2009

Mathematics Graduate Student Beth Chen has again devised a formula for densely packing tetrahedra that surpasses previous results. She and her adviser, Jeffrey Lagarias, are highlighted in a recent New York Times article. Chen’s latest research is available here .

Professor of Mathematics and LSA Associate Dean Robert Megginson has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Members are chosen because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

At their annual meeting in Boston, the Society of Actuaries recognized our Actuarial and Financial Mathematics Program Director, Curtis Huntington, for his tremendous contributions to the profession by presenting him with a Presidential Award.

Daniel Forger has recently had his research on the biological clock and circadian rhythms highlighted in Science Daily and Science News.

The Mathematical Sciences Research institute has named Professor & Associate Dean Robert Megginson a lifetime member of their Human Resources Advisory Committee. The appointment recognizes meritorious service to the profession in recruiting and retaining minorities in mathematics. He is only the second person to receive such an honor.
A story in Seed Magazine looks at a solution co-authored by Joel Smoller that seeks to explain how the observable universe can be expanding without employing the controversial and mysterious concept of "dark energy."

We are sad to announce the passing of Professor Emeritus George Piranian (pdf) on August 31, 2009. A memorial service was held on October 5, 2009 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Ann Arbor.

Karen Smith has been named the new M.S. Keeler Professor in the Department of Mathematics. The Keeler Professorship was established in 1995 through a gift from Mike Keeler, a mathematics alumnus from Grand Rapids, MI.

Math Grad Student Formulates Tetrahedra Packing Breakthrough. U-M Mathematics graduate student, Elizabeth Chen, found a method of densely packing regular tetrahedra, one of the five Platonic solids, in space. Read More.(pdf)

Hyman Bass, Roger Lyndon Collegiate Professor of Mathematics Education at the School of Education and of Mathematics at the U-M College of Literature, Science and the Arts, was recently elected to the National Academy of Education. He is one of ten education leaders elected to membership this year for their pioneering efforts in educational research and policy development. The National Academy of Education is an honorary society that currently has 174 members. Members are elected on the basis of outstanding scholarship or contributions to education.

Professor Jeffrey Lagarias gave the 2009 Erdös Memorial Lecture at the March 28 Spring Central Section Meeting of the American Mathematical Society. His talk, From Apollonian circle packings to Fibonacci numbers, described results in number theory and group theory that arise from Apollonian circle packings, and contrasted some of the properties relating to the circles' curvatures with those of Fibonacci and Lucas numbers. The Erdös Memorial Lecture is an annual invited address named for the prolific mathematician Paul Erdös.

Professor Joel Smoller has received the George David Birkhoff Prize (2009). The prize is awarded jointly by AMS and SIAM once every three years for an outstanding contribution to “applied mathematics in the highest and broadest sense.” More detailed information is available at http://www.ams.org/prizes/birkhoff-prize.html