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News from the Mathematics Department

Message from the Chair

Aug. 26, 2009

I cannot remember being more excited than I am now in anticipation of the start of this academic year! We have so many exciting events planned for our students and faculty this year that I can hardly wait for the new fall semester to begin!

In early September, in consecutive weeks, we will host speakers in both of our annual lecture series. First up is Professor Brian Conrey, the Director of the American Institute of Mathematics and an expert on the Riemann Hypothesis, who will speak in our second annual Baylor Undergraduate Lecture Series in Mathematics. A few years ago, I heard Brian speak in San Diego and it was then that I knew he would make a terrific speaker in our newest lecture series, aimed at our undergraduate majors and graduate students. Brian is well known for his activities in outreach programs to high school students who are interested in mathematics. Shortly after Brian leaves campus, Professor Sir Michael Berry arrives to speak to us in our third annual Baylor Lecture Series in Mathematics. Sir Michael is a multi-honored physicist/mathematician from the University of Bristol (U.K.) who has agreed to treat us to three lectures while he is with us.

In late October, the Department will host Dr. Edward Burger, Professor of Mathematics at Williams College, who is a finalist for the Robert Cherry Award for Great Teaching at Baylor University. Ed is a well-known and popular figure in mathematics and a very gifted lecturer. It would be terrific to have Ed join our department for a semester; one of my goals as Chair is to significantly increase the number of mathematics majors we have and Ed has had terrific success in doing this at Williams College.

In April 2010, Professor George Andrews, current President of the American Mathematical Society, will be the speaker in the fourth annual Baylor Lecture Series in Mathematics. Dr. Andrews is the world's leading authority on the life and work of the late Indian genius, Srinivasa Ramanujan; the title of George's lecture will be "Ramanujan and His Amazing Lost Notebook".

From October 16-18, Baylor will host a regional meeting of the American Mathematical Society, a 'first' for our university. The meeting will be held in the Baylor Sciences Building. I have a strong feeling that the conference participants - and we expect more than 200 mathematicians - will be impressed with the venue site; the BSB is one of the most spectacular buildings I have ever seen on any of the more than 80 campuses I have visited throughout the world.

And speaking of spectacular facilities, mathematics at Baylor is fortunate to have a recently remodeled Sid Richardson department thanks to our administration. And more good changes are in the works - thanks to some very generous alumni. I will keep everybody updated on some very exciting news that we will break sometime in the fall on this front!!

As we start a new academic year, I would like to welcome five new members to our "family". Dr. Leonardo Mihalcea is a new Assistant Professor in our department. Leonardo, a native of Romania, just finished a three-year post doctoral position at Duke University after receiving his Ph.D. degree from the University of Michigan and visiting at Florida State University. His area of research is algebraic geometry. Dr. Guglielmo Fucci is a new post doctoral visiting professor in our department. Guglielmo, from Naples, Italy, works in mathematical physics. He comes to us from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. The department is also very pleased to have Jill Nichols (and her husband Curt, a new faculty member in the Department of Political Science), on board as a part-time lecturer. Jill finished her M.S. in Mathematics last spring at Texas A&M University. For the fall semester, we also hired one of former graduate students, Brittany Noble, to teach two classes for us. And, last but certainly not least, we have successfully wooed Professor Eugene Tidmore out of retirement to teach a calculus class for us this fall semester.

I would like to extend an open invitation to all of our mathematics alumni to come by the Department whenever you are in the 'neighborhood'. One of the best parts of my job is meeting our alumni and I would like to get to know all of you!

Best wishes,

Lance Littlejohn