Title: Little by little
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00094647/00008
 Material Information
Title: Little by little
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Department of Mathematics, University of Florida
Publisher: Department of Mathematics, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: Fall 2009
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00094647
Volume ID: VID00008
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


This item has the following downloads:

little ( PDF )

Full Text




by Douglas Cenzer
Editorial Note: In previous issues of the newsletter, we have reported on how
the department in cooperation with 9 other universities, including Chicago
and UC Berkeley, had been awarded an NSF Focused Research Group grant in
Algorithmic Randomness. Here is how the summer school associated with this
proposal unfolded.

The University of Florida hosted the Algorithmic Randomness Summer School dur-
ing June 8-19, 2008 with $30,000 support from the National Science Foundation.
Doug Cenzer organized this meeting with help from graduate students Paul Brod-
head and Ali Dashti. Participants were housed in the Beaty Towers residence hall,
with easy access to the nearby campus cafeteria and also to the swimming pool. The
conference kicked off with a reception in the Little Hall Atrium and concluded with a
party at the Cenzers. A group of participants enjoyed tubing down the Ichetucknee
on a free day during the meeting.
Tutorials were given by Jan Reimann (UC Berkeley): Introduction to Algorithmic
Randomness; Andre Nies (Auckland, NZ): Randomness in Computability; John Hitch-
cock (Wyoming): Algorithmic Randomness in Computational Complexity.
There were seven research talks, including one by Brodhead and one by for-
mer UF postdoc Rebecca Weber (now Assistant Professor at Dartmouth). More than
20 graduate students and postdocs attended, including participants from England,

Spring Topology and Dynam ical A NTC II............................... .... .......... 5
Systems Conference and the Faculty & Staff Notes............... .............. 6
Ulam Centennial Conference....................2
S. .A lum ni N ew s............................................. 7
Report from the Chair... ........ ......... 3
Curricular Development A Request ....................................... 7
in Biomathematics.................................... 4 A Note of Thanks................................. . 7
F UNIVERSITY of Thank You for Your Support ..... ............8
U F FLORIDA Keep Your Classmates Up To Date............8

France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and South Africa,
as well as the Universities of California, Chicago, Michi-
gan and Wisconsin and also 5 of our own students.
Staff member Margaret Somers handled the re-
imbursements and other paperwork with her usual ex-
cellent efficiency, and also provided substantial refresh-
ments during the conference, so that participants could
concentrate on their scientific activities.
There was some excitement when two of the visi-
tors en route from Germany were temporarily detained
in Charlotte, NC by homeland security It seems that
visitors coming for a "school" need a special (S1) visa
and may not be admitted under a Tourist Visa. The of-
ficials at the Charlotte airport called Professor Cenzer
on his cell phone while he was at the Gainesville airport
picking up conference participants. Fortunately, he was
able to convince them that these young men were actu-
ally mathematicians and that our summer school was in
reality a scientific conference (for which a Tourist Visa is
sufficient). So the German students were released from
detention and were able to catch a flight to Gainesville
later that night. In another amusing bureaucratic aspect,
the participants were required to sign an attendance
sheet each day in order to receive the promised support.

I A-

AttndesGahe i Fon o Ltte al





by Phil Boyland

The University of Florida Department of Mathematics hosted the 43rd Annual Spring Topology
and Dynamical Systems Conference (STDC) followed by the Ulam Centennial Conference
(ULAM100) from Saturday, March 7 through Wednesday, March 11, 2009. Over 250 participants
attended the conferences; there were 14 plenary talks, 12 semi-plenary talks, and over 125 addi-
tional invited talks in 11 parallel special sessions. [Ed., it was indeed an impressive sight to see the
tour busses arrive from the Clarion Inn at 8:30 am and disgorge a group of over 200 participants
into the Little Hall parking lot.] Department members Lou Block, Phil Boyland, Beverly Brech-
ner, Sasha Dranishnikov, and Jed Keesling formed the conference organizing committee.

The Annual Spring Topology and Dy-
namical Systems Conferences are among the
most successful series of topology/dynamics
conferences in the nation. The STDC series
began in 1967 at the University of Arizona
and has been held yearly ever since, includ-
ing several times at UF It has grown both in
size and scope and now includes active re-
searchers in many fields including geometric
topology, geometric group theory, continuum
theory, set theoretic topology, and dynamical
Stanislaw Ulam, one of the preemi-
nent mathematical scientists of the 20th cen-
tury, was a Graduate Research Professor at
the University of Florida from 1974 through
1984, and would have turned 100 in spring,
2009. In light of Ulam's many contributions
to topology, dynamics, and related fields, it
was felt fitting that we should combine the
annual STDC with an Ulam Centennial cel-
While the public perhaps best remem-
bers Ulam for his crucial insight during the
development of the hydrogen bomb, his
scientific and mathematical contributions
were wide and deep. They include the Monte
Carlo method for numerical simulations, the
Fermi-Ulam model and the Fermi-Pasta-Ulam
problem in mechanics/dynamical systems, the
Ulam conjectures in numbertheory and graph
theory, Ulam's work on measurable cardinals
in set theory, the Oxtoby-Ulam Theorem in
ergodic theory, the Borsuk-Ulam Theorem
in topology, and his work on the Scottish
Book1. During Stan's tenure at UF, he had ac-
tive interactions with numerous mathematics,

science and engineering faculty.
The Ulam Centennial Conference was
designed to reflect this depth and variety of
Ulam's contributions. We were very fortunate
in having many experts here at the Univer-
sity of Florida with knowledge of the various
areas of Ulam's research and many faculty
members made significant contributions to
the conference organization. DeLeenheer,
Martcheva, and Pilyugin organized a ses-
sion on BioMathematics; Bona a session on
Combinatorics; Klauder and Shabanov a
session on Ulam's Contributions to Physics;
Zapletal a session on Ergodic Theory and Set
Theoretic Complexity; Chen, Ritter, and Wil-
son put together a session on Image Process-
ing. In addition, department members were
instrumental in the organization of most of
the usual STDC Special Sessions with Rudyak
in Geometric Topology, Brechner in Continu-
um Theory, and Block in Dynamical Systems.
Dranishnikov coordinated all the plenary
and semi-plenary speakers.
The STDC took place March 7-9 and
consisted of its traditional mixture of paral-
lel special sessions, plenary and semi-plenary
lectures. One of the conference highlights
was the department's 11th Annual Ulam Col-
loquium given by Dan Maudlin. Professor
Maudlin was a collaborator of Ulam when
they were both colleagues here in the UF
Mathematics Department, and Dan is now a
Regents Professor at the University of North
Texas. His talk, "Reflections on Stan Ulam:
The person and his mathematical problems,"
began with personal recollections of Stan's
many interests and talents, and then gave

detailed descriptions of the recent progress on several of the
areas of Ulam's mathematical interests. The talk was followed
by a barbecue, serving dinner to more than 200 people on the
ground floor of Little Hall (graciously arranged by Margaret
Somers and helpers on a pleasant sunny Sunday). Among the
many plenary speakers was Albert Fathi, attending the con-
ference from the Ecole Normale Superieure in Lyons, France.
While Fathi was on the faculty during the late 1980's, news-
letter editor Paul Ehrlich had suggested to him a problem in
General Relativity in May 1988. Twenty years later, Fathi and
his collaborators applied Kolmogorov, Arnold, Moser theory
(KAM) to resolve this problem. Reflecting his knowledge of
recent American political slogans, Fathi jestingly suggested a
modified slogan during his lecture in which he was discuss-
ing his approach to resolving the outstanding relativity problem
with these dynamical system methods as "Yes, we KAM."
The Ulam Centennial Conference took place March 10th
and 11th and consisted of plenary talks given by international
experts in areas of Ulam's work interspersed with the parallel
sessions organized by UF faculty described above. More than
90 participants attended the conference banquet. After dinner,
Nikki Cooper of Los Alamos National Laboratory delighted the
audience with her illustrated lecture, "Stan Ulam-The Heart
of the Matter."
The National Science Foundation, the University of Florida
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Office of Research,
the Department of Mathematics, and the Center for Applied
Mathematics supported the conference. In addition, we were
very fortunate that our Office Manager, Margaret Somers, took
the initiative of applying to the Alachua County Visitors and
Convention Bureau. The resulting funding allowed us to pro-
vide comfortable transportation and high quality conference
materials for the participants.
Inspired by the breadth and depth of Stan Ulam's work,
the conferences brought together workers in many areas of
science and mathematics. Over five days, students and active
researchers had ample opportunities to keep abreast of the lat-
est developments in their field, to learn about exciting develop-
ments in areas related to their own work, and to begin and
continue fruitful collaborations. All in all, it was an exciting and
successful five days.

2 Little by Little, the newsletter of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Florida, Volume 21, Issue 1, Fall 2009

1 The Scottish Cafe was the cafe in Lwow, Poland, where mathematicians met to spend their afternoons discussing mathemat-
ics problems Ulam has recalled that the tables of the cafe had marble tops, so that at first they wrote directly on the tables in
pencil Then Banach's wife provided them with a large notebook in which proposed problems and answers were written This
book became known as the Scottish Book

by Jed Keesling

M y first year as Chair has ended. It was a difficult time to say the least. There was economic dislocation of
global proportions. Threats of budget cuts at UF created tension throughout the campus. There were
countless meetings. No one had a clear idea what the future held. The anxiety was tangible. I am proud to say
that our department handled the strain with composure. The dust has now settled. We hope that the worst
has past and that fairer winds will blow soon. The long-term economic indicators give us hope.
Mathematics suffered some loss, but we did not suffer the worst that we imagined. On the other hand,
the year had its successes. These have lifted our spirits. Here are a few of the accomplishments that we are




* Alexander Dranishnikov was
promoted to Distinguished Profes-
sor. Miklos Bona, Philip Boyland,
Sergei Pilyugin, Yuli Rudyak, and
Jindrich Zapletal were promoted
to Full Professor. Jane Smith was
promoted to Master Lecturer
* Jindrich Zapletal began his J.
E. Purkynu Fellowship awarded by
the Czech Academy of Sciences.
* Bill Hager was awarded a
UFRF Professorship.
* Sergei Shabanov was award-
ed Teacher of the Year by the Col-
lege of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
He was also awarded Teacher of
the Year by UF He was the only
one receiving this award at the
university level.
* John Thompson was award-
ed the Abel Prize.
* Doug Cenzer and Scott Mc-
Cullough were given SPP awards.
* We hired our candidate of
first choice in PDE. Lei Zhang has
an excellent record of publication
and grant funding in his field. In
addition to his own research, he
will be working with Yunmei Chen
in the area of image processing.
* The department has a new
administration with Jed Keesling
as Chair, Rick Smith as Associate
Chair, and Paul Robinson as Grad-
uate Coordinator
* Krishna Alladi and Pham Tiep
organized a studentworkshop and
two conferences on quadratic and
higher degree forms. NSF funded
the activities.
* The grant awards to the

Little by Little, the newsletter of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Florida, Volume 21, Issue 1, Fall 2009 3

Department of Mathematics over
the past four years have averaged
* There were grant awards
and continuing grant involve-
ment by the following faculty: Jay
Gopalakrishnan, Krishna Alladi,
Frank Garvan, Alex Berkovich, Jin-
drich Zapletal, Doug Cenzer, Scott
McCullough, Bill Hager, Yun-
mei Chen, Richard Crew, Sergei
Pilyugin, Maia Martcheva, Patrick
DeLeenheer, Pham Tiep, Phil Boy-
land, Mike Jury, Miklos Bona, Ser-
gei Shabanov, Paul Robinson, Alex
Turull, Rick Smith, Jed Keesling,
and Sasha Dranishnikov.
* Kevin Knudson was hired as
Director of the Honors Program.
He has his tenure in our depart-
ment. Joe Glover from Mathemat-
ics is now Provost. Bernard Mair,
also from Mathematics, is Asso-
ciate Provost of Undergraduate
Education. So, we have a number
of our faculty in high places at UF
* Phil Boyland organized the
Ulam Centennial Conference. It
hosted over 350 mathematicians
from around the world. It was held
in coordination with the Spring To-
pology Conference, STDC 2009. It
was partially funded by NSF
* The SIAM Gators graduate
students hosted a very successful
SIAM conference. NSF funded the
conference. The Faculty Advisor
for the group is Sergei Pilyugin and
the president is Swati DebRoy.
* Kevin Keating coached the
UF Putnam team. It placed 12th in




a national field of more than 400.
This is a remarkable achievement.
* One of our graduates,
Dongxing Wang, made a sub-
stantial contribution to the de-
partment. Through his generosity
and matching funds from Exxon
we will in a few short years have
an endowment amounting to
* The department committed
to improve high school teach-
ing through its involvement in
UFTeach and Florida PROMiSE.
* The department is cooperat-
ing with Engineering to produce
an improved Calculus for Engi-
neers. Lockheed-Martin is fund-
ing the effort. Bob Atkins, one of
our own graduates, is part of the
Lockheed-Martin team of engi-
neers who are working with the
* Our department would be
helpless without our efficient staff.
Two of our staff were recognized
with promotions this year. Sandy
Gagnon was promoted to Admin-
istrative Assistant and Margaret
Somers was promoted to Office
* We are also celebrating the
appointment of Paul D'Anieri as
Dean of CLAS and Alan Dorsey
as Associate Dean for Natural and
Mathematical Sciences.

The list is not complete. I hope that
others of you enjoyed successes as
well. Let us know about them so
that we can celebrate with you.









Editorial note: Given ongoing developments in the Biomathematics group in the department, it seemed timely to ask them to pro-
vide us with an update on this exciting progress. Professors Patrick Deleenheer and Maia Martcheva obliged me and wrote the fol-
lowing paragraphs for the newsletter

A Decade of Biomathematics The IGERT Program
by Patrick DeLeenheer by Maia Martcheva

In the fall, 2009, it will be 10 years ago that our department started building
a research group in the area of biomathematics. The hiring of Sergei S. Pily-
ugin marked the occasion. Initially and actually for the most part of half of the
decade, Sergei "was" the entire biomathematics group, but that did not start
him from striking up fruitful collaborations with people in the chemical engi-
neering department (eventually leading up to the co-chairing of a PhD student
dissertation), course development (in particular of the BioMath with the design
of a new course supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute), and the
organization of a conference devoted to theoretical immunology.
Maia Martcheva (hired in 2003) and myself (hired in 2004) were easily
absorbed in the picture. We almost immediately found joint research projects
to work on with Pilyugin, and these are still bearing fruit today.
In 2005, Maia decided that she missed student life a little bit too much,
and with the help of NSF funds, she returned to the classroom to take courses
(and exams !) from zoologists. Ayear later she returned to our department, ad-
mittedly appearing a bit more tired than before she left, but with fresh research
contacts in the Zoology Department. The latest development in this relation-
ship is her participation in the IGERT (ed.-see the following article) along with
graduate student IGERT Fellows Joseph Lucchetti and Olivia Prosper.
A recent milestone in our program is the PhD degree of Scott Keeran,
the first graduate student receiving a PhD degree for work in biomathematics in
2007 (his advisor is Pilyugin). His work has been published in a series of papers
in the Journal of Discrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems-B. Scott is still
in the department, working as an adjunct instructor and also continuing as a
postdoc, with support from Pilyugin's current NSF grant.
As a group, we are looking forward to the further development of a
biomathematics track in the undergraduate and graduate mathematics de-
gree program, and to the recruitment of graduate students, possibly in the
IGERT context, who will eventually become the billboards for the education in
biomathematics that UF provides. Their presence is already starting to make an
impact. A recent example is their splendid organization of a daylong session in
biomathematics during the 2nd SIAM Student Conference, in which research-
ers from Arizona State, University of Miami, Michigan Tech, Pennsylvania State,
and Florida State spoke, in addition to speakers from the University of Florida.
Although our department has historically been recognized primarily as a
pure mathematics department, we consider ourselves fortunate to be given the
opportunity and the unwavering support to help grow and develop it in a more
applied direction.

The Department of Mathematics at UF is
one of the departments participating in the
NSF funded QSE3 (Quantitative Spatial Ecology,
Evolution, and Environment) IGERT program at
the interface of biological and mathematical
sciences. IGERT (Integrative Graduate Educa-
tion and Research Traineeship) grants provide
stipends, tuition and fees for PhD level training
of US citizens and permanent residents. The
QSE3 IGERT involves students and faculty from
10 programs and departments (Biology, Math- Ir e
ematics, Statistics, Wildlife Ecology & Conserva-
tion, Geography, Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences,
Forest Resources & Conservation, Agricultural &
Biological Engineering, Infectious Diseases & Pathology [Veterinary Medicine],
Computer & Information Science & Engineering) at UF and outside clients from
state, federal, and international agencies. Approximately 5 IGERT Fellows will
be recruited each year for five years. The IGERT also attracts IGERT Affiliates,
graduate students in the participating units, who are not supported by the IG-
ERT, but participate in many of IGERT activities based on their interests. IGERT
Fellows participate in the IGERT Colloquium while in the IGERT, take classes
from complementary disciplines (e.g., mathematicians take biology classes,
while biologists take mathematics classes), in their second year as Fellows, and
participate in an integrative, multidisciplinary research project in their third year.
IGERT Fellows have a major advisor in their home department, and a co-advisor
in the complementary discipline. The Director of the program, Benjamin Bolk-
er (Biology), is assisted by the IGERT Council in running the IGERT. The IGERT
Council currently consists of Emilo Bruna (Wildlife Ecology & Conservation),
Mary Christman (Statistics), Kaoru Kitajima (Biology), Maia Martcheva
(Mathematics), Craig Osenberg (Biology), and Jane Southworth (Geogra-
phy). Two graduate students from mathematics, Joseph Lucchetti and Olivia
Prosper, are currently IGERT Fellows.

One of the IGERT Fellows, Olivia Prosper, made the following comments herself
on experiencing this program in an e-mail to the editor of the newsletter:
"I really enjoyed my first semester in the IGERT program. I found
the weekly Spacial Dynamics colloquium interesting because I
was exposed to a field with which I am not familiar, and I also got
to see how my peers from other backgrounds went about solving

rl,m l lr l rl, : :,:,,. : ,: r, t.lr. ,: :,:,,. : ,:: rl,3 r I -II r.l i, ,:, r: 1,l,:
i,, ,.l,i:l:, -,l r II I ,ll ,: r,:, ,l,: r ,- -,, r -,,,: J,: ,:,,.J ,:,t rl,,- : -:,I.

4 Little by Little, the newsletter ot the Department ot Mathematics at the University ot Florida, Volume 21, Issue 1, Fall 2009

by Krishnaswami Alladi

At the end of the highly suc-
cessful Special Years Pro-
gram which ran for six years
(2001-2007), the Department
of Mathematics decided to run
a Program in Algebra, Num-
ber Theory and Combinatorics
(ANTC) for a few years modeled
along the lines of the Special
Years Program, but enhanced
by an instructional component.
The first ANTC Program was in
2007-2008, and 2008-2009
witnessed the second such pro-
The ANTC Program in 2008
2009 was highlighted by two in-
ternational conferences on Qua-
dratic Forms, Sums of Squares,
Theta Functions, and Integral
Lattices, March 11-15, 2009
and Higher Degree Forms on
May 21-23, 2009. The Quadrat-
ic Forms Conference followed
a Student Workshop on the
same topic during March 7-10
and this provided the instruc-
tional component. The two con-
ferences and workshop received
significant funding from the Na-
tional Science Foundation (proj-
ect leaders-Krishnaswami
Alladi and Pham Tiep), which
provided complete support for
all participants.
The areas of quadratic
and higher degree forms have
witnessed dramatic advances in
recent years, most notably by
Professor Manjul Bhargava of
Princeton University. The two
conferences were organized
in consultation with Bhargava
and were the first ever to focus
on quadratic and higher de-
gree forms, attracting leading
researchers from around the
world. The conference organiz-
ers besides me were Professors
George Andrews (Penn State
University) and my colleagues
Pham Tiep, Frank Garvan, and
Alexander Berkovich. Professor
Akshay Venkatesh of Stanford

University delivered the Eleventh
Erdos Colloquium on March 12,
2009 at the quadratic forms
conference. In December 2008,
Venkatesh had been awarded
the SASTRA Ramanujan Prize,
and in his Erdos Colloquium he
spoke about "The geometry of
numbers: old and new" which
was related to his SASTRA Prize
Lecture. Besides the Erdos Col-
loquium, plenary talks were de-
livered by Professors George An-
drews, Bruce Berndt (Illinois),
Noam Elkies (Harvard), Robert
Griess (Michigan), Jonathan
Hanke (Georgia), Steve Milne
(Ohio State), Ken Ono (Wiscon-
sin), Raman Parimala (Emory),
Rainer Schultze-Pillot (Saar-
brucken, Germany), and John
Thompson (UF and Cambridge
University). Also, there were
about twenty research presenta-
tions of half-hour duration.
The Student Workshop
was to prepare talented under-
graduate students to under-
stand the advanced lectures at
the conference. Professor Jona-
than Hanke of the University
of Georgia (who had collabo-
rated with Professor Bhargava
to settle a famous problem on
quadratic forms) was the Princi-
pal Instructor of the workshop.
He gave four lectures, one each
morning. His workshop lectures
were augmented by afternoon
talks by Professors Roger Baker
(Brigham Young University), Her-
shel Farkas (Hebrew University,
Jerusalem), and Gabriel Nebe
(University of Aachen, Ger-
many). The workshop attracted
about 15 talented students from
around the nation.
Leading up to the Confer-
ences and Workshop were fea-
tured talks in the spring semes-
ter by mathematicians of world
repute. Evan Pugh Professor
George Andrews of Pennsylvania
State University, who was a Dis-

tinguished Visiting Professor at
UF for the entire spring semester,
gave three talks in the theory of
partitions and q-hypergeometric
series: a Colloquium in early
February, followed by a Number
Theory Seminar and a Combina-
torics Seminar. Incidentally, Pro-
fessor Andrews began his term
as the President of the American
Mathematical Society in February
2009, and we are pleased that
he was able to visit our depart-
ment in spite of his many com-
As in previous years, Pro-
fessor Andrews sponsored the
Ramanujan Colloquium to be
part of the program in ANTC.
On February 29, 2009, Professor
Dorian Goldfeld of Columbia
University delivered this Third Ra-
manujan Colloquium on "Mul-
tiple Dirichlet Series", and fol-
lowed it with two number theory
The Center for Applied
Mathematics (CAM) graciously
allowed the CAM Colloquium to
be part of the Program in ANTC
II. Professor Bertram Kostant of
MIT delivered the 2009 CAM Col-
loquium on April 14 on the topic
"Some exotic finite subgroups of
E8 and certain 8-th degree poly-
nomials." Last year in the Math-
IFT Colloquium, Kostant had
spoken about the mathemat-
ics underlying Garrett Lisi's "E8

Theory of Everything in Physics."
Thus his CAM Colloquium this
year was also at the interface of
mathematics and physics.
The Program in ANTC for
2008-2009 ended with the
Conference on Higher Degree
Forms, May 21-23. Professor
Manjul Bhargava gave two one-
hour talks. The first of his two
talks, which was the opening
lecture of the conference, gave
an overview of the subject. His
two lectures were augmented by
two more hour talks by his PhD
students Wei Ho and Mela-
nie Wood, also from Princeton
University. We were further very
pleased that Professor Benedict
Gross (Harvard), who delivered
the Erdos Colloquium in March
2003 during the Special Year in
Algebra, returned to Gainesville
to give an hour lecture at this
conference. Professors Gordon
Savin (Utah), Detlev Hoffman
(Nottingham, England), and
Bruce Resnick (Illinois) deliv-
ered other hour lectures. These
were supplemented by research
presentations of half-hour dura-
tion by Professors Jaka Cimpric
and Igor Klep (Lubljana, Slove-
nia), Takashi Taniguichi (Kobe,
Japan), and Michael Volpato
(New York).
There are plans to bring out
the edited refereed proceedings
of these two conferences.

Little by Little, the newsletter of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Florida, Volume 21, Issue 1, Fall 2009 5


by Paul Ehrlich

In December 2008, Chair Jed Keesling announced that
Sandy Gagnon had been promoted to Administrative
Assistant and Margaret Somers had been promoted
to Office Manager in recognition of their exemplary ser-
vice. Jan Lalgee also joined the department as Senior
Fiscal Assistant.
Professor Bernard Mair became Associate Pro-
vost for Undergraduate Affairs effective April 1, 2009.
Among his many activities in recent years, Mair served
as a founding member and secretary of the Society for
Industrial and Applied Mathematics Activity Group on
Imaging Sciences.
Faculty advisor Professor Kevin Keating reports
that the spring, 2008 UF Putnam Examination team,
consisting of Masahiro Nakahara, Andrew Wright,
and Jeff Yelton, had a strong finish, coming in 12th.
Three faculty members participated in the Fifth
World Congress of Nonlinear Analysis held during July
2-9, 2008 in Orlando, Florida. Professor Paul Ehrlich
delivered an invited hour address on Comparison
Theory in Lorentzian and Riemannian Geometries
and was co-chair of an Organized Session on "Differ-
ential Geometry and General Relativity." Professor Jed
Keesling delivered a lecture on Attractors and Inverse
Limits. Professor Maia Martcheva spoke in a Session
on "Applied Dynamical Systems and Computations in
Biology" on Evolutionary consequences for preda-
tion for pathogens in prey.
Faculty, PhD alumni, and current graduate stu-
dents participated in the Winter Meetings of the Ameri-
can mathematics societies, held in Washington, D.C. in
early January 2009. Professor Douglas Cenzer and PhD
graduate Dr. S. Ali Dashti (PhD 2008) both participated
in an AMS/ASL Special Session on Logic and Dynami-
cal Systems. Cenzer spoke on Decidability of count-
able closed subsets and Dashti spoke on Computable
dynamics of real functions. Professor John Klauder
spoke in an AMS Special Session on Infinite Dimensional
Analysis, Path Integrals, and Related Fields on Non-
renormalizability tamed.
Professor John Mayer, PhD 1982, of the Depart-
ment of Mathematics, University of Alabama at Bir-
mingham, spoke in an AMS-MAA-MER Special Session
on Mathematics and Education Reform on the topic of
Changing K-16 Classroom Practice. Professor Warren
McGovern, PhD 1998, spoke in an AMS Special Ses-
sion on Commutative Algebra on Prufer domains with
Clifford class semigroups. Professor Tony Shaska of
Vlora University in Albania, PhD 2001, co-organized an
AMS Special Session on Computational Algebraic and
Analytic Geometry for Low-dimensional Varieties, and a
co-author reported on joint work with Shaska on Theta
nulls of curves with automorphisms. Finally current
graduate student Jiangtao Lu reported in an AMS Ses-
sion on Probability and Statistics on A computational
model for functional mapping of genes that regu-
late HIVdrug therapy and virus load, joint work with
Professor William Hager.
Professor Bruce Edwards reports that the 9th
edition of the text Larson and Edwards, Calculus has
Professor Joseph Glover, Provost of the Univer-
sity of Florida, represented UF at the inauguration of the

Gran Telescopio Canarias in July 2009 at Las
Palmas de Gran Canaria on Spain's Canary Is-
lands off the coast of Africa. UF owns 5% of the
telescope, which guarantees our astronomers
20 nights of observations per year. This event
was not only widely reported in newspapers,
but Glover was shown on the national nightly
news. (Photo, right.)
Professor William Hager gave an invited talk at
the Banach Center Conference on 50 Years of Optimal
Control . He also gave a
plenary talk at the Vllth Brazilian Workshop on Continu-
ous Optimization, which took place at the Institute of
Mathematics, Statistics and Scientific Computing (IM-
ECC) of the State University of Campinas in Campinas
SP, Brazil, between July 28-31, 2008.
On April 16, 2009, at a university-wide ceremony
under the auspices of UF President Bernard Machen and
UF Provost Joseph Glover, Professor Sergei Shabanov
received not only the CLAS Teacher of the Year Award,
but was also astonished to receive the UF Teacher of the
Year Award on top of the CLAS award. We congratulate
him for this fine recognition.
Professor Peter Sin was a co-organizer of the
5-day workshop on Invariants of Incident Matrices
held at the Banff International Research Station for
Mathematical Innovation and Discovery during March
29-April 3, 2009. Graduate student Ogul Arslan also
was a participant in the workshop. Sin lectured on "p-
ranks of incidence matrices and modular representations
of classical groups" and Arslan spoke on "Weyl modules
and p-ranks."
Professor Stephen Summers gave an invited ad-
dress Subsystems and independence in relativistic
microscopic physics and participated in a round table
discussion at the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of
Science Association, PSA 2008, in Pittsburg, PA, on No-
vember 6, 2008.
Professor Pham Tiep reports giving invited lectures
at the MSRI Seminar on Representations of Finite Groups
of Lie Type in Berkeley on May 14, 2008; lecturing in the
Geometry and Topology Seminar at Cal Tech in Novem-
ber 14, 2009; and lecturing in the Algebra Seminar at
the University of Southern California in Los Angeles on
February 23, 2009.
The Annual Spring Tea and Day of Appreciation
in the Department was held on the fine sunny Thursday
of April 23, 2009. Actually, the festivities began at noon
with a delicious catered barbeque and an excellent turn-
out from the students as well as faculty and staff. Begin-
ning the award presentations, Professor Kevin Keating
presented awards for the Pi Mu Epsilon student officers,
then recognized the Putnam Team for their fine show-
ing as noted above. Associate Chair Rick Smith then
presented the Kermit Sigmon Award to Jeff Yelton and
honored the Phi Beta Kappa Inductees, noting that this
spring the Department of Mathematics had a large num-
ber of majors inducted into this organization. Professor
Richard Crew again presented the Robert Long Prize
Awards for an essay on mathematics, noting that this
year, we had two very strong winners who were both
mathematics undergraduates, Lindsay Keegan and
James Crooks. Faculty advisor Professor Sergei Pily-

ugin for the SIAM Gators recognized the officers of this
society, Swati DebRoy, Souvik Bhattacharya, Cass
Petrus, Shugang Tan, and Remy Ndangali, especially
for their work in organizing and running the SIAM Ga-
tors Student Conference held during early March entirely
without faculty involvement. SIAM Gators President De-
bRoy was further recognized with a special certificate for
her intensive work on this conference. Next, Professor
Phil Boyland recognized the officers of the Graduate
Mathematics Association, Joseph Brennan, Lee Raney,
and Kristin Luery, and commented that the catalog of
past qualifying exams, which this organization had put
together for the new graduate students, had proved to
be very popular. Graduate Coordinator Professor Paul
Robinson then presented awards pertaining to our
graduate degree programs as well as providing further
comments and quotations from Ambrose Bierce, ex-
tending examples from past years. Paul commented that
as a sign of the current fiscal austerity, the college had
awarded only 15 CLAS Dissertation Fellowships, down
from 20 in the past. Thus we were extremely fortunate
that Timothy Bonner received this award during the
spring semester, 2009. Paul also recognized the Masters
and PhD degree recipients. Then Associate Chair Rick
Smith took the podium to present the graduate student
teaching awards. The selection committee identified
seven students worthy of awards. Dennis Ledis, JoAnn
Lee, Robert Newton, and Ryan Sankarpersad re-
ceived Certificates of Merit. Andrew Fisher, Ning Guo,
and Jason Harrington received Certificates of Excel-
lence. These last three names (our quota as a depart-
ment) were forwarded to the university-wide selection
committee, and Andrew Fisher and Jason Harrington
both received UF Graduate Student Teaching Awards.
Next, Professor David Drake, for the 4th consecutive
year, presented the Chat Yin Ho Scholarship Award. This
year, Andrew Fisher, studying quaternionic structures
in differential geometry under the direction of Profes-
sor Paul Robinson, received this award. Finally, Chair
Jed Keesling, resumed the podium, and presented a
20-year service award to Administrative Assistant Sandy
Gagnon. Accepting this award, Sandy provided a note
of humor in relaying to us that she had been asked why
in the heck anyone in their right mind would stay on the
staff of this department for 20 years, relaying also that
a past chair had even crowned the mathematics depart-
ment as "the palace of the peculiar" in a typical humor-
ous aside. These revelations were greeted with a large
round of applause. Finally, the Chair commented that
just having written 50 letters of evaluation, he had had
the occasion to study everyone's teaching, and was very
proud of our departmental efforts, but even more so of
being able to conclude the recognition ceremony by rec-
ognizing Professor Sergei Shabanov for his receipt of
the Teacher of the Year Award from UF as well as the
Teacher of the Year Award from CLAS.

6 Little by Little, the newsletter of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Florida, Volume 21, Issue 1, Fall 2009

by Paul Ehrlich
I sent Professor Terry Mills, PhD 1974, a reply to his recent news published in
the last issue of the newsletter and informing him that Professor David Wilson,
recently retired himself, recalled that Mills had been a student in his algebraic
topology class during Wilson's first semester here in 1972. This note drew the fol-
lowing informative e-mail response from Mills in exchange:
That is correct. In addition, I was taught by Professors Martinez (complex
analysis perhaps? certainly he taught me something about universal algebra;
since then I have met George Gratzer); Walsh (real analysis; he also taught
me to work hard, one of the most valuable lessons of my life); Varma was
my PhD adviser on approximation theory, later he visited us here. As a result,
colleagues and I in Bendigo have made many contributions to approxima-
tion theory; see our dept's web page (www.latrobe.edu.au/maths). I knew
Professors Cenzer, Drake; Sigmon was our graduate student coordinator.
When I was a student there, I started 'The Evening Seminar'. This event was
held on Wednesday nights at my house. I got sick of going to Colloquia and
not understanding the talks and feeling too embarrassed to ask questions.
So there were two rules about the Evening Seminar; first, I had to be able
to understand the talk because it was in my house; second, I was allowed
to ask questions-for the same reason I had a blackboard nailed to the wall
in the dining room. Ernie Shult gave the first seminar on finite group theory.
I wanted to know how large finite simple groups were constructed; it was
all the rage then. About 30 people came to the first Seminar. I provided free
beer It started at 8pm and people were still there talking about math until 2
am. Wives would ring up and ask is my husband still there? Paul Erdos used
to visit UF annually while Ulam visited; many social functions were organized
for Erdos but graduate students were not involved. So I organized dinner
for him at my house and *only* graduate students were invited. About 10
people came; everyone contributed to the meal in some way (salad, meat
drinks, etc.). After the meal, Erdos gave us a talk on Unsolved problems in
number theory and what it would take to solve them; we had him to
ourselves in my dining room. It was one of the most fascinating experiences
in my life.

Professor Tony Shaska, PhD 2001, is serving as Editor In Chief of the Albanian
Journal of Mathematics, which is sponsored mainly by the University of Vlora
where he is a faculty member and Rector.

from Margaret Somers, Office Manager

If you would like to receive a copy of our on-line newsletter by
e-mail, please e-mail Margaret Somers at msomers@ufl.edu with
your name, mailing address, and e-mail address.

We received an interesting e-mail forwarded by Professor Rick Smith from one of
our students, Dr. Michael Damron, who graduated in 2004 with a double degree
in mathematics and computer engineering and is now finishing his doctoral work
at the Courant Institute:
"...I was a student of each of you somewhere between 5-6 years ago. I
wanted to give an update on how my mathematical career is going; I think
it has been at least 2-3 years since I sent an e-mail to you.
I choose to work in probability theory and I passed my oral exams in Fall
2006. Throughout the next year, my advisers Charles Newman and Daniel
Stein introduced me to several different problems. Each of these problems
involved probability and more specifically statistical mechanics. I looked at
spin glasses, independent percolation, invasion percolation, and stationary
percolation. After a bit, I decided to work on a problem relating two differ-
ent types of spin glass models (the Edwards-Anderson and the Sherrington-
During my fourth year (2007-2008) I continued my research on spin
glass models and spent the spring semester in Amsterdam at the Centrum
voor Wiskunde en Informatica. This was the first time in my life that I have
really learned to collaborate with other researchers. It was very beneficial-a
postdoc, another PhD student and I made a somewhat comprehensive study
of 2D invasion percolation. This paper, called Relations between invasion
percolation and critical percolation in two dimension is available online on
arXiv and was accepted to the Annals of Probability. Since my time in Am-
sterdam I have kept up this collaboration, and we plan a follow-up paper to
arXiv on invasion percolation soon. As I said, I am very excited because this is
the first time that I have really felt the synergistic effects of teamwork.
Last fall, I applied to postdoc positions and in the past month I have
had a couple of offers. I was notified that I won an NSF postdoctoral fellow-
ship and consequently I will be studying with Michael Aizeman at Princeton
for the next 2-3 years.
So it appears that I am soon off to the next stage of my career I hope
everything is going well with you. I also want to thank again each of you for
all of your help.
Best wishes,
Michael Damron

Professor Adriana Nenciu, PhD 2006, has accepted a tenure track position at
Otterbein College in Ohio.

by Jed Keesling

It is again a pleasure to warmly thank all those who contributed to the
support of our educational activities in the department during the past
academic year. Donations received at the UF Foundation for the fiscal year
through June 30, 2009 (not including the special donation mentioned in
the Chair's Column) totaled $ 7,400. Non-anonymous alumni and friends
donations during the time period July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009 in-
cluded contributions from the Accenture Foundation, Virginia Chow, Kar-
en Fagin, Gregory S. Gardner, Thomas F Hagan, William R. Hare, William
A. Hemme, Edward K. Hinson, James D. Marshall, Warren W. McGovern,
Albert J. Rodger, Robert W. Shuford, Irvin L. Smith, Nevins C. Smith, Lu-
cinda F. Thomas, Dongxing Wang, and Li-Wei Watts.

Little by Little, the newsletter of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Florida, Volume 21, Issue 1, Fall 2009 7


Department of Mathematics
Little by Little Newsletter
Editor: Paul Ehrlich
Production: Jane Dominguez

Non-Profit Org.
U.S. Postage
Permit No. 94
Gainesville, FL

358 Little Hall
PO Box 118105
Gainesville FL 32611-8105
Telephone: 352-392-0281
FAX: 352-392-8357


Ol YES! I would like to support the Department of Mathematics at the
University of Florida.

Please use my gift for the fund indicated below.
EO General Fund EO Mathematics Fellowship Fund
EO Robert Long Prize in Mathematics EO Chat Yin Ho Scholarship Fund

Amount: (Please circle)
$500 $250 $100 $50 $25 Other $

Please check one of the following:
l You may list my name with those of other donors.
EO Please do not list my name with those of other donors.

Please choose payment method:
Please make checks payable to: University of Florida Foundation, Inc.

Please use this form for address changes and to tell us
what you are up to. Alumni updates can be sent via post
to the address below.

Degree/ Year:



O This is a change of address.

Current Position / Firm/ Agency:

Credit Card
]Visa l Master Card l Discover
Account Number:

Exp. Date: /

OE This is a new position.

Personal News:

City: State:

Please complete the above form and return it to:
Department of Mathematics
Alumni Donations
PO Box 118105
Gainesville FL 32611-8105

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs