Title: Little by little
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00094647/00007
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Title: Little by little
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Language: English
Creator: Department of Mathematics, University of Florida
Publisher: Department of Mathematics, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: Fall 2008
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Volume ID: VID00007
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n 2007-2008 the Department launched a Program in Alg
Combinatorics (ANTC) to succeed the highly successful S|
ran for six consecutive years since 2001-2002. The Program
from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Number
and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The organizer
were Professors Krishnaswami Alladi, Alexander Berkov
Garvan, Peter Sin, Pham Tiep, Hua Wang and Neil Whit
lighted by three international conferences and several featu
ing mathematicians. The ANTC Program was augmented b
Algebraic Structures, put together by Professor Jorge Mai
Vanderbilt University The events of the year reached a cre
was during this period of intense international activity in
received the news on March 27, that Graduate Research Pr
will be awarded the 2008 Abel Prize (equivalent to the N
ics! This news brought unparalleled academic recognition t
University and was a glorious culmination to a year packed

The conferences in ANTC dur-
ing the year were: 1) Conference on
Group Representations and Com-
binatorics, September 10-14, 2007;
2) Conference on Combinatorics
and Groups, February 21-24, 2008, in
memory of our late colleague Professor
Chat Ho; 3) Student Workshop and
Conference on Partitions, q-Series
and Modular Forms, March 8-16,
2008; and 4) Conference on the Con-

From the Incom ing C hair ..........................2
A Note of Thanks................................ 2
Thanks to Faculty, Staff, & Students..........3
John Thompson & Jacques Tits
w in 2008 Abel Prize.................................

rad Legacy, M
There wer
by eminent ma
the year as par
Professor Mich
I'lnstitut Henri
a History Lectu
theory from Fr
September 12,
on Group Repr
binatorics. 199

Program in Algeb
and Combinatoric
Retirees Ronnie K
Theral Moore, & i
H honored ..............
Faculty and Staff

UFRF Professorship for W illiam Hager ......5 Alumni News.......



Zelmanov (UCSD) delivered the Tenth Erdos Colloqui-
um entitled "Asymptotic properties of infinite families
of finite groups" on January 25. Associate Dean of
Research David Richardson gave the Opening Remarks
for this lecture. On February 4, President Elect of the
American Mathematical Society George Andrews
(Penn State) gave a History Lecture on the theme "Eul-
er's contributions to Partitio Numerorum." This was the
topic of his survey article that appeared in the Special
IR Issue of the Bulletin of the AMS dedicated to Euler's
C H A IR 300th birthday Associate Provost for Undergraduate
by Krishnaswami Alladi Studies Daniel Wubah made the Opening Remarks for
ebra, Number Theory and this talk. The Tenth Ulam Colloquium was delivered
special Years Program that on February 18 by the renowned combinatorialist
in ANTC received support Dominique Foata (University of Strasbourg, France) on
Theory Foundation (NTF), the topic "Eulerian polynomials-from Euler's time to
s of the Program in ANTC the present." In addition to this, Professor Foata gave
'ich, David Drake, Frank a one-month course of lectures in Spring 2008 on the
e. The Program was high- theme "q-Series and Permutation Statistics."
red talks by eminent visit- The Department maintains close connections with
y the Program in Ordered the Institute of Fundamental Theory (IFT). On March
rtinez with support from 17, the eminent mathematician Bert Kostant (MIT)
scendo in March 2008. It delivered the Joint Math-IFT Colloquium on "Some of
the Department, that we the mathematics in Garrett Lisi's E8 theory of every-
ofessor John Thompson thing." Director of the IFT Pierre Ramond made the
obel Prize) in mathemat- Opening Remarks for this talk. Nearly a decade ago,
Sthe Department and the Professor Kostant visited UF as IFT Distinguished Visitor
with outstanding events, and gave talks both in the physics and mathematics
ay 5-8, 2008. departments at that time. Since he works on problems
re several featured talks at the interface of mathematics and physics, his lecture
this year was arranged as a joint Math-IFT Colloquium.
othematicians during The featured lectures of the ANTC Program concluded
t of the ANTC Program.
SBroue (recor, on a high note with the Second Ramanujan Collo-
el Broue (Director,
Poincarein Paris) gave quium (March 19) and talks (March 20-21) by world
renowned mathematician Peter Sarnak (Princeton
re entitled "Local group University and Institute for Advanced Study). Profes-
obenius to Ricard" on
sor Sarnak's lectures were on "Sieves, the General-
during the Conference
presentations and Com- ized Ramanujan Conjectures, and Expander Graphs."
nis ea Cin Ambassador Dennis Jett (Retired), Director of the UF
14 Fields Medalist Efim
International Center, made the Opening Remarks. The
Ramanujan Colloquium is sponsored by Evan Pugh
Professor George Andrews of Penn State University.
ra, Number Theory Continuing the spirit of collaboration, we had
:s 2007-2008 ...............6 a Joint Math-English Colloquium on November 13,
2007 when Professor of English David Leavitt spoke
huri, about his very popular recent novel The Indian Clerk
Neil White that describes the remarkable life story of the Indian
..................................... 8 m them atical genius Srinivasa Ram anujan and his
Notes....................... 10 association with Professor G. H. Hardy of Cambridge
University. Associate Provost Angel Kwollek-Folland
........ ...................... 11 m ade the O opening Rem arks for this lecture.
Yet another featured talk during the year was the
Center for Applied Mathematics (CAM) Colloquium

Chair continued on page 3




I -


~I I


*....I I

by Jed Keesling

love mathematics. Being able to devote
my full time to this academic pursuit has
been fulfilling and a great joy. However,
it seems that my time has come to do my
duty as an elder statesman and take over
the administration of our department. It is
a delight to do this knowing that it will al-
low my younger colleagues to concentrate
their efforts on their academic pursuits
and research just as I did over these past
few decades.
I appreciate those who made the sac-
rifice before me. It gave me the freedom
to pursue my mathematical interests with
only modest attention to administrative
matters. In particular, the department
and I owe Krishna Alladi a great debt of
gratitude for his taking on this duty these
past ten years.
Let me highlight one of Krishna's
administrative successes. During his term
as Chair, Krishna created the custom of
celebrating Special Years. Each Special
Year was focused on an area of strength
in the department. Our Topology and Dy-
namics Group led the way with the first of
these years. The Special Years brought at-
tention to the department and enhanced
our international reputation in a way that
no other activity could have done. Krishna
has had the unique vision to create this
tradition and it will have a lasting legacy.
Krishna began his term as Chair

with John Thompson being awarded the
Presidential Medal of Science and he ends
his term with John Thompson winning the
Abel Prize. These are remarkable book-
ends to a sterling term of service.
As I reflect on my past years in the
Department of Mathematics, it is re-
markable how far we have come. At
the beginning of my career, we were on
the margins. There was only one senior
researcher of international reputation and
he was in his declining years. Now we are
a major center of mathematical activity
and can boast of many areas of strength
with many researchers of international
stature. We can now also boast of several
new areas of applied mathematics. I am
confident that the future will bring greater
growth and more recognition.
You may wonder at my confidence
in the face of the economic downturn
that Florida is experiencing. Along with
the rest of the nation and the world, the
mortgage crisis and the spike in the price
of petroleum have affected us. The effects
are being felt in budget reductions in the
State University System. Deep cuts have
affected the University of Florida and our
department. With these events in mind, it
seems almost ludicrous to be optimistic.
However, from my perspective of several
decades, these economic difficulties are
just a hiccup along the path. I have seen

these cycles in the past. Fair winds will
blow again soon and we will be prepared
to resume our journey.
My confidence is not solely based on
the likelihood of favorable change. What
gives me greater certainty is my strong
confidence in the faculty of our depart-
ment and the alumni of our program.
They are the true guarantors of our
future. Together we will continue our
traditions of excellence. I look forward to
reporting on the successes of both faculty
and alumni in future columns.

by Krishnaswami Alladi
t 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. Dona-
tions received at the UF Foundation for the fiscal year through June 30, 2008 totaled
over $5,000 (not including the funding of the Thompson-Chandler Research Assistant
Professorship). Non-anonymous alumni and friends donations during the time period
July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008 included contributions from Marian A. Anderson,
William and Cynthia Chandler, Virginia Chow, Donald Cook, Michael J. Crofford,
John Devine, Jeffrey S. Doker, David Drake, Talia Elkin, Charles M. Ennis, Laura E.
Ennis, Karen Fagin, Evelyn C. Farfante, Gary P Gordon, Thomas F. Hagan, William
Hare, Dorothy Hemond, Being-Jane Her, Edward K. Hinson, Thomas C. Hoi, Philip
B. Kane, John Kenelly, Ruth K. Langebrake, Carlos F. Perez, Albert J. Rodger,
Robert W. Shuford, Irvin L. Smith, Nevins C. Smith, Dongxing Wang, and Veronica



Department of Mathematics

The Academic Year
2007-2008 in Pictures

The Program in Algebra,
Number Theory and
Combinatorics 2007-2008
www. math. ufl.edu/specialprogram/2007-8

2 Little by Little, the newsletter of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Florida, Volume 21, Issue 1, Fall 2008

by Krishnaswami Alladi

was pleased to serve as Chair of
the Mathematics Department
for ten years because it gave me
an opportunity to work towards
the growth and development of
the Department in various ways.
I have enjoyed the role as Chair
because I received total coopera-
tion and support from faculty,
staff, and students. I would like to
take this opportunity to express
my appreciation to all of you
for your support. In particular, I
would like to thank the follow-

ing individuals who helped me in
Professors Neil White
(Associate Chair, 1998-2000),
Louis Block (Associate Chair,
2000-2002), James Brooks
(Associate Chair, 2002-2008),
Scott McCullough (Acting Chair
2005-2006 while I was on leave),
Bruce Edwards (Undergraduate
Coordinator, 1998-2001), David
Groisser (Undergraduate Coor-
dinator, 2001-2008), Rick Smith
(Undergraduate Coordinator

during the summers), and Paul
Robinson (Graduate Coordinator,
Staff members Sharon Easter
(Administrative Assistant), Sandra
Gagnon (Office Manager), Lou
Hernandez (Chair's Secretary,
1998-2000), Pam Harrelson
(Chair's Secretary, 2001-2004),
Krystal Glover (Chair's Secre-
tary, 2005-2006), Sonja Pealer
(Fiscal Assistant, 1998-2000),
Vickie Vallance (Fiscal Assistant,
2001-2004), Margaret Somers

(Grants Assistant, 2005-2008),
Julia Porchiazzo (Undergraduate
Secretary, until 2007), Gretchen
Garrett (Graduate Secretary), Ma-
rie Hahn (Technical Typist), Mary
Harris (Senior Fiscal Assistant,
2007-2008) and Constance Doby
Computer Systems Adminis-
trators Urvashi Shah (until 2001),
Bruce Klein (until 2001), and
Brian Roberts (2001-2008).
I could not have managed the
Department without this help.

Chair, continued from page 1
delivered by 2007 Abel Laureate Srinivasa
Varadhan (Courant Institute) on "Random
walks and diffusions in a random medium."
Professor Varadhan was honored with the
Abel Prize for his path breaking contributions
to the theory of probability Quite appropri-
ately, we had CLAS Interim Dean Joseph
Glover (himself a probabilist) give the Open-
ing Remarks for this lecture.
The contact with the steady stream
of eminent visitors to the Department has
brought international visibility of our research
and helped in the placement of our graduate
students. We are very proud that graduate
student Hung Ngoc Nguyen who finished
under the direction of Professor Pham Huu
Tiep has accepted a post-doctoral position at
Michigan State University. Adnan Sabuwala
(a PhD student of Professor Shari Moskow)
will be a tenure-track Assistant Professor at
California State University Paul Brodhead
who finished his PhD degree under the
supervision of Professor Doug Cenzer will
be an Assistant Professor at the University of
Hawaii in 2008-2009. And Micah Coleman
who finished his PhD under the direction of
Professor Miklos Bona (after serving a year
in Iraq!!) will be employed at the Georgia
Tech Research Institute. I have highlighted
here just the academic positions that our
PhD students received this year.
Our faculty continue to do extremely
well in research. In fact, the total external
funding received by our faculty has nearly
tripled in ten years! This success in research
funding has been recognized by the award
of the University of Florida Research Foun-
dation (UFRF) Professorship to Professor
William Hager for the three year period
2008-2011. Professor Hager was chosen for
this award for his outstanding research in the
area of optimization and the mathematical
study of lightning, and for his successes in
graduate education. This is the third UFRF

Professorship for the Department during my
ten-year term as chair.
The Department is as much commit-
ted to teaching as it is to research. Professor
Miklos Bona (a very successful researcher
in combinatorics, indeed a world authority
in the study of permutations) received the
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
Mentoring Award. A pleasant development
in a year plagued by budget cuts was the
authorization from the administration of the
Thompson-Chandler Research Assistant Pro-
fessorship. Mr. William and Mrs. Cynthia
Chandler gave a handsome donation for
this three-year position starting in Fall 2008
and this was matched by the administration.
Dr. Necibe Turner will be joining as the
Thompson Chandler Research Assistant Pro-
fessor (in applied mathematics) in Fall 2008
and we welcome her to our department.
Four of our colleagues retired during
the year, three of them the DROP Program-
Professors David Wilson and Theral Moore
in December 2007, and Professor Neil
White in May 2008. Senior Lecturer Ronnie
Khuri did basic retirement in May 2008.
They have all rendered exemplary service
to the Department over the years and were
presented plaques during the December
Christmas Party and the Spring Appreciation
Tea respectively. All four have been awarded
Emeritus status and we look forward to
many more years of association with them.
This is the tenth and final year of my
term as Chair of the Mathematics Depart-
ment. I complete my term with the satisfac-
tion that I have accomplished all the goals
I set out in my vision statement of 1998.
During the last ten years, the international
visibility and reputation of the Depart-
ment has risen significantly owing to our
accomplishments and the introduction of
several programs of high quality such as the
Distinguished Colloquia, the Special Years

and the Thompson Assistant Professorship.
It has been a pleasure working with the
faculty, staff, and students in launching and
conducting these programs. Also during this
period, the outstanding work done by the
Department was recognized with awards
to the faculty, graduate students and staff.
Towards the final weeks of my term as Chair
came the sensational news of the award of
the 2008 Abel Prize to Graduate Research
Professor John Thompson. This is, without
exaggeration, the highest-ever academic
recognition in the history of the University
of Florida. We had a Reception at the Keene
Faculty Center on March 27, the very day of
the announcement of the prize. The news
had spread like wildfire across campus, and
despite the short notice, there was an excel-
lent turnout at the reception. UF President
Bernard Machen who was in the midst of
budgetary discussions with the Florida Leg-
islature, flew from Tallahassee to be present
at the reception. In congratulating Profes-
sor Thompson, he stressed the paramount
importance of this award to UF and pointed
out that the Mathematics Department has to
be given the credit for providing a conducive
environment for Professor Thompson. My
wife Mathura and I were invited to attend
the Abel Prize Ceremony and all related
events in Oslo in May 2008. It was a pleasure
and privilege for us to take part in the 2008
Abel Prize Program and witness the award
of the prizes to Professors John Thompson
and Jacques Tits by King Harald V of Norway.
I am glad to finish my term as Chair with
news and events of such exalted level. I pass
the baton to my experienced colleague Pro-
fessor James Keesling who will take over
as Chair from July 1, 2008. I am confident
that in his able hands the Department will
continue on its path to progress and I wish
him the best in his efforts.

Little by Little, the newsletter of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Florida, Volume 21, Issue 1, Fall 2008 3


by Krishnaswami Alladi

Graduate Research Professor John Griggs Thompson of the Department of Mathematics was co-recipient of the 2008
Abel Prize for Mathematics. He shares the 6 million NOK (more than $1 million) prize with the renowned Belgian math-
ematician Jacques Tits of the College de France. The President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announced
the news on March 27. Thompson and Tits will receive the prize on May 20, 2008 in Oslo from His Majesty King Harald V of

Norway. The news release from

There is no Nobel Prize for
mathematics, and the Abel Prize
is its equivalent in prestige and
prize money The prize is named
after the great Norwegian
mathematician Neils Henrik Abel
and was launched in connection
with his bicentenary in 2003.
The prize recognizes outstand-
ing scientific work in the field
of mathematics. Excluding the
Abel Prize, the most prestigious
prize in mathematics is the Fields
Medal, which Thompson won
at the International Congress of
Mathematicians in Nice in 1970.
The Fields Medal, however, is
awarded only to mathematicians
under the age of forty The Abel
Prize, in contrast, recognizes the
achievements of mathemati-
cians of any age. This year's
award brings up to eight the
total number of Abel Laureates.
Three Fields Medalists including
Professor Thompson are also
Abel Laureates.
Professor Thompson is one
of the most eminent mathema-
ticians in the world. For more
than half a century he has been
a leading authority in the field
of group theory, which is a
mathematical study of symme-
try The subject had its origins
in the work of the nineteenth
century French mathematician
Evariste Galois, who in his teens
discovered fundamental symme-
try properties related to the solu-
tions of polynomial equations.
Group theory today has found
applications to many fields
within and outside mathematics,
including chemistry, computer
science, and physics.
As a graduate student in
the fifties at the University of

the Norwegian Academy and the citations of the 2008 Nobel Laureates can be found at www.

Chicago, Thompson solved a
famous sixty-year-old problem
in group theory. It was clear that
the ideas in his thesis would lead
to a new era in group theory.
Soon after his PhD, Thompson
collaborated with Walter Feit
(at Yale for many years) and the
two stunned the world by solv-
ing one of the great problems of
group theory, namely, the solv-
ability of all groups of odd order.
The Feit-Thompson proof of
this result was 253 pages long
and filled an entire issue of the
Pacific Journal of Mathematics.
For this revolutionary work, Feit
and Thompson were awarded
the 1966 Cole Prize of the
American Mathematical Society.
Thompson continued to pro-
duce results of great importance
that shaped the development
of group theory in the following
decades. In particular, his work
was crucial in the solution of
one of the monumental prob-
lems of mathematics, namely,
the classification of finite simple
groups. This sustained effort
by hundreds of mathemati-
cians around the world for over
four decades was in large part
launched and guided by him.
This classification was com-
pleted just a few years ago. For
his outstanding contributions
to algebra in general and group
theory in particular, Thompson
has received numerous awards
and recognition in addition to
the Cole Prize and the Fields
Medal. These include the Senior
Berwick Prize of the London
Mathematical Society (1982),
the Sylvester Medal of the Royal
Society (1987), the Wolf Prize of
Israel (1992), the Poincare Medal

of France (1992), and the Na-
tional Medal of Science (2000).
He has been awarded honorary
doctorates by the University of
Illinois, Yale University (where he
was an undergraduate), Oxford
University, and the Ohio State
Thompson received his PhD
at the University of Chicago
in 1959 under the direction
of Saunders MacLane. After
serving as Professor at the
University of Chicago, he was
appointed in 1970 as Rouse Ball
Professor of Mathematics at
Cambridge University, England,
where he was until his retire-
ment in 1993, after which he
joined the University of Florida
as Graduate Research Profes-
sor of Mathematics. Professor
Thompson has been an inspiring
presence in the department and
has helped us build a world-
class group in algebra. For his
70th birthday, the department
held a Special Year in Algebra
2002-2003, when the most
active researchers in the world in
group theory assembled at the
University of Florida. It was also
in 2002-2003 that the Depart-
ment, with the support of the
Administration, launched the
John G. Thompson Research
Assistant Professorships in his
honor. The international reputa-
tion of the Department has risen
significantly in the last few years
owing to the introduction of
several programs of high quality.
In launching and developing
these programs, I have relied on
Professor Thompson's guidance
and benefited from his wisdom
and experience. And now with
the Abel Prize, the highest-ever

academic recognition to the Uni-
versity of Florida is again due to
Mathematics Graduate Research
Professor John Thompson!
A celebration of the
announcement of Professor
Thompson's receiving the Abel
Prize was held in the Keene
Faculty Center on March 27. In
attendance from the adminstra-
tion were UF President Bernard
Machen, Provost Janie Fouke,
Vice President for Research
Win Phillips, and CLAS Interim
Dean Joseph Glover. Among
the remarks of these admin-
istrators, what stood out was
the President's comment that
Thompson's receipt of the Abel
Prize while on the UF faculty
was nicer than the national
football championship of a few
years ago. Three members of
the National Academy, who
were visiting the department
the prior week (Professors
George Andrews of Penn State,
Bert Kostant of MIT, and Peter
Sarnak of Princeton), had taped
congratulations for Thomp-
son, which were shown. Also,
while attending a conference in
Chicago, Professors Alex Turull
and Peter Sin sent a taped
video congratulating Thompson,
with some humorous aspects.
Dr. Berit Johne, Counselor for
Science, Royal Norwegian Em-
bassy, Washington, DC paid the
compliments of the Norwegian
ambassador to the US to Profes-
sor Thompson and presented
him with a video on the Abel
prize and Abel himself as well
as a handsome book detail-
ing Norse exploration of North
On Thursday, April 3, a

Thompson continued on page 5

4 Little by Little, the newsletter of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Florida, Volume 21, Issue 1, Fall 2008


by Krishnaswami Alladi

Professor William Hager, the senior most
member of our Applied Mathematics
group, has been awarded a University of
Florida Research Foundation (UFRF) Profes-
sorship for the three-year period 2008-2011.
Professor Hager is a world authority
in the area of Optimization. The National
Science Foundation has continuously funded
his fundamental research. He is currently
involved in the mathematical analysis of
lightning, and in the study of sparse matrix
In addition to being an outstanding
researcher, he is a very successful graduate
mentor, having supervised half a dozen PhD
dissertations at UF One of his PhD students,
Hongchao Zhang, won the Society of Indus-
trial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Prize

for Best Student Paper coauthoredd with
Hager) in 2006. A graduate student in engi-
neering, whom Hager mentored in connec-
tion with an algorithm on sparse matrices,
has been applying their techniques at the
technology company Nextwave Wireless.
Professor Hager is the Editor-in-Chief of
the journal Computational Optimization and
Applications, published by Springer, and is
one of the Directors for the Center for Ap-
plied Optimization. He has been recognized
with the UFRF Professorship for his outstand-
ing contributions to research and graduate
education. This is the third UFRF Professor-
ship for the Mathematics Department in
eight years, and it testifies to the high quality
of research by our faculty.

Thompson, continued from page 4
dinner was held to honor Professor Thomp-
son at the Hilton, especially for those who
were unable to attend the earlier ceremony
in the Keene Faculty Center, to pay tribute to
Thompson also. Among the attendees was
Virginia Chow who reported that her late
husband Professor Chat Ho, one of Thomp-
son's PhD students, had always spoken often
and admiringly to her of Thompson. Virginia
told us that Thompson had visited Brazil
when Ho was a professor at the University of
Brasilia and during Thompson's association
at UF, he seemed like part of their family. In
replying himself at the end of these tributes
before dinner was served, Professor Thomp-
son said that he is sometimes pessimistic
about mathematics in America, but hopes
that young people will find their way into
that field in the 21st century, even though
the study of group theory may seem very
daunting now with all the advances which
have been made.
For photos covering the Reception
in the Keene Faculty Center for Professor
Thompson, visit our website: www.math.ufl.

Professor John Thompson and Dr (Mrs) Diane Thompson (center) are greeted by Krishna Alladl (left) and Bent Johne (right)

Little by Little, the newsletter of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Florida, Volume 21, Issue 1, Fall 2008 5




by Krishnaswami Alladi

Motivated by the great success of the Special Years Program, which ran from 2001-2002 to 2006-2007, the Department decided to begin a
Program in Algebra, Number Theory and Combinatorics (ANTC), three areas in which the Department has great strength and tradition. The
ANTC Program is modeled along the lines of the Special Years Program, but enhanced by an educational component. The ANTC Program was
highlighted by four conferences:

1. Conference on Group Repre
sentations and Combinatorics,
September 10-14, 2007, orga-
nized by Peter Sin and Pham

2. Chat Ho Memorial Conference
on Combinatorics and Groups,
February 21-24, 2008, organized
by Neil White, David Drake,
and Hua Wang

3. Student Workshop and Confer-
ence on Partitions, q-Series and
Modular Forms, March 8-16,
2008, organized by Krishnas-
wami Alladi, George Andrews,
Alexander Berkovich, and
Frank Garvan

4. Conference on the Conrad
Legacy, May 5-8, 2008, organized
by Jorge Martinez

Details about each of these conferences is provided below by the organizers.

The ANTC Program was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Number Theory Foundation, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
and the Mathematics Department. The instructional component to the ANTC Program alluded to above was provided in several ways. I gave a
graduate level topics course on the theory of partitions in spring 2008 to prepare our graduate students for the March 2008 conference. Profes-
sor Dominique Foata, a world-renowned combinatorialist, gave a one-month course of lectures in February 2008, on "q-series and Permutation
Statistics" which also prepared the students for the March conference. Finally, the March conference was immediately preceded by a prepara-
tory Student Workshop, which was attended by about a dozen talented undergraduates from around the nation, as well as a few students from
overseas. In addition, there were several featured survey lectures of wide appeal by eminent visiting mathematicians (see my opening column for
details on these). Thus the first year of the ANTC Program was a great success and we are excited to develop this in the future as a successor to
the Special Years Program.

Conference on Group
Representations and
September 10-14, 2007

by Peter Sin
The Special Program in Algebra,
Combinatorics and Number Theo-
ry kicked off in September with an
international conference on Group
Representations and Combinato-
rics, organized by Pham Huu Tiep
and Peter Sin. As well as a large
number of research talks, this
conference incorporated a short
instructional series of lectures by
Alexander Kleshchev of University
of Oregon on "Representations
of finite groups and categorifica-
tion" and our own Alexander
Turull on "Bijections of characters
and rationality." In addition to his
opening lecture surveying the lat-

est developments of block theory,
Michel Broue of the Institute Henri
Poincare delivered an inspiring
History of Mathematics lecture on
the theme "Local Group Theory:
from Frobenius to Rickard." The
conference had good participa-
tion by graduate students from UF
and outside, which contributed
directly to its success. Our Alumni
Fellow Hung Ngoc Nguyen
presented his research on irreduc-
ible restrictions for representa-
tions. The connections between
representations and combinatorics
were elegantly illustrated in Jorn
Olsson's colloquium lecture. There

Professor Michel Broue (Directeur, Institut Henri Poincare) delivering a History Lecture dur-
ing the Conference on "Group representations and combinatorics" on Sept 12, 2007

was an interesting variety of
research talks by visitors Beren-
stein, Cliff, Fong, Guest, Kassabov,
Lin, Li, Pillen, Srinivasan, Wocjan,
and Xiang as well as talks by local
participants Graduate Research
Professor John Thompson,
who spoke about his fascinating
work on the divisor matrix, and
organizers Sin and Tiep who, true

to the spirit of "The show must
go on" filled in for a speaker who
had been forced to cancel at the
last minute. The NSF and the UF
Mathematics Department sup-
ported the conference. Thanks go
also to the departmental staff for
their tireless efficiency and expert
catering, both of which drew
praise from our visitors.

6 Little by Little, the newsletter of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Florida, Volume 21, Issue 1, Fall 2008

Chat Yin Ho Memorial Conference

February 21-24, 2008
by David Drake
The Chat Yin Ho Memorial Confer-
ence on Groups and Combinatorics
was attended by approximately 65
participants. From Thursday, Febru-
ary 21 through Sunday, February
24, there were a total of 32 talks
given by speakers from 11 differ-
ent countries, many by eminent
mathematicians. The international
attendees included among the
world's foremost authorities on
generalized quadrangles, Jef Thas
of the University of Ghent (speak-
ing on "Generalized hexagons and
Singer geometries") and Stanley
Payne of the University of Colorado,
Denver, (lecturing on "Is there a
non-classical GQ of odd order?").
In view of Chat Ho's efforts on
behalf of the University of Florida
graduate program, the organizers
made a special effort to honor Chat
by including graduate students in
the conference program. Thus, the
roster of speakers included nine ad-

vanced graduate students from six
universities, and the total number
of graduate students who attended
was more than 20.
There was active participa-
tion both by UF faculty and by
UF graduate students, and the
department can be proud of their
contributions. UF graduate student
Micah Coleman chaired the open-
ing session of the conference and
gave polished introductions of the
eminent combinatorialist Domin-
ique Foata from the University of
Strasburg (who opened the confer-
ence with a lecture on "A quantum
version of the MacMahon Master
Theorem") as well as his advisor UF
Professor Miklos Bona who spoke
on "Generalized descents and nor-
mality" UF graduate students Ogul
Arslan (holder of the Chat Yin Ho
Scholarship during 2007-2008),
Tim Bonner, and Yong Yang all
gave very smooth talks on their

research. Others and I were much
impressed with the stage presence
of all four. Arslan spoke on "Dimen-
sions of LU(3,q)," Bonner spoke on
"Elements of the derived subgroups
as products of commutators," and
Yang spoke on "Orbits of the ac-
tion of finite solvable groups." Also
former UF graduate student Mi-
chael Schroeder returned from the
University of Wisconsin and spoke
on "Row and Column Orthogo-
nal (0,1)- Matrices." UF Graduate
Research Professor John Thomp-
son and Professor Peter Sin both
spoke on their joint research on
"The Divisor Matrix, Dirichlet Series,
and SL(2,Z)." Professor Alexander
Turull lectured in "Strengthened
McKay conjecture for p-solvable
Wednesday, February 20th,
David and Donna Drake held a
welcoming reception at their home,
before the conference began

Graduate Research Professor John Thomp-
son spoke at the Chat Ho Memorial
Conference on Combinatorics and Groups,
February 22, 2008
the following morning. Thursday
evening, a walk to Lake Alice to
watch the nightly exodus of bats
from the "most successful bat
house in North America" took
place. Friday, Neil and Mary White
held a pizza party at their home.
Saturday noon included a drive to
the home of Chat Ho and Virginia
Chow where the participants could
enjoy the rose gardens, which were
such a delight to Chat. Monday
morning, a trip to Payne's Prairie to
view egrets, ibises, and alligators
was scheduled, which was greatly
enjoyed by those who participated.

Student Workshop and Conference on
Partitions, q-Series and Modular Forms
March 8-16, 2008

by Krishnaswami Alladi
The Department has one of the
strongest programs in the world
in the theory of partitions and in
areas related to the work of the
Indian mathematical genius Srinivasa
Ramanujan. In the last decade,
the Department has conducted
several conferences on partitions
and related areas, and indeed had
become internationally known for
this type of activity Thus the March
2008 conference is in continuation
of this fine tradition, except that this
time we decided to have a prepara-
tory Student Workshop immediately
preceding it. The idea was to ask
one of the main speakers of the
conference to actually give a series
of three one-hour lectures focus-

ing on major advances in a specific
topic. We chose Professor Ken Ono
to deliver these three lectures since
he and his co-workers have obtained
far-reaching results on several topics
stemming directly from Ramanujan's
works-partition congruencies, and
mock-theta functions, to name just
two. The Workshop was a prepara-
tion for the students to understand
the conference talks in general, and
mini-course of lectures by Ono in
particular. The Student Workshop
was attended by about a dozen tal-
ented undergraduates from all over
the USA and a few from overseas.
About half the students came from
the NSF funded Fall 2007 MASS
(Mathematics Advanced Study

Semesters) Program at Penn State
University Sharon Garthwaite (Buck-
nell University), a former student of
Ono, was the main instructor for the
Workshop. She gave four prepara-
tory lectures, one each morning.
These were augmented by lectures
in the afternoon for the Workshop
(one each) by me and my colleagues
Alexander Berkovich, Frank
Garvan, and Li Shen.
The conference attracted 75
participants from around the world.
There were eight plenary speakers
who gave one-hour talks-Profes-
sors George Andrews (Penn State),
Bruce Berndt (Urbana, Illinois), Frank
Garvan (UF), Ken Ono (Wisconsin),
Peter Paule (RISC, Austria), Ole

As the main instructor ot the Student
Workshop on "Partitions, q-series and mod-
ular forms," Sharon Garthwaite (Bucknell
University) gave four lectures during March
Warnaar (Melbourne), Herb Wilf (U-
Penn), and Sander Zwegers (Dublin,
Ireland) and several 20-minute pre-
sentations. The refereed proceedings
of the conference will be published
as a Special Issue of The Ramanu-
jan Journal, and will also be made
available in book form in the series
Developments in Mathematics-
both published by Springer

Conference on the Conrad Legacy

May 5-8, 2008
by Jorge Martinez
The Consortium for Order in Alge-
bra and Logic (OAL), in collabora-
tion with Vanderbilt University, and
both the Department of Mathemat-
ics and the College of Liberal Arts
and Sciences at the University of
Florida, sponsored a conference on

the UF campus entitled, "On the
Conrad legacy" This conference
was dedicated to the memory of
Paul Conrad, first at Tulane then lat-
er at the University of Kansas, and
to an examination of the develop-
ment of mathematics to which he

contributed so much.
The conference dealt with a
broad range of topics in Ordered
Algebraic Structures, from lattice or-
dered groups to rings of continuous
functions. There were 26 speak-
ers, from North America as well

as Europe and North Africa. PhD
graduate Warren McGovern, now
an Associate Professor at Bowling
Green spoke on "Bazzoni's Conjec-
ture on Prufer domains" and Pro-
fessor Jorge Martinez lectured on
"Free meets in algebraic frames."

Little by Little, the newsletter of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Florida, Volume 21, Issue 1, Fall 2008 7





by Paul Ehrlich

During the 2007-2008 academic year,
Professor Theral Moore was honored at
a ceremony on December 7, 2007 and Senior
Lecturer Ronnie Khuri and Professor Neil
White were honored at a ceremony on April
24, 2008. Professor David Wilson also re-
ceived emeritus status in December 2007 and
celebrated with a trip to Australia in Spring
2008 to collaborate with a well known expert
in fractals, Michael Barnsley Wilson told us
that he has enjoyed 35 years of service at UF
and especially teaching smaller classes, and he
received a plaque recognizing his service.
Professor Theral Moore came to UF in
1955 and thus personally experienced not only
the turmoil over the administration's selection
of the relatively youthful John Maxfield as new
outside chair in place of the expected internal
chair who would have been decades older, but
also the last half of Franklin Kokomoor's chair-
manship. Beginning the December ceremony,
Chair Krishna Alladi remarked that Moore has
been a teacher par excellence over many years,
winning not only two TIP awards, but also a
CLAS teaching award. First Rick Smith spoke
about Theral and his service of over 52 years at
the University of Florida. Drawing partly upon
an article he had written for the CLAS newslet-
ter in 1993 when Theral was only 66, Rick
related how when Theral was an undergradu-
ate at the University of Arkansas, a professor
had told him about using a jewelers loop to
read, and Theral had been able to read a few
letters at a time from 1948 until 1972. During
that time, he worked in topology, writing a
noted text on that subject and directing a se-
ries of masters dissertations during the 1960s.
(At the end of the ceremony, current faculty
member Professor Jorge Martinez made the
surprising revelation that he had taken Moore's
topology course while in his undergraduate
studies here at UF Martinez recalled Moore
suggesting to the students that they should
use the phraseology "Suppose X is a topologi-
cal space" in place of "Let X be a topological
space" as sounding less presumptuous.) After
1972, Theral changed his attention to number
theory and co-authored several publications
with Professor Edwin Hadlock, his late father-
in-law, then on the faculty Also in the late
1980s, Theral's wife Nancy Moore mastered

Latex and thus as a
joint project growing
out of earlier discus-
sions between Hadlock
and Moore, Moore
produced a complex
variable text T. Hadlock,
T Moore, Complex
Analysis, World Sci-
entific Series in Pure Retirees Nell White and Ron
Ms, v e tics Professor Andrawus KhL
Mathematics, volume
9, 1991.
Past lecturer Tina Carter had returned
to UF from Buffalo to participate in Theral's
retirement ceremony As a personal project,
she had asked former students to write letters
on having had Theral as a teacher. What stood
out among the comments were Theral's caring
and compassionate attitude, his willingness to
spend lots of time with students during office
hours, his transmitting a love for calculus and
the beauty of mathematics, and also serv-
ing as an example of how obstacles can be
overcome (hence even the fear of mathemat-
ics.) Tina herself told us that despite having an
undergraduate degree in Sociology, she had
become involved in teaching college algebra
as a lecturer. When it was suggested that she
move to teaching Calculus II and III, she found
this forbidding. Hence she decided to sit in on
Theral's section during summer school without
telling him to ease the transition. Observing
Theral's teaching for herself, she fell in love
with mathematics all over again.
At Theral's request, Professor Paul Ehrlich
spoke about some aspects of how the evolu-
tion of the Department here at UF fit into cer-
tain national trends in the historical develop-
ment of the mathematical research community
after 1900, especially focusing on Theral's
advisor, Professor Leonard M. Blumenthal of
the University of Missouri-Columbia, himself
a student of the second senior mathematics
faculty member, Frank Morley, at the new
research university Johns Hopkins. Among
the 18 PhD students Blumenthal produced at
Missouri, 3 of them served on the UF faculty
during the Simpson/Kokomoor years. David
Ellis, with a PhD in 1948 on Distance Geom-
etry of Algebraic Structures; Jerry Gaddum,
with a PhD in 1951 on A Metric Study of

nie Khurl cut their retirement cake as Ronnie's husband, Statis-
nr looks on
Arcs; and Theral Moore, with a PhD in 1955
on A Metric Foundation of Elliptic 2-Space.
(Later Moore revealed that an aspect of Mis-
souri during the time in which only Blumenthal
was taking PhD students is that Blumenthal
would only take one at a time, so one had to
wait in a queue for others to finish. In Theral's
year, with Blumenthal finally sending one of
the graduate students to work with Professor
Roy Utz, which left 3 for Blumenthal to deal
with.) At the Annual Christmas party, Theral
was presented with a plaque commemorating
his years of service. In reply, Theral said that he
had appreciated all the friendly "Hellos" in the
halls he had heard over the years.
Before the Annual Appreciation Day
Tea on April 24, 2008, a ceremony was held
beginning at noon to honor retirees Senior
Lecturer Ronnie Khuri and Professor Neil
White. Faculty Rick Smith and Jane Smith
shared a presentation honoring Khuri. Since
Ronnie took her graduate studies in Statistics,
Rick prepared a quite illuminating series of
transparencies on Ronnie by the Numbers.
Ronnie had received the BA degree at Eckert
College in 1969 in mathematics, then came
to UF to do graduate work in statistics. During
that time, she met her husband, Andre Khuri,
who was doing graduate work in mathemat-
ics. [They both still vividly remember how hot
the third floor of Walker Hall was in August
in the old days.] Joining Andre in the Middle
East, Ronnie took her degree at the American
University of Beirut in 1973. By the 1980s,
the Khuris had returned to UF where Andre
was a professor in the Statistics Department.
After an academic year 1981-1982 teaching
in Statistics here, Ronnie moved over to the
mathematics department and has been teach-
ing with us up until her retirement, recently

8 Little by Little, the newsletter of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Florida, Volume 21, Issue 1, Fall 2008

obtaining promotion to the rank of Senior
Lecturer once that rank had been established
on campus around 2000. Rick Smith estimated
that she had taught over 33,237 students
in her 27 years at UF, coordinated 43,300
students, supervised 443 TAs, written around
267 letters of recommendation, and answered
around 18,000 e-mail messages over the last
5 years (not including spam) on issues arising
from course coordination. An important aspect
of the role of the coordinator involves visiting
the TAs' classrooms and advising them in im-
proving their teaching. Past graduate student
Adnan Sabuwala wrote a testimony for the
occasion on how effectively Khuri had helped
him improve in the classroom. Jane Smith then
spoke about her years at UF with Ronnie. All
the lecturers had first shared the same room
on the 3rd floor of Walker Hall, then the same
basement room of Walker Hall, and finally had
close offices in Little Hall, so they had spent
much time together over the years. Especially,
they both recalled having to make special ac-
commodations for a student, Danny Wuerffel,
when he was taking mathematics classes. Jane
shared how helpful being able to consult with
Ronnie had been to her, and explained how
they always would both be in the room when
dealing with cases of student cheating and
sometimes they had to try to get the student
to confess. After the Smith's concluded, Chair
Alladi, Neil White, David Groisser and Sherry
Tornwall also paid tributes to Ronnie. Especial-
ly, Alladi revealed he had encouraged his older
daughter, who wished to study law, to take
calculus while at UF His daughter concurred
with his wishes and had Khuri as instructor.
At the end of the semester, the daughter told
Alladi that thanks to Ronnie's instruction, she
finally enjoyed calculus. At the end of the
Recognition Tea, Khuri herself said a few words
after she accepted a plaque from Chair Alladi
commemorating her years of service. She said
that working with the incoming graduate stu-
dents on their teaching, then later seeing them
move on to other jobs was most rewarding.
She remarked that one interesting aspect of
giving large lecture classes is that when one is
out and about in Gainesville, one is always be-
ing recognized by students, but of course, you
do not know them yourself. She also thanked
Jane in exchange for having been a real sup-
port over the years.
Next, Professor Andrew Vince gave an
illuminating presentation of aspects of Profes-
sor Neil White's research in combinatorics,
which has been at the intersection of algebra,
geometry and combinatorics. Two broad topics
White has pursued are matroid theory and the
geometric aspects of the Grassmann-Cayley
algebra (including rigidity of frameworks,
robotics, and computer aided reasoning in
geometry as applications.) At the outset, Vince
mentioned that in addition to White's research
publications, he is the editor of three books

(Theory of Matroids, Combi-
natorial Geometries, Matroid
Applications) and the co-author
of a fourth book on matroid
theory published with the
Cambridge University Press in
the Encyclopedia of Mathemat-
ics Series. More recently, White
is the co-author with A. Borovik
and the celebrated Russian
mathematician I. M. Gelfand
of a book on Coxeter Matroids
published by Birkhauser. Vince
explained that matroids go
back to the work of Hassler
Whitney in 1935 on abstracting
properties of linear inde-
pendence (thus a matroid is
defined to be a finite nonempty
subset E and a collection of
subsets where the members of
the collection satisfy properties
like that of linear independence
in linear algebra.) Given a ma-
troid, a topological realization
has been constructed, which
was conjectured to always be
topologically connected. But
White provided an example
of an oriented matroid whose
realization was topologi-
cally disconnected, however.
Vince also explained that a
famous collapse of a large roof Theral and Nancy
the retirement of
framework in Hartford under
the weight of snow could be
fitted into White's work on infinitesimal rigidity
and rigidity of frameworks. (While the given
framework was infinitesimally rigid and rigid,
it was close to a configuration which was NOT
infinitesimally rigid, and under the weight of
the snow, the roof was deformed into this later
framework.) Part of White's research on the
Grassmann-Cayley algebra also turned out to
be useful in his work in the laboratory of UF
Graduate Research Professor of Mechanical
Engineering James Duffy who specialized in
robotic motion.
After Vince's presentation, Chair Alladi
and Professors David Drake, Miklos Bona, Paul
Ehrlich, Louis Block, and Jed Keesling paid
tribute to Neil. Alladi especially recalled that he
first heard of Neil White after Alladi had ac-
cepted his position here and the noted number
theorist Carl Pomerance told Alladi that he
knew White as both a fine mathematician
and a fine individual. Alladi especially praised
White for his ability to co-author a book with
Gelfand, who is known to be a difficult per-
sonality to work with. Drake seconded Alladi's
recollection of Pomerance's comments and
relayed that Graduate Research Professor John
Thompson had expressed similar sentiments.
Also Drake recalled that White had won teach-
ing awards while teaching the large lecture

Moore cutting the cake presented to them on the occasion of
Professor Moore
calculus sections and also praised White for his
professional work in organizing conferences
over the years. In a counter tale to Martinez's
revealing in December 2007 that he had been
a student of Moore while an undergraduate
at UF, Ehrlich revealed that in 1969, he had
taken a junior tutorial section in Combinatorics
from White while in college. Vince further
recalled that White was remembered among
the students for asking trivia questions about
baseball and geography when he was teaching
the large lecture calculus. Mary White also
addressed the faculty, and she encouraged
us in our present difficult times to cherish our
opportunities to work together, telling us that
for 35 years, Neil has always enjoyed coming
to work and felt blessed to be in such a nice
In presenting a commemorative plaque
later to White at the Recognition Tea, Chair
Alladi said especially when he began his
term as chair in 1998, he needed someone
dependable who would be a good Associate
Chair, and he turned to Neil White to take on
this role during 1998-2000. In accepting his
plaque, Neil thanked the department for being
the most congenial and collegial department
that he has ever known among mathematics

Little by Little, the newsletter of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Florida, Volume 21, Issue 1, Fall 2008 9


by Paul Ehrlich
Early at 6am on the morning of
March 27, 2008, Graduate Re-
search Professor John Thompson
received a phone call from the Pres-
ident of the Norwegian Academy
Ole Laerum informing him that he
was a co-recipient (with Professor
Jacques Tits) of the 2008 Abel Prize
in mathematics. This prize, first
awarded at the bicentenary of the
Norwegian mathematician Abel,
is the equivalent in mathemat-
ics of the Nobel Prizes in other
scholarly areas. A celebration of
the announcement was held in the
Keene Faculty Center on this same
Thursday, including tributes from
UF President Machen, UF Provost
Janie Fouke, and Interim CLAS
Dean Joseph Glover. Also a dinner
was held at the Hilton on April 3 to
celebrate Thompson's receipt of the
Abel Prize. He will accept the prize
in Oslo, Norway on May 20 from
King Harald V of Norway
Professor Alexandre Turull
served on the Organizing Commit-
tee for the Glauberman Confer-
ence on the Local and Global Anal-
ysis of Groups and Related Objects
held during March 24-March 28,
2008 at the University of Chicago
marking Professor Glauberman's
67th Birthday Among the principal
lecturers were Professors Peter Sin
as well as Turull, past Thompson
Research Assistant Professor Larry
Wilson, now at the Center for
Communications Research in San
Diego, and recent graduate Dr.
Adriana Nenciu at a postdoctoral
position at the University of Wis-
consin. Nenciu spoke on "Brauer
I-tuples," Sin on "The Divisor Ma-
trix, Dirichelt Series and SL(2,Z),"
Turull on "Above the Glauberman
Correspondence," and Wilson
on "Groups with Fixed Point Free
Automorphisms of Prime Order."
Also, two current UF graduate
students Tim Bonner and Yang
Yong gave Short Talks as Junior
Presenters. Bonner spoke on "Ele-
ments of the derived subgroup as
products of commutators" and
Yong on "Orbits of the actions of
finite solvable groups."
Mathematics Chair Krishna
Alladi had an active international
schedule of lectures on his research
as in previous years. He presented
his work "A multidimensional
extension of Sylverster's identity" as

a talk at the Illinois Number Theory
Conference on May 16, 2007, as
a Plenary Lecture at the Combina-
torics and Additive Number Theory
Conference at the City University
of New York, and as a colloquium
at the Madras Institute of Tech-
nology, India on August 1, 2007.
Another theme on which he spoke
was "Partitions into non-repeating
odd parts and q-hypergeometric
identities" at the Number Theory
Seminar at Penn State University on
November 1, 2007, and as an Hour
Address on December 20, 2007 at
the International Conference on
Number Theory and Special Func-
tions at SASTRA University in Kum-
bakonam, India, the hometown of
genius Srinivasa Ramanujan. For a
third straight year, Alladi served as
Chair of the SASTRA Ramanujan
Prize Committee. This interna-
tional prize of $10,000 is given
to very young mathematicians for
outstanding contributions to areas
influenced by Ramanujan. In three
years the prize has won interna-
tional acclaim as can be seen from
prominent reports in the Notices
of the American Mathematical
Professor Louis Block gave
an invited lecture at the Visegrad
Conference on Dynamical Systems,
which took place in Strbske Pleso,
Slovakia. The title of the talk given
on June 29, 2007 was "On In-
gram's Conjecture."
On May 2, 2008, UF President
Bernie Machen announced Profes-
sor Joseph Glover's appointment
as the new UF Provost. Machen
indicated in a news release that
Glover "has the perfect combina-
tion of foresight and institutional
memory, and that makes him the
ideal person for the job."
Emeritus Professor Nico-
lae Dinculeanu was an invited
speaker at the First International
Workshop on Functional and
Operational Statistics, held at the
Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse
during June 19-21, 2008. He
lectured on "Vector Integration and
Stochastic Integration in Banach
Professor William Hager
has been awarded a three-year
University of Florida Research Foun-
dation Professorship beginning in
fall, 2008. This professorship was

granted in recognition of his major
role in graduate education and his
outstanding research accomplish-
During the spring semester,
2007, Professor Bernard Mair was
in the CLAS Dean's Office as an
Associate Dean with responsibility
for CLAS computing and oversight
of the CLAS science chairs. Bernard
thus joined the administrative team
of CLAS Interim Dean Professor
Joseph Glover, who was named
to that post in 2007.
Professor Jorge Martinez
served as one of the organizers
in a Conference On the Conrad
Legacy sponsored by the Con-
sortium for Order in Algebra
and Logic (OAL) between UF and
Vanderbilt University Held during
May 5-8, 2008, the conference
attracted speakers from around the
world including Britain, Canada,
Germany, India, Italy, Tunisia, and
Slovakia. Martinez himself spoke
on Free meets in algebraic frames
(joint work with his PhD student
Warren McGovern.)
Professor Pham Tiep was
a member of the Mathemati-
cal Sciences Research Institute
in Berkeley during spring, 2008.
He gave invited lectures during
the summer 2007 at an Interna-
tional Conference on Permutation
Groups in Oberwolfach, Germany
and at CIRM in Marseille on a
conference on Around the Broue
Conjectures. He also gave invited
lectures at the University of Arizona
and the University of California
at San Diego during spring 2008.
During the fall semester, he
organized with Professor Peter
Sin the International Conference
on Group Representations and
Combinatorics held in Gainesville
during September 2007. In July
2007, Tiep was a coordinator for
the 48th International Mathemati-
cal Olympiad, which was held in
Hanoi, Vietnam during July 19-31,
2007. This event was attended by
520 high school students from 95
countries around the world. Pham's
PhD student H. N. Nyugen also
attended the August, 2007 confer-
ence at Oberwolfach, lectured in
the September 2007 conference in
Gainesville, and participated (with
support) in two workshops in the
spring 2008 program at the MSRI

Emeritus Professor David
Wilson traveled to Australia during
spring, 2008, in part to work with
the renowned fractal expert David
Barnsley in Canberra.
Following a ceremony starting
at noon in Little 109 for retirees
Senior Lecturer Ronnie Khuri and
Professor Neil White, the Annual
Appreciation Day was held in the
Atrium at 2:00 pm. Chair Krishna
Alladi opened the ceremony with
the humorous remark that even
though the faculty and graduate
student size was shrinking with
continued budgetary constraints,
the staff still optimistically thinks
we are expanding and had placed
the refreshments outside this year,
so that there was lots of room for
the audience in the Atrium. This
year, Associate Chair Jim Brooks
explained a bit about the process
involved in selecting the Graduate
Student Teaching Awards. Based
on our departmental size, we are
allowed to submit 3 nominees for
university wide teaching awards
and for the past 3 years, two out of
the three nominees have received
awards, which is quite an achieve-
ment. (The candidates' classrooms
are even visited by 2 evaluators
from outside the department.) This
year Brian Boucher and Remy
Friends Ndangali received the
university wide award. In present-
ing various undergraduate awards,
Associate Chair for Undergraduate
Studies David Groisser noted
that for the third year in a row,
the Kermit Sigmon Scholarship
has gone to a student with last
name beginning in F, this year to
undergraduate Ryan Flynn, who
has been invited to participate in
a research conference for gradu-
ate students at UC Davis to speak
on his research in combinatorics.
Also Groisser singled out two
graduating mathematics majors,
Ryan Flynn again and Anastasia
Ford, both of whom are graduat-
ing summa cum laude, the only
two such majors this year. Ryan will
be attending Penn State gradu-
ate school in mathematics and
Anastasia will be attending UF
graduate school in cognitive neu-
roscience. Ryan wrote his honors
thesis in pure mathematics On the
Endomorphism Conjecture for Join

10 Little by Little, the newsletter of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Florida, Volume 21, Issue 1, Fall 2008

Semi-lattices in which he solved
an open problem and Anastasia
wrote in applied mathematics on
Quantitative comparison of two
algorithms for diffusion tensor data
analysis: streamline trajectory in
Riemannian framework and proba-
bilisitic tractography.
Graduate Coordinator Paul
Robinson then presented the
awards involving the graduate
program and particularly, ex-
plained that for the CLAS disserta-
tion fellowships, only 15-17 are
awarded for the entire college, so
that it is remarkable that in recent
years we have been getting two
such awards, and during the past
academic year, Ali Dashti and
Hung Nguyen received them

for Spring 2008. As usual, Paul
asked if anyone had any words of
advice for the graduate students,
and when no one else responded,
Paul again quoted from Ambrose
Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary, this
time explaining that the modern
academy is a school where football
is very important (and this quote
goes back decades!). Professor
David Drake again presented the
Chat Yin Ho Scholarship award,
this year presenting two awards to
Timothy Bonner and Yong Yang.
Chair Alladi resumed the podium
for the last part of the program,
for his final Appreciation Day after
10 years in office, expressing his
appreciation to the faculty, staff,
and students. Gretchen Gar-

rett received recognition for her
promotion to Program Assistant for
the Graduate Program. Professor
Miklos Bona was recognized for
his receipt of the Howard Hughes
Medical Institute Mentoring Award
and Professor William Hager
was recognized for his receiving
a University of Florida Research
Foundation Professorship for
2008-2011. Finally Alladi present-
ed the retirement plaques to our
spring retirees Ronnie Khuri and
Neil White, before Sandy Gagnon
and Margaret Somers presented
the retirement cake for them to
ceremonially cut. Khuri told us that
it has been a real pleasure for her
to work developing the graduate
students teaching skills, and seeing

them move on to jobs in academia.
She again spoke about how one
aspect of teaching large lecture
classes is being recognized when
one is out and about in Gaines-
ville. Alladi again remarked for
this second audience in presenting
White with his plaque, that when
Alladi became Chair 10 years ago,
he absolutely needed somebody
who would be a good Associate
Chair at the beginning of his term,
and he called upon Neil White to
accept the task, who was willing to
take it on. In reply, Neil commented
to us that in his years at UF, he had
found it to be the most congenial
and collegial department among
any he has encountered.

by Paul Ehrlich

PhD graduates Drs. Jung-Ha An,
PhD 2005, California State Univer-
sity at Stanislaus; Rebecca Smith,
PhD 2005, SUNY at Brockport; J.
Christopher Tweddle, PhD 2006,
University of Evansville; and cur-
rent graduate student Hung Ngoc
Nguyen participated in the Joint
Winter Meeting of the American
Mathematical Society, held in San
Diego during early January, 2008.
Jung-Ha An spoke in an AMS
Session on Analysis and ODE's on
Gamma-convergence Approxi-
mation to Piecewise Smooth
Medical Image Segmentation.
Smith spoke in the AMS Session
on Combinatorics on Almost
avoiding classes of permuta-
tions (also involving work with co-
author Daniel Warren, PhD 2005,
at Ohio State). Nguyen spoke in
the AMS Session on Algebra and
Group Theory on Low dimen-
sional complex representations
of odd characteristic symplectic
groups and Tweddle spoke in the
AMS Session on History of Mathe-
matics on Weierstrass's construc-
tion of the real numbers.
Dr. Hung Ngoc Nguyen,
PhD 2008, has received a post-
doctoral appointment at Michigan
State University.
Dr. Adnan Sabuwala, PhD
2008, has received an appoint-
ment to a tenure track assistant
professorship at California State

University at Fresno.
Dr. Justin Smith, PhD 2007,
is with Fannie Mae in Washington,
D.C. joining Dr. Yuri Turygin, PhD
Dr. Hong Chao Zhang, PhD
2006, has received a tenure track
assistant professorship at LSU after
his 2-year postdoctoral appoint-
ment at the Institute of Mathemat-
ics and its Applications.
Dr. Rustam Sadykov, PhD
2004, now at the Max Planck
Institute in Bonn, has received a
postdoctoral appointment at Dart-
mouth College starting Fall 2008.
Dr. Tony Shaska, PhD 2001,
reports that he is now filling two
academic roles! First, he has just
started a new job as Rector (Presi-
dent) of the University of Vlora in
Albania. This university has about
15,000 students and is starting
a PhD program this year. The
math department is quite active,
with 200 math majors every year.
There are mathematics confer-
ences organized every year at the
University of Vlora. The Shaskas
(Tony, wife Jennifer and daughters
Rachel Isabel, Adrianna Claire,
Eva Vlora, and Bessiana Kate) live
in Vlora in an apartment just a
couple of hundred yards from the
coast and thus enjoy spectacular
sunsets. Also Tony was promoted
last year to Associate Professor
with tenure at Oakland University

in Rochester, Michigan where they
still have a house and live for most
of the year.
Dr. Rick White, PhD 2001,
has been promoted to Associate
Professor in the Department of
Mathematics at Edinboro Univer-
sity of Pennsylvania.
Professor Chawne Kimber,
PhD 1999, is one of the candidates
for membership in the Nominat-
ing Committee of the American
Mathematical Society
Professor Warren McGov-
ern, PhD 1998, spent the 2007-
2008 academic year at UF, on a
faculty development grant from
Bowling Green State University,
where he is an Associate Professor.
He especially enjoyed participating
in the Frames Seminar. McGovern
also participated in the conference
"On the Conrad Legacy" spon-
sored by the Consortium for Order
in Algebra and Logic of Vanderbilt
University and UF, held during
May 5-8, 2008 at UF, speaking on
Bazzoni's Conjecture on Prufer
Adrian M. Custer, BA
1986, writes from Lake Worth,
Florida that he has been practicing
personal injury law for the past 15
years in Palm Beach County He
also reports having 3 children.
Dean of Engineering, Profes-
sor Pramod Kargonekar, MS
1980, had an eventful time during

the 2007-2008 academic year as
Chair of the Search Committee for
the new CLAS Dean.
Marian Axtmayer Ander-
son, BA 1976, writes from Port St.
Lucie that she retired after teach-
ing mathematics and computer
science in high school for 30 years
from that vocation and is now
working at TaxPro.
Dr. Terry Mills, PhD 1974,
reports that he retired as Professor
Emeritus from La Trobe University
in Australia in 2007. He and his
wife Frances have lived in Bendigo
since 1975. In recent years, Terry
has been active in applying math-
ematics and statistics to problems
in health care. Recently, he took
up a position as Senior Cancer
Data Analysts at Loddon Mallee
Integrated Cancer Service (see
Clemson University has rec-
ognized Professor John Kenelly,
PhD 1961, as their Emeritus
Professor of the Year. The award
recognizes post retirement accom-
plishments and encourages retired
faculty members to stay active
in their profession, their com-
munity and the University, Kenelly
was recognized in part for being
Treasurer of the Mathematical As-
sociation of America, having been
President of his local Hospice, and
continual service on Florida "Sun-
shine State Scholar" Program.

Little by Little, the newsletter of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Florida, Volume 21, Issue 1, Fall 2008 11


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Department of Mathematics
Little by Little Newsletter

Editor: Paul Ehrlich
Associate Editor: Frank Garvin
Contributing Editor: Krishnaswami Alladi
Design & Production: Jane Dominguez

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