# 2024 Mathematics Newsletter

**Message from the Chair
Department Spotlights
Department Kudos
Alumni Class Notes**

## Message from the Chair

Greetings to all of our alumni from the George Washington University Department of Mathematics!

I am delighted to share updates that highlight some recent achievements within our community. Inside this newsletter, you’ll discover news from our alumni, breakthrough research from our faculty and summaries of key departmental events, including several conferences. We would love to hear what you have been up to. Visit us on the 7th floor of Phillips Hall and see old friends, attend a seminar or colloquium. Or contact us by email.

Many activities were hosted in 2023-24. The long-running Knots in Washington continued, meeting twice in 2023. The GW Student Chapter of SIAM hosted the 5th Annual Conference on Applied Mathematics. This year’s theme was “Emerging Trends in Data Science and Deep Learning.” The 2024 Pi Mu Epsilon Talk, “The Joy of Set,” was delivered by Gary Gordon and Liz McMahon of Lafayette College. To get attendees accustomed to the rules of SET, the GW Chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) hosted a SET Game Night. The GW AWM also hosted the presentation: “What mathematicians do in the world of survey research?” by alumna Dr. **Leah Marshall**, PhD ’15, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Dr. Marshall’s talk was followed by a panel discussion on “The Experiences of Women in Math.”

We are very proud of the students we graduate and all the good things they do after they leave GW. We look forward to hearing from them and visiting with them when they return to Foggy Bottom.

Sincerely,

**Frank Baginski**

Professor of Mathematics and Department Chair

## Department Spotlights** **

### Our Colleagues Robinson and Gupta Retiring

Two of two colleagues are retiring this academic year after long and successful careers at GW: Professors **Robbie Robinson** and **Murli Gupta**.

Professor E. Arthur (Robbie) Robinson retired from the Math Department at the end of December. He earned a BS from Tufts University, and an MS and PhD from the University of Maryland, all in mathematics. He had postdoctoral positions at MSRI in Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania, and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University.

Professor Robinson’s research is mostly in the area of “ergodic theory and dynamical systems,” especially its application to number theory and the theory of aperiodic tilings (see the Penrose tiling mural that hangs across from the math office in Phillips Hall). Professor Robinson authored or co-authored 34 referred research papers and gave over 100 invited talks and lectures in 14 states and 12 countries.

During his 37 years at GW, Professor Robinson taught 42 different course titles, was department chair twice (for a total of 4 1/2 years) and supervised nine PhD dissertations. Some of his other adventures include working on the development of a mathematics exhibit at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, co-directing the Summer Program for Women in Mathematics (with Professor Gupta) and developing the Math and Politics course and its textbook (with Professor **Dan Ullman**). Professor Robinson hopes to stay engaged with the Math Department and its students as a professor emeritus.

Professor Murli M. Gupta is retiring after working at GW for 46 years. He gave a colloquium talk on April 19 entitled “My 50+ years journey from numerical analysis to computational fluid dynamics” in which he talked about how he started off in numerical analysis with deep interest in the accuracy of numerical solutions of partial differential equations with interest in applications to the Navier-Stokes equations that represent fluid flow phenomena.

His journey started with elliptic differential equations in two dimensions and then expanded to the biharmonic equation and linearized versions of Navier- Stokes equations. He learned to compute on the old computing systems that required punched card input, and progressed to more modern systems including a foray into GPU computing. Eventually, he was able to solve a variety of time-dependent problems and compare the numerical solutions with experimental and physical data.

### Bronze Medal in the Calculus Olympiad

Undergraduate students **Karolina Koletic**, **Megan DeLorenzo** and **Andrea DeLisa** won a team bronze medal in the Calculus Olympiad organized by George Mason University in April.

Karolina is an economics and data science major in Professor **Xiaofeng Ren**’s multivariable calculus class. Andrea and Megan are math majors. All three are members of the Association of Women in Mathematics.

## Department Kudos

This year’s Pi Mu Epsilon talk and induction of new members was held in April. Gary Gordon and Liz McMahon of Lafayette College gave a very interesting and entertaining talk titled “The Joy of SET: Mathematics in a Card Game.” Four new Pi Mu Epsilon members were inducted: **Ethan Collins**, **Megan DeLorenzo**, **Andrea DeLisa** and **Emma Klinge**.

**Sharon Roosevelt** was hired as a teaching assistant professor of mathematics. She earned a PhD in physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a MS in applied mathematics from Northwestern University.

The department established a new undergraduate learning assistant program that places at-risk students in Math 1220/1221 (the two semester Calculus 1 sequence) into supplemental discussion sections aimed at strengthening weak mathematical background skills.

Three GW undergraduates participated in the 84th William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition in December 2023. Nationwide there were 3,857 participants from 471 institutions across the United States and Canada. Professor **Daniel Ullman** is the director of the competition.

Professor **Hugo Junghenn** received the Gold Anniversary Faculty Award for completing 50+ years of continuous full-time service at the GW Annual Faculty Honors Ceremony in April.

Professor **Joseph Bonin** received the Morton A. Bender Teaching Award at the Annual Faculty Honors Ceremony. He was also awarded the 2019 Trachtenberg Teaching Award and the 2023 Distinguished Assignment Design Award from the University Writing Program.

Professor **Valentina Harizanov** received the Cynthia Deitch Faculty Trailblazer Award and was featured in *CCAS Spotlight*. She was previously awarded the 2016 Trachtenberg Prize for Research and the 2020 George Washington Award. Along with colleagues at Ohio State University, University of Pennsylvania, and East Carolina University, she also received a grant from Hausdorff Institute of Mathematics in Bonn, Germany, to organize a trimester program on Definability, Decidability, and Computability in fall 2025.

Professor **Jozef Przytycki** organized another Knots in Washington three-day fall conference, in December, dedicated to the memory of Rick Litherland. The spring conference took place in April.

The GW Student Chapter of SIAM held the 5th Annual Conference on Applied Mathematics: Emerging Trends in Data Science and Deep Learning in April.

Professor **Robert Won** wrote the “I’ll Hazard a Guess” Thursday crossword puzzle for *The Wall Street Journal*.

Professor **Joel Lewis**, along with colleagues at Virginia Commonwealth University and Baruch College, was awarded a NSF grant to host the MAAGC (Mid-Atlantic Algebra, Geometry, and Combinatorics) workshop at GW in fall 2024.

Professors **Harizanov**, **Przytycki** and **Max Alekseyev** organized the University Seminar Computability, Complexity and Algebraic Structure (funded by OVPR), which featured a variety of talks by GW and Washington-area speakers as well as outside research visitors such as Rumen Dimitrov (Western Illinois University), Ivan Dynnikov (Moscow State University) and Martin Scharlemann (University of California, Santa Barbara). It also featured our alumna **Rhea Palak Bakshi**, MA ’18, PhD ’21, (ETH Zurich) who gave a Distinguished Speculative First of April Talk on “Speculations in skein theory.”

Professor **Przytycki** and his former students **Rhea Palak Bakshi**, **Dionne Ibarra**, **Gabriel Montoya-Vega** and **Deborah Weeks** published the book *Lectures in Knot Theory. An Exploration of Contemporary Topics* (Springer, 2024).

At the Eastern Sectional Meeting of the AMS held at Howard University in April, four two-day special sessions were co-organized by Professors **Lewis**, **Harizanov**, **Won **and **Przytycki**, and PhD students **Henry Klatt**, **Philip White** and **Keshav Srinivasan**.

At the Joint Math Meetings in San Francisco in January, Professor **Harizanov**, along with colleagues from Southern Illinois University and East Carolina University, organized an AMS Special Session on Computable Mathematics in memory of Martin D. Davis, a prominent mathematician and computer scientist and one of four researchers who solved Hilbert’s Tenth Problem. Martin Davis gave a colloquium at GW in 2007.

The 2024 Taylor Prize for an outstanding graduate student of mathematics, displaying excellence in graduate research and overall accomplishments, was awarded to **Philip White** and **Conglong Xu**.

The 2024 Marvin Green Prize for an outstanding graduate or undergraduate student who has made significant use of computing in his or her work, was awarded to undergraduate **Tim Neumann** and graduate student **Wangbo Luo**.

The 2024 Ruggles Undergraduate Mathematics Prize was awarded to **Paul Bianco** and **Emma Klinge**.

Four GW alumni were named to *Forbes *“30 Under 30” lists of exceptional young professionals for 2024, including math alumnus **Atticus Francken**, BS ’16.

The GW Chapter for Women in Mathematics organized a special event in April, starting with a lecture “What Mathematicians Do in the World of Survey Research” by alumna Dr. **Leah Marshall**, PhD ’15, from the USDA. The lecture was followed by panel discussion about the experiences and challenges for women and minorities working in math. The President of GW AWM student chapter is **Andrea DeLisa**, a mathematics and economics major with a minor in data science.

## Alumni Class Notes

**Kevin Doherty**, MA ’17, is getting his PhD in applied mathematics in July and will be returning to D.C. to work for the government.**Samuel Farber**, BA ’06, is the radio play-by-play broadcaster for the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.**Hyeeun Jang**, PhD ’21, is an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at Abilene Christian University. She works on dynamical systems.**Stephanie Joshi**, BA ’94, after 20 years in telecom network engineering, is a mother of two and has found her way to Microsoft, helping to transform federal customers to cloud solutions and Artificial Intel. Her recent EMBA project was selected for Quantic’s Supermoon competition!**Yujing Ke**, BS ’17, is a tools and automation engineer at Apple.**Qianqi Ma**, BA ’22, is completing a Master of Arts in International Relations degree and will go to law school for a Juris Doctor program this fall.**Michael McDaniel**, PhD ’77, and his student Josh Wierenga published the article “Geometry goes viral” in the October 2023*Mathematics Magazine*. They write about the biochemical ideas reflected in the elliptic model of an icosahedral viral capsid.**Annika Miller**, PhD ’95, taught mathematics and computer science at Susquehanna University 2000-2017, before moving into industry as a software engineer in 2018. She is now an engineering manager at Raybeam/DEPT, managing projects at Google and Salesforce.**Jiayuan Wang**, PhD ’22, is finishing her postdoc at Lehigh University and will continue at Lehigh as a teaching assistant professor.