Our data-driven world needs ever more mathematics and mathematicians, and the MSU Department of Mathematics is leading the charge. We have welcomed three new faculty members this fall—Igor Rapinchuk arrives from Harvard to join our algebra group; Kristen Hendricks hails from UCLA and joins our world-class topology group; and Ekaterina Merkurjev brings her research in imaging and data science from the University of California, San Diego. Read more about them on page 3. The excellence of our faculty is hard to hide, as Dapeng Zhan received a prestigious Simons Fellowship for his nationally recognized work in percolation and Schramm-Loewner evolution; Matt Hirn received an Alfred Sloan Fellowship for his work in machine learning and applied harmonic analysis; and George Pappas received the College of Natural Science’s 2016 Outstanding Faculty Award for his contributions to the Langlands program and its relation to Fermat’s last theorem. New faculty are much needed as mathematics becomes one of the “indemand” degrees with more than 750 undergraduate majors. This growth is a reflection of the importance that employers are placing on quantitative skills. Our new Mathematics Career Seminar, spearheaded by Professor Bruce Sagan, has filled up as companies such as Blue Cross- Blue Shield, the Michigan Tech Research Institute and TEKsystems have jumped at the opportunity to recruit quantitatively skilled students for our program. The actuarial science program, directed by Kevin Clinton, continues to expand its reach with an international 2+2 degree program that welcomes its first class of students from Guangzhou University this year. Additional students from Jilin University and the University of Industry, Business and Economics in Beijing are scheduled to arrive next year. “The growth of our program is a return on the investments made by the generous donations of alumni and corporate sponsors . . .” Our vibrant exchange program brings in students from Xian, Jilin, Anhui and Nankai Universities to spend a semester working on research projects with our Advanced Track students. These students excel academically, as evidenced by Thomas Grubb’s receipt of a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, one of only 250 awarded nationally to sophomores and juniors in science and mathematics. And the graduate program has welcomed a second class of 17 top-notch students into our revised curriculum. Our contributions to mathematics instruction touch all corners of Michigan State. The Bosch Community Foundation supports senior specialist Pavel Sikorskii, who leads our outreach to high schools in the Detroit, Mich., area (whose students we prepare for STEM careers at MSU). Our Center for Instructional Mentoring, directed by Tsveta Sendova and Andrew Krause, has developed an innovative program that gives new graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty an intensive, year-long introduction to active learning techniques and student engagement (see page 7). Its success is marked by an expansion to include graduate students in the Departments of Statistics and Probability and CMSE, and its national prominence is reflected in Tsveta’s invitation, among only a dozen educators, to visit the White House as part of the Office of Science and Technology Policy “Math Matters” meeting. And math instructor Sue Allen received both the College of Natural Sciences’ Undergraduate Teaching Award and the Teaching Prize for her excellence in instruction in our gateway courses. The growth of our program is a return on the investments made by the generous donations of alumni and corporate sponsors—donations that support graduate and undergraduate entrance fellowships, help actuarial science students pay for their exams and fund the travel and research of our internationally recognized faculty. The creation of an endowed professorship for mathematics is one of the major goals of our department during the current MSU capital campaign, and you can help us make it happen! Enjoy the newsletter! Keith Promislow, Ph.D. Chair Department of Mathematics WWW.MATH.MSU.EDU
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