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Math Department News in Brief: 2016-17

July 12, 2017

This article appeared in the Fall 2016-Spring 2017 Bryn Mawr Math Alumnae Newsletter.

•    The College community came together for a viewing of Hidden Figures at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute. Tickets were paid for by a grant from the Center for Science of Information awarded to Computer Science Professor Deepak Kumar.

•    Assistant Professor Djordje Milićević (Bryn Mawr) and Visiting Assistant Professor Heidi Goodson (Haverford) received a Tri-Co Faculty Forum Seed grant for the weekly Philadelphia Area Number Theory Seminar, which brought nationally recognized researchers to Bryn Mawr to present to an audience of area number theorists, graduate, and undergraduate students.

•    Professors Paul Melvin and Lisa Traynor are among the co-organizers of the monthly PATCH (Philadelphia Area Topology: Contact and Hyperbolic) Seminar. The seminar rotates between Temple, Penn, and the Bi-Co. In September, the seminar met at Bryn Mawr with Roger Casals (MIT) and Jason Deblois (Univ. of Pittsburgh) as speakers; in March the seminar met at Haverford with David Treumann (Boston College and IAS, Princeton) and Anastasiia Tsvietkova (Rutgers University) as speakers. The PATCH seminar has become well known across the country.

•    Math Ph.D. student Ziva Myer successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation titled “A Product Structure on Generating Family Cohomology for Legendrian Submanifolds.” She will be starting a post-doc at Duke University in the fall.

•    Math Ph.D. student Frank Romascavage successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation titled “Explicit Formula for the Mean Square of Dirichlet L-Functions to Prime Power Moduli.” Frank is currently working creating math problems for an online learning platform.

•    Professor Paul Melvin was a visiting scholar at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton during his sabbatical in the Fall 2016 semester.

•    Professor Lisa Traynor and Orsola Capovilla-Searle ’15 (now a math graduate student at Duke University) recently published a paper titled “Nonorientable Lagrangian cobordisms between Legendrian knots” in the Pacific Journal of Mathematics.

•    Research Associate Walter Stromquist is a co-author of the paper “Catch-Up: A Rule that Makes Service Sports More Competitive.” The article proposes an alternative rule for “service sports” (tennis, volleyball, handball, etc.). In most such sports, whoever wins a point serves to the next one. According to the “catch-up” rule, whoever loses a point serves to the next one. One surprising result in the paper is that (under very general assumptions) the change in rule does not affect the probability that the first server wins a match.

•    Math major Jill Li ’18 created and maintains the Bryn Mawr College Mathematics Department Facebook page.

•    Math Ph.D. student Danielle Smiley attended harmonic analysis workshops at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in January 2017.

•    Helen Moore, a nationally distinguished applied mathematician and associate director in quantitative clinical pharmacology at Bristol-Myers Squibb, gave a keynote Math Appreciation Week talk titled “Mathematical Optimization of Combination Therapy,” in which she presented real-world uses of control theory and systems of differential equations to optimize combinations of therapies and identify potential drug targets and toxicity.

•    Bryn Mawr math major alumnae Aparajita (Opu) Bhattacharyya ’12, Abigail (Abby) Kay ’92/M.A. ’94, Michelle Lawson ’92, Samantha Lopez ’13, and Janita Patwardhan ’14 returned to the Bryn Mawr Math Department for a career panel discussion during Math Appreciation Week. Opu is currently an M.B.A. candidate at The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania, Abby is a physician and assistant professor at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Michelle is a sustainability and change management leader in Pennsylvania, Samantha is a mathematics and entrepreneurship teacher at Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia Charter School, while Janita is a graduate student in applied math at University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

•    The “Great Samannahs” (also known as math Ph.D. students Samantha Pezzimenti and Hannah Schwartz) presented a spectacular array of mathematical magic tricks at an event for Math Appreciation Week.

•    Math Ph.D. students Danielle Smiley and Samantha Pezzimenti attended the EPaDel conference in Kutztown. Sam gave a talk entitled “Knot Polynomials and the Information they Encode.”

•    Math Ph.D. students Samantha Pezzimenti and Hannah Schwartz gave talks at the Graduate Student Geometry and Topology Conference at Michigan State University.

•    Julia Lin ’17 won the Senior Hoop Race at May Day. This is the second year in a row that a math major has won the Hoop Race.

•    Kara Breeden ’18, co-president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, is organizing a speakers’ series combining sports and academics in different departments (e.g., history, mathematics, and sociology) for the 2017-18 academic year.

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