The Department of Mathematics and Statistics is a community of scholars committed to excellence in research and instruction. We offer a comprehensive set of curricula in our disciplines, from introductory-level general education courses to doctoral dissertation direction and postdoctoral mentoring. Undergraduate majors enjoy a broad array of options through which they can earn the bachelor's degree, and can also apply to participate in summer research activities. The Department's Ph.D. program appears among the top public graduate programs in the recent National Research Council rankings. The M.S. programs in both Applied Mathematics and Statistics contribute to an important pipeline of professionally trained students who enter the high-technology industrial sector.

# Home

## Department News

## Faculty News Briefs

### September 2018

At the 60th birthday conference for Bob Gompf at UT Austin (12-15 July 2018) UMass Amherst was represented across the board by Associate Professor R. Inanc Baykur, Visiting Assistant Professors Noriyuki Hamada and Jonathan Simone, PhD candidates Rich Buckman and Andrew Havens, and recent Commonwealth Honors College graduate Kai Nakamura (now a PhD candidate at UT Austin). While there, Inanc gave an invited talk on "Small symplectic and exotic 4-manifolds via positive factorizations."

**UMass Amherst geometric topologists take Texas:** Nakamura, Simone, Gompf, Baykur, Havens, Hamada, Buckman

In June, Professor Tom Braden gave a short lecture course titled "Introduction to category $\mathcal{O}$ and symplectic duality in the hypertoric setting" at Notre Dame, as part of a summer school on geometric representation theory and symplectic varieties for graduate students and postdocs. And during August, Tom flew to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he heard Associate Professor Paul Hacking deliver an invited lecture at the International Congress of Mathematicians on joint work with UT Austin's Sean Keel.

Stathis Charalampidis talked about "Formation of rogue waves in continuous and discrete models: Theory and computation" this summer at the SIAM * Conference on nonlinear waves and coherent structures.* (He is also our new Chief Undergraduate Advisor - kudos, Stathis!)

Visiting Assistant Professor Liubomir Chiriac received a 2018 AMS-Simons travel grant. Administered by the American Mathematical Society with the support from the Simons Foundation, each grant provides an early-career mathematician with funding for two years to be used for research-related travel. Each year UMass Amherst will receive an additional amount equal to 20% of the travel grant to enhance the research environment in our Department.

On 16 June 16 2018, Associate Professor Erin Conlon gave an invited talk "Parallel Markov Chain Monte Carlo Methods for Bayesian Analysis of Big Data" at the International Chinese Statistical Association Applied Statistics Symposium in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

In June, Professor Rob Kusner participated in the conference *Topology in Dimensions 3, 3.5 & 4* at U.C. Berkeley, celebrating the 60th, 70th & 80th birthdays of Abby Thompson, Marty Scharlemann & Rob Kirby, respectively. And in July, he lectured on "Chirality for Crooked Curves" at the Topology and its Applications conference at WKU in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Rob also contributed (with Hugh Bray, Fernando Coda Marques, Michael Eichmair, Ailana Fraser, Lan Hsuan Huang, Chika Mese, Bill Minicozzi, Karen Uhlenbeck & S.T. Yau) to the writing (and editing) of "The Mathematics of Richard Schoen" which honors Rick on his recent award of the Wolf Prize. (This tribute is slated to appear in the December *Notices of the American Mathematical Society.*)

Assistant Professor Yao Li reports that he was awarded a Simons collaboration grant for mathematicians, which he will sacrifice because he just received a larger NSF grant (DMS-1813246) for his project "From deterministic dynamics to thermodynamic laws.” He had his paper "On the polynomial convergence rate to nonequilibrium steady state"

accepted by *The Annals of Applied Probability*, and two more of his papers were recently published: “How well do reduced models capture the dynamics in models of interacting neurons?” (joint with Logan Chariker and Lai-sang Young, in *Journal of Mathematical Biology*), and “From billiards to thermodynamic laws: Stochastic energy exchange model” (joint with Lingchen Bu, in *Chaos: An interdisciplinary journal of nonlinear science* - this paper was designated an "editor’s pick).

Assistant Professor Alejandro Morales appeared in the 2018 edition of Latinisms featured in the September *Notices of the AMS* celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15–October 15). Lathisms is also a website founded in 2016 by Alexander Diaz-Lopez, Pamela E. Harris, Alicia Prieto Langarica, and Gabriel Sosa to provide an accessible platform that highlights the research and mentoring contributions of Latinx and Hispanic mathematical scientists.

Professor Franz Pedit reports: In April and May 2018 he gave a long lecture course on his present research interests titled "Flows of Curves and Surfaces" for PhD students and postdocs at the Yau Mathematical Science Institute at Tsinghua University in Beijing. While in China, he also delivered colloquium talks titled "Gradient flows of Geometric Variational Problems: the Elastic Curve Flow" at both Beijing University and Tongji University, Shanghai. During 1-7 July 2018, he and Mike Wolf (from Rice University) organized the 5 day BANFF-BIRS workshop *Higgs Bundles and Harmonic Maps * at the Casa Matematica Oaxaca (CMO), Mexico. During the last 2 weeks of August, while visiting the SFBTR 106 *Discretization in Geometry and Dynamics* at TU Berlin, Franz wrote the invited contribution "Commutative Hamiltonian Flows on Curves in Real Space Forms" for the special volume celebrating the birthday of Boston University's professor Emma Previato.

And on a more somber note, we mourn the passing on 2 July 2018 of our dear colleague Richard S. Ellis, an internationally regarded probabilist, and a good friend to many of us on campus and in the community. It's an immeasurable loss to our Department. For many years Richard edited these monthly News Briefs, along with the annual Newsletter, and I --- your current editor --- enjoyed working with him on both for much of the past decade. As I re-drafted the letter soliciting your briefs this month, I realized it was based on Richard's traditional text, passed down from him to me several years ago. Both the Newsletter and these News Briefs have become Department traditions, shaped by each of us who has taken on the role of editor, but Richard's influence looms large. He and I shared many common interests outside mathematics, particularly an intellectual curiosity about languages and literature, and both of us have been deeply committed to carry on the tradition of publishing. Richard's dedication to this enterprise is evinced by his last email to me: "How's the Newsletter coming along? Just curious...." It was sent on the eve of 1 July 2018.