Robert May Best Paper Prizes, awarded by the Journal of Biological Dynamics to top papers in volumes 1 (2007) and 2 (2008) of the journal. The team, H. T. Banks (NC State Mathematics professor), Marie Davidian (NC State Statistics professor), Shuhua Hu (NC State CRSC postdoc), Grace Kepler(NC State Mathematics research associate professor), and Eric S. Rosenberg (Harvard Medical School), authored the paper “Modeling HIV immune response and validation with clinical data,” J. Biological Dynamics 2 (2008), 357–385. 
  • NC State mathematics alumna Maria Hernandez (BS 1982), a math teacher at the North Carolina School of Mathematics and Science in Durham, is one of two North Carolina teachers named by President Obama on June 7 as recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (story). On July 4 the News and Observer of Raleigh named Hernandez Tar Heel of the Week.
  • Professor C. T. Kelley has been appointed as the next editor-in-chief of SIAM Review. Prof. Kelley takes over from the current editor, Robert Schnabel, on January 1, 2011.
  • Michael Shearer (Mathematics) and Karen Daniels (Physics), together with colleagues at Duke and Harvey Mudd College, have been awarded a three-year Focused Research Group grant from the National Science Foundation for research into thin liquid films. NC State’s share is over $750,000. The principal investigator at Harvey Mudd is NC State Mathematics Ph.D. Rachel Levy. In addition to the research of the PIs, the grant will fund undergraduate and graduate student research, and a postdoctoral fellow.
  • Professor Sharon Lubkin is the principal investigator on a new four-year R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health. The project,”Mechanistic mixture models of mechanics of morphogenesis with murine measurement,” aims to understand the mechanics and cell/tissue behavior governing the formation of the embryonic lung. The $1.3M project, with co-investigators Zhilin Li (NC State) and David Warburton (Childrens Hospital Los Angeles), involves modeling, PDE methods for interfaces, and experimental measurements in mice. Only about one in five NIH R01 grant proposals is funded, and it is particularly unusual for a proposal with a mathematician as principal investigator to be funded. At the November 6-7 American Mathematical Society Southeastern Section Meeting in Richmond, Lubkin will give one of the four plenary talks. Her subject is “Model perspectives on self-organizing tissues.”
  • Assistant Professor Seth Sullivant has won a National Science Foundation CAREER award. The award, one of NSF’s most prestigious for young faculty, is for research using algebraic approaches to statistical models in evolutionary biology. The CAREER award is Sullivant’s second major award this academic year. In Fall 2009 he won one of 16 Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering. He was the only mathematician in the group.
  • The American Mathematical Society (AMS) announced April 1 that the NC State Mathematics Department has received the 2010 AMS Award for an Exemplary Program or Achievement in a Mathematics Department. This annual award recognizes a college or university mathematics department that has distinguished itself by undertaking an unusual or particularly effective program of value to the mathematics community, internally or in relation to the rest of society. The award was given for “NC State’s particular combination of a strong commitment to outreach, well thought-out programs for students, and a long-standing dedication to diversity in the mathematics work force. …This is a department that manages to do it all—research in a broad range of areas, high-quality teaching and mentoring, strong ties to industry, and a welcoming environment for underrepresented groups. An article in the April Notices of the AMS tells the story of how NC State earned this award.
  • Professors Steve Campbell and Carl Meyer are among 34 new Fellows of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) named on March 31. The 2010 class of Fellows is SIAM’s second and the first to be nominated by the SIAM community. The Fellows were chosen for their significant contributions to the fields of applied mathematics and computational science.
  • John Griggs, Teaching Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Classroom Instruction, and Leslie Kurtz, a Lecturer in the Mathematics Department, were named NC State teaching award winners for 2009-2010 on March 23. Griggs was one of five NC State faculty named to an Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professorship, and Kurtz was one of 18 winners of an Outstanding Teacher Award.
  • Alexey Ovchinnikov, a 2007 NC State Ph.D. and faculty member at Queens College in New York City, has won a National Science Foundation CAREER award, one of NSF’s most prestigious awards for young researchers. The award is for research using differential algebraic techniques to develop algorithms for solving partial differential algebraic equations.
  • Graduate student Anne Costolanski received a 2010 SIAM Student Chapter Certificate of Recognition from the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Anne has served for two years as the NC State chapter president. She was recognized for her leadership and creativity in organizing chapter events. The award was presented by faculty advisors Michael Shearer and Ralph Smith on March 31.
  • The Mathematics Department has established two tracks to the Ph.D’s in both Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. One is the current track. The other is a new track in Interdisciplinary Mathematics. The interdisciplinary tracks maintain a strong requirement in mathematics but offer more flexibility in course requirements in order to accommodate the required interdisciplinary research activities.
  • The NC State Mathematics Department is launching a local Math Circle beginning Saturday, January 9, 2010. A math circle is a gathering of young people who are interested in learning new mathematics in a fun and enriching environment. There are many math circles across the country, loosely organized through a web site. More details about the NC State Math Circle in the Triangle may be found here.
  • Patricia Hersh is the 2010-11 recipient of the Ruth I. Michler Memorial Prize, cited for her “outstanding contributions to mathematical research and to the mathematical community.”The Ruth I. Michler Memorial Prize of the Association for Women in Mathematics is awarded annually to a woman recently promoted to Associate Professor or an equivalent position in the mathematical sciences. The prize provides a fellowship for the awardee to spend a semester in the Mathematics Department of Cornell University without teaching obligations. More details can be found here.


  • The NC State Mathematics Department is launching a local Math Circle beginning Saturday, January 9, 2010. A math circle is a gathering of young people who are interested in learning new mathematics in a fun and enriching environment. There are many math circles across the country, loosely organized through a web site. More details about the NC State Math Circle in the Triangle may be found here
  • Professor Emeritus J. M. A. (Tony) Danby, an expert in celestial mechanics who was recognized by an Outstanding Teacher award and an Alumni Distinguished Professorship, died on Dec. 8. (News and Observer obituary)
  • Professor Erich Kaltofen has been selected as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society. The official announcement can be found here:
  • SAS Hall, the new home for the NC State University Mathematics and Statistics departments, received an honor award at the 2009 American Institute of Architecture South Atlantic Region conference held in Greenville, SC. Twenty projects were selected from over 200 entries submitted by AIA South Atlantic Region members. The South Atlantic Region includes North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Park Shops also received an honor award. The architectural firm PBC+L (Pearce, Brinkley, Cease and Lee) received a total of three Honor awards, the most of any firm in the region.
  • Tim Kelley’s research group on linear/nonlinear equations and multilevel methods is currently featured on NC State’s High-Performance Computing web site.
  • Assistant Professor Seth Sullivant has been awarded a prestigious Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering. Professor Sullivant is one of 16 recipients of the 2009 Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering and the only mathematician receiving the award this year. Previous to this year, there have been only three Fellows selected from NC State and only 21 have ever been awarded in mathematics. 
  • New SIAM Fellows in the Mathematics Department. Professors H. Thomas Banks and Carl T. Kelley were inducted as fellows of SIAM, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, at the SIAM Annual Meeting, held in Denver, Colorado July 6-10, 2009.
  • Angelean Hendrix, a first year Applied Mathematics graduate student, has been awarded a prestigious three year NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to work with Prof. Selgrade. Hers was one of 62 awards in all of mathematics, applied mathematics, and biostatistics.
  • Ryan Going, a senior in applied mathematics and electrical and computer enginnering, is one of 37 U.S. students to win a Gates Cambridge Scholarship for study at Cambridge University.
  • Emeritus Professor LeRoy B. Martin passed away on February 12, 2009.
    News and Observer obituary


  • James M. Ortega, head of the NC State Mathematics Department from 1977 to 1979, died on October 24, 2008. A brief biography and an obituary are here.
  • Congratulations to Denise Seabrooks for 30 years of service and Carolyn Gunton for 20 years of service to the Mathematics Department. 
  • Assistant Professor Patricia Hersh’s op ed column on the contributions of the Big Three automakers to science education appeared in the Raleigh News and Observer on December 11.
  • Professor Emeritus LeRoy Martin has been honored with the nineteenth PAMS Distinguished Alumni Award.

    In recognition of Dr. Martin’s contributions to mathematics at NC State, Jim Goodnight from SAS has endowed the “LeRoy Martin Distinguished Professorship.” This is the first privately endowed distinguished professorship for the mathematics department.

    Leroy B. Martin, Jr. came to NC State University (then NC State College) as a Teaching Fellow in 1949, teaching half-time and working toward a masters degree. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1958, and after a stint with IBM, returned to NC State as Assistant Professor in 1961. Martin served the university in a variety of leadership capacities, including directing the early development of computer science programs and facilities on campus in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1983, he returned to full-time teaching in the mathematics department as Full Professor, and has been Professor Emeritus since 1996.

    Martin wrote a more extended biography for the department Web page. It can be found, along with other historical records, at

    Jim Goodnight is one of the founders and CEO of SAS, the world’s leading business intelligence software vendor. He received a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics in 1965, a master’s degree in experimental statistics in 1968 and a doctorate in statistics in 1972, all from NC State, where he was also a faculty member from 1972 to 1976. Jim and his wife, Ann, are longtime supporters of PAMS and the university through their continued leadership and financial generosity.

  • Demetrio Labate has won a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, NSF’s most prestigious award for junior faculty. The award is described here.
  • The The NC State Alumni Association has named H. Thomas Banks as one of the 2008 recipients of the Association’s Outstanding Research Award. Professor Banks also won the award in 1996.
  • Nicole Kroeger, a sophomore majoring in mathematics, won a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for 2008-2009.
  • Senior Kasey Phillips, a double-major in mathematics and physics, has been awarded a prestigious NSF Graduate Fellowship. She will first attend the University of Cambridge to study applied mathematics, after which she will move to Harvard University to pursue a PhD in applied physics.
  • Denise Seabrooks was nominated for the 2008 PAMS/Mathematics SPA Awards for Excellence.
  • Graduate student Anjela Govan’s paper and presentation “Generalizing Google’s PageRank to Rank National Football League Teams” was given an award for a best contributed paper in the area Data Mining and Predictive Modeling at the SAS Global Forum 2008 conference that was held in San Antonio, TX, March 16-19. This is an annual international conference sponsored by SAS, and this year there were over 3700 participants. Russell Albright from SAS Institute (Cary, NC) and Carl Meyer are co-authors. The announcement and the paper are posted here.
  • The NC State Alumni Association has named Bob Martin an Alumni Distinguished
    Undergraduate Professor for 2008-2010.
  • Marilyn McCollum has been named an NC State Outstanding Teacher for 2007 –
    2008, and has become a member of the Academy of Outstanding Teachers.
  • NC State Mathematics PhD John Haws discussed his experience teaching high school algebra in the Rio Grande Valley, and how it influenced his subsequent career, in the February 2008 issue of Notices of the American Mathematical Society. The article, “A Valuable Diversion,”
    is available at
  • Dynamical Systems at NC State is the subject of an article by Steve Schecter in the January 2008 issue of Dynamical Systems Magazine. (link)