Faculty News Briefs

June 2011

Professor Panos Kevrekidis had a busy spring. In April, Panos attended the 7th IMACS International Conference on Nonlinear Evolution Equations and Wave Phenomena: Computation and Theory. In addition to being a member of the organizing committee of the conference, Panos together with Ricardo Carretero organized a special session on "Nonlinear Schrodinger Models: Mathematical Analysis and Physical Applications." Panos also gave an invited talk in the session "Nonlinear Waves in Periodic and Quasi-Periodic Media," which was organized by Jianke Yang. During the same month Panos attended the Union College Mathematics Conference and gave an invited talk in the Applied Mathematics session; Nathaniel Whitaker also participated and gave an invited presentation in this session. Both of these talks by Panos focused on his recent theoretical, numerical, and experimental work on granular chains. In May, Panos attended the SIAM meeting on Dynamical Systems in Snowbird, UT. At this conference Panos co-organized with former UMass Amherst postdoc George Theocharis (presently at Cal Tech) a minisymposium on "Nonlinear Phenomena in Granular Crystals." Panos also gave an invited talk at another minisymposium on "Existence and Stability of Nonlinear Waves in Coupled Systems." The latter talk focused on Panos's recent work on atomic condensates and was titled "Existence, Stability and Dynamics of Some Single- and Multi-Component Solitary Waves: Theory and Experiments."

Evan Ray presented a poster at the 2nd International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring of Physical Activity and Movement in Glasgow, Scotland, May 24-27, 2011. Evan's poster, "Novel Analytic Methods To Estimate Physical Activity from Accelerometer Data: An Opensource Web-Based Tool" was a finalist in the best student-poster competition.

May 2011

Professor George Avrunin is the Lead Principal Investigator on a new 2-year, $300,000 planning grant from the National Science Foundation's Math and Science Partnership program. The project is intended to develop a collaboration between higher education institutions and K-12 school systems to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics. It involves faculty from all of the Five Colleges, as well as from several local community colleges and Westfield State University, and teachers and administrators from seven area school districts, including Springfield, Holyoke, and Amherst. The Co-Principal Investigators are Lenore Reilly Carlisle from Mt. Holyoke College, Victoria Grueneiro, Director of Mathematics for the Springfield Public Schools, and Sue Thrasher, Director of the Five Colleges K-12 Partnership.

Professor Weimin Chen is a co-PI of an FRG proposal to the National Science Foundation titled "FRG: Collaborative Research: The Topology and Invariants of Smooth 4-Manifolds." The proposal was recently awarded for three years with funding of $140,096.

On April 16, 2011 Professor Krista J. Gile organized a session on "Network Analysis" at the New England Statistics Symposium at the University of Connecticut.

Professor Panos Kevrekidis, Professor Andrea Nahmod, and Professor Chongchun Zeng were recently informed by the journal Nonlinearity that their article titled "Radial Standing and Self-Similar Waves for the Hyperbolic Cubic NLS in 2D" was selected for inclusion in Nonlinearity's featured articles. The journal explains: "Featured articles are highlighted for being topical, of particular interest and/or of high quality. These articles are freely available on the website to increase their visibility."

On April 26, 2011 Professor Rob Kusner lectured on "Knots and Links as Ropes, Bands and Branched Coverings" at the Temple University Geometry and Topology Seminar. Earlier in April he gave an extended (2+ hour) version at Penn, where he also helped organize this year's Geometry Festival honoring Gene Calabi.

On April 11 and April 12, 2011 Professor Michael Lavine gave two talks in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Eastern Kentucky University. The talks were titled "What is Bayesian Statistics and Why Everything Else is Wrong" and "Spike Trains and Human Brains."

On April 20, 2011 Professor Jenia Tevelev gave a talk at the Algebraic Geometry Seminar at the University of Illinois in Chicago titled "Boundary of Moduli Spaces of Surfaces of General Type."

April 2011

The book titled "Crafting by Concepts: Fiber Arts and Mathematics" and edited by Lecturer sarah-marie belcastro and Carolyn Yackel, was published during March 2011 by AK Peters/CRC Press. In addition to editing the book, sarah-marie contributed a chapter and assisted in the writing of two other chapters. The book's homepage is essentially the only public place that lists the mathematical content. The following is taken from the official book description: "From the editors of the popular 'Making Mathematics with Needlework,' this book presents projects that highlight the relationship between types of needlework and mathematics. Chapters start with accessible overviews presenting the interplay between mathematical concepts and craft expressions. Following sections explain the mathematics in more detail, and provide suggestions for classroom activities. Each chapter ends with specific crafting instructions. Types of needlework included are knitting, crochet, needlepoint, cross-stitch, quilting, temari balls, beading, tatting, and string art. Instructions are written as ordinary patterns, so the formatting and language will be familiar to crafters."

A book by Professor Richard S. Ellis, titled "Blinding Pain, Simple Truth: Changing Your Life Through Buddhist Meditation", was recently published by Rainbow Books, Inc., a 32-year old independent publisher. Drawing upon Richard's experiences with recurrent headaches, the book discusses how meditation can empower people who suffer from physical and emotional pain to let go of the image of themselves as victims and eventually to transform their suffering into healing. In the book Richard also uses Buddhist teachings as a new lens to discover healing insights in the Hebrew Bible. On April 14, 2011 Richard talked about his new book at Amherst Books, 8 Main Street. An article about the book titled "A simple equation for turning suffering into healing" appeared on March 17 in the online UMass publication "In the Loop." The book is a gentle and inviting introduction to meditation for people who have never tried it before. Richard's goal in writing the book is to encourage those who suffer from physical or emotional pain to consider meditation as an alternative way of treating it besides medication.

On March 30, 2011 Professor Krista J Gile gave the UMass-UConn Colloquium talk in the Department of Statistics at the University of Connecticut. The talk was titled "Network Model-Assisted Prevalence Estimation from Respondent-Driven Sampling Data."

On March 7, 2011 Professor Michael Lavine gave a colloquium talk in the Department of Biostatistics at Harvard University. The talk was titled "State Space Models for Optical Images of the Brain During Surgery." On March 12 he participated in a planning meeting of the Western Massachusetts Mathematics Partnership, whose goal is to improve K-12 math education. Finally, on March 15 he attended the Harvard Forest Research Symposium and presented a poster.

During the period March 12-19, 2011 Professor Ivan Mirkovic visited the the Blaise-Pascal University in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

On April 21, 2011 Professor Franz Pedit gave a plenary talk at the British Mathematical Colloquium titled "Advances in Surface Geometry: Theory and Experiment."

On March 11, 2011 Professor Eric Sommers gave a talk at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. The title of the talk was "A Family of Representations of Finite Reflection Groups".

March 2011

Professor Eduardo Cattani spent the 7-week period February 1 - March 20, 2011 at the Institut Mittag-Leffler as an invited participant in the program Algebraic Geometry with a View to Applications.

The following information is available on the Institute's website. Institut Mittag-Leffler is an international center for research and postdoctoral training in the mathematical sciences. It was founded in 1916 by Professor Gösta Mittag-Leffler and his wife Signe, who donated their magnificent villa with its first-class library for the purpose of creating the Institute that bears their name. The Institute, the oldest mathematics research institute in the world, operates under the auspices of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences but enjoys great autonomy. The research programs offer mathematicians the opportunity to spend a period of time at the Institute doing research under optimal circumstances, in the company of and in collaboration with the internationally leading scientists in their respective fields. A special subject area within the mathematical sciences, pure or applied, is chosen for each semester or full year. The internationally most prominent mathematicians in that area are invited along with Swedish and Nordic researchers. Postdoctoral grants are offered to junior participants. The principal aim is to promote substantial progress in mathematical research via informal interaction between experts and newcomers in the chosen field. This is achieved primarily by just bringing them together under optimal conditions. Projects and collaborations are begun that may mature into fruitful research years later. The experience of conducting research at the Institute has been of pivotal importance for the postdoctoral training and development of many young mathematicians.

Professor Rob Kusner will lead a workshop on geometric knots at the Centro di Ricerca Matematica Ennio de Giorgi in Pisa this June. He has also been invited to organize (with three physics colleagues) a summer school on knotted fields and materials at the Santa Barbara campus of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics during June and July 2012.

Professor Michael Lavine gave a webinar on Data Visualization with R for NITLE, the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education. There were three sessions on February 2, 9, and 23, 2011. On February 23 Michael also gave a talk titled "What Is Bayesian Statistics and Why Everything Else Is Wrong" at the Mount Holyoke Math Club.

On February 23, 2011 Professor Andrea Nahmod gave a talk at the Analysis Seminar at Brown University titled "Periodic Derivative NLS: Almost Sure Global Existence and Invariance of its Weighted Wiener Measure."

On March 8, 2011 Professor Franz Pedit gave a talk in the Geometry Seminar at the University of California, Irvine titled "Surfaces of Constant Mean Curvature: Theory and Experiment."

February 2011

During the fall semester of 2010 Professor Ivan Mirkovic visited the Institute for Advanced Study at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. He participated in the program on Langlands Duality in Representation Theory and Gauge Theory.

On January 20, 2011 Professor Krista Gile gave a talk in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Boston University. Her talk was titled "Self-Consistent Network Model-Assisted Prevalence Estimation from Respondent-Driven Sampling Data."

Professor Rob Kusner is on sabbatical and teaching at Penn this spring. He co-organized a special session of the AMS annual meeting in New Orleans on Knots, Links, 3-Manifolds, and Physics. Rob was also the colloquium speaker at Tulane, lecturing about "Soap Bubbles and Polynomials" on January 12, 2011.

Professor Eric Sommers visited the University of Washington during the period January 3-6, 2011. While there, he gave a talk in the Algebra Seminar titled "A Family of Representations of Finite Reflection Groups."

During the period January 10-14, 2011 Professor Jenia Tevelev participated in the workshop on Torsors: Theory and Applications held at the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (ICMS) in Edinburgh, UK. He gave a talk titled "Geometric Tropicalization and Cox Coordinates."

Professor HongKun Zhang was appointed as a member of the editorial board for the journal Advances in Pure Mathematics. As of January 2011, she was also appointed as one of the major reviewers for the journal Zentralblatt MATH.