Notes from the Department Chair -- 2014

Notes from the Department Chair - 2014
Prepared by Wei-Min Huang, Chair
June, 2014

It is my pleasure to take this opportunity to report to you again and bring you up to date on the many activities and accomplishments of students and faculty in the Mathematics Department since our last annual report in 2013. Even with conservative financial policies, it has been another exciting year for the Department of Mathematics at Lehigh. Rather than simply maintain the status quo, the Mathematics Department continues to find ways to enhance both undergraduate and graduate programs. As you can see from this report faculty of the department continue to live up to the role of scholars-teachers that is characteristic of our department and Lehigh at large. I would like to thank the dedicated faculty and staff of the department for working with me closely and creating a better environment to learn mathematical sciences on campus.  We have been fortunate to have had the resources and flexibility to put many good ideas into practice. During the coming year, we are committed to establish an even better academic environment for our students and faculty.

I would like to share with you some highlights of the year.

  • Faculty Search – Applied Mathematics. This year we conducted one search for tenure-track faculty at the assistant professor level in applied mathematics.  We successfully hired Ms. Yue Yu from Brown University. Yue Yu is finishing her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics at Brown University and she will join the mathematics department in August 2014.
  • Paul Martino Endowment Fund. Paul Martino (’95) has contributed $100,000 endowment fund for Professor Don Davis' Lehigh Valley ARML math team. Paul Martino has been supporting Don's math team for many years. Professor Don Davis said he expects to continue the annual gifts to cover annual costs; the idea of the endowment is to make it more attractive to his eventual successor as coach. Mr. and Mrs. Paul Martino have also been sponsoring Lehigh University High School Math Contest for many years. Paul Martino participated in the 1992 contest for North Penn HS and graduated from Lehigh University in 1995.
  • Reidler Foundation Fund. The Mathematics Department has once again received a gift from the Reidler Foundation. The Foundation has made annual contribution to the department since 2002. The Foundation’s support has mainly been used to support junior faculty summer research.
  • Promotion and Reappointment. The Provost announced that Robert Neel and Soutir Bandyopadhyay have been reappointed as an assistant professor for their second 2-year term in the department.
  • Frank Hook Assistant Professorship.  Professor Robert Neel has been awarded the Frank Hook Assistant Professorship for the academic years 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. These professorships are made possible through the generous support of an alumnus, Ron Freeman '60, in honor of his deep admiration for Professor of English Frank Hook who instilled in him a love of learning and literature that remains to this day. These professorships are awarded to Lehigh's most outstanding junior scholar-teachers who also foster personal interaction and mentoring relationships with students.
  • Faculty Recognition. Professor Lee Stanley was recognized on April 17, 2004 at the College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Dinner for his excellent and dedicated service to the department, college, and university. Professor Rob Neel’s research work was highlighted in the spring 2014 issue of Acumen.
  • Mathematics Awards & Prizes.  Students who received 2013-2014 mathematics awards:

o Mathematics Faculty Award: Matthew A. Kilgore
o Elisha P. Wilbur Mathematics Prize: Sean T. Byrne, Elise N. Cross, Christopher J. Garman, Jeffrey S. Mara, Yanxing Yang.
o C.-C. Hsiung Award: Max Ruttenberg
o Thornburg Mathematics Prize: Gongkai (Percy) Li

  • Strohl Dissertation Fellowship.  Jamie Long has received the Strohl Dissertation Fellowship (Dissertation Support Fellowship) for the 2014-2015 Academic Year. Made possible by a generous gift from Dale S. Strohl ’58, the purpose of Dissertation Support Fellowships is to accelerate degree completion for students of particularly high potential for achievement after receiving their degrees.  The program is open to graduate students in all fields in the humanities or social sciences including theoretical mathematics who are entering the final year of writing their dissertations.   Fellowships provide up to 12 months of stipend support to enable recipients to spend 100% effort on completion of the dissertation.
  • Strohl Summer Research Fellowship Awards. For 2014 summer, Samuel Clearman has been awarded a Strohl Summer Research Fellowship for a project titled "Combinatorial quantum algebras and their applications".  Brian Klatt has also been awarded a Strohl Summer Research Fellowship for a project titled "Compact Three-dimensional Ancient Solutions to the Ricci Flow". The Strohl Summer Fellowship is funded by a generous gift from Dale S. Srohl (’58), these funds support students in summer research projects that enable them to acquire new research skills and experiences under the guidance of a faculty member. The CAS Summer Research Fellowship is awarded upon the recommendation of the department and the acknowledgement of an excellent academic record.
  • CAS Summer Research Fellowship. Mackenzie Wildman has been awarded CAS Summer Research Fellowship to continue her research during the summer of 2014.
  • Mathematics Department Summer Research Fellowship. As it was mentioned above the new comprehensive examination policy will encourage our graduate students to begin their research earlier. The department will start re-investing the incentive fund to support summer research of our graduate students.  This will function as a supplement to the university and college summer fellowship. We expect some of the first or second year best students will benefit from this research fellowship. As such, it is expected that any student receiving this fellowship will have passed the qualifying examinations by the start date of the fellowship.  William J. Franczak will be receiving the Mathematics Department Summer Research Fellowship in summer 2014. Sarah R. Charley will also be receiving a summer research support this summer. The summer research fellowship or summer research support is specifically intended to enable the recipient to devote 100% effort to research in pursuit of dissertation completion.  The Mathematics Department Summer Research Fellowship is awarded upon the recommendation of the department and the acknowledgement of an excellent academic record.
  • Students Receiving Ph.D. Degree. Two students (Alexander Daniel Halperin and Yingying Zhang) are receiving their Ph.D. degrees in May 2014. This is significant accomplishment in their life. Both of these students have served as teaching assistants in the department and have greatly contributed to our academic mission.  Alex will be teaching at the Salisbury State University, Maryland. Yingying Zhang received a 3-year research position, J.J. Sylvester Assistant Professorship, at Johns Hopkins University (starting fall 2014). Yingying's Ph.D. work is under Xiaofeng Sun and Huai-Dong Cao.
  • Roy Keller Fund for the Advancement of Mathematics. Roy Keller '85 and his wife Cathy '85 have made a gift to the department in honor of the retirement of Jerry King. I am glad to report that we have continued to use the fund to support some exciting undergraduate activities and summer research; especially the Pi-Day celebration and a newly designed math T-shirt. We will continue to put Roy's contribution to good use.
  • Matthew Mosher Fund. Matthew Mosher '86 and Tracy Mosher P'13 (Kyle) P'15 (Tyler) have made gifts to the department on September, 2012 and October, 2013.  Matthew is an actuary and was a statistics major at Lehigh. The purpose of the gifts is to support our new concentration in actuarial science under B.S. in Statistics. A new Concentration in Actuarial Science under B. S. in Statistics was established last year. There is great potential to grow in actuarial science related programs at Lehigh.
  • Special Department Activities. (1) On April 9, 2014, during Graduate Student Appreciation Week (April 7th - April 12th), the mathematics department again held a special in house “cakes and ice cream” event to celebrate the graduation of our majors and graduate students. Several students were also recognized and given department awards and prizes (the C.-C. Hsiung Mathematics Award and the Thornburg Mathematics Prize). Faculty, staff and students enjoyed the celebration very much. This event is funded by the mathematics department Gifts Fund. (2) We also revealed a newly designed math Ti-shirt during the Pi-Day celebration.
  • Everett Pitcher Lecture Series. Our distinguished lecture series, the Pitcher Lectures, was once again held this year. The Pitcher lectures are held in honor of Everett Pitcher, who served in Lehigh's Department of Mathematics from 1938 until 1978, when he retired as Distinguished Professor of Mathematics. He was secretary of the American Mathematical Society from 1967 until 1988. Nearly 30 years ago, Everett Pitcher and his wife made a significant financial contribution to the Lehigh mathematics department. As a result of their generosity we have the Everett Pitcher Professorship of Mathematics, the Everett Pitcher Mathematical Research Scholar Position, and the annual Pitcher Lectures, Lehigh's distinguished lecture series going back to 1983. This coming year’s Pitcher Lectures (during the week of September 8th), Professor Terence Tao will be the speaker. Professor Tao has been a professor of mathematics at UCLA since 1999, having completed his PhD under Elias Stein at Princeton in 1996.  Tao's areas of research include harmonic analysis, PDE, combinatorics, and number theory.  He has received a number of awards, including the Salem Prize in 2000, the Bochner Prize in 2002, the Fields Medal and SASTRA Ramanujan Prize in 2006, the MacArthur Fellowship and Ostrowski Prize in 2007, the Waterman Award in 2008, the Nemmers Prize in 2010, and the Crafoord prize in 2012.  Terence Tao also currently holds the James and Carol Collins chair in mathematics at UCLA, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Australian Academy of Sciences (Corresponding Member), the National Academy of Sciences (Foreign member), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Lecture Titles are,

Lecture 1: Bounded gaps between primes (open to the public)
Lecture 2:  Sets with few ordinary lines
Lecture 3: Finite time blowup for an averaged Navier-Stokes equation.

  • 2013-2014 Research Visitors. In consideration of our need for teaching strength and our desire to hire someone who would contribute to our research mission as well, we hired Dr. Matthew Hyatt in 2012 as research visitor. The title of his position is the C.-C. Hsiung Mathematical Research Scholar, a two-year position and supported by the C.-C. Hsiung Fund for Advancement of Mathematics. We also had several short-term research visitors mostly supported by faculty research grants and department funds. This year short-term visitors are:  Professor Pierre Calka, Universite de Rouen, France visited Joe Yukich in January 2014. Dr. Ugo Boscain, Directeur de Recherce CNRS (France), visited Rob Neel in September 2014. Other short-term visitors are Arnab Maity (visited Soutir Bandyopadhyay), Vincent Borelli (visited David Johnson), Chikako Mese (visited Xiaofeng Sun), Nevena Maric (visited Daniel Conus), Nan Li (Geometry Seminay), Jose M. Espinar (Geometry Seminar), and Lu Wang (Geometry Seminar).  Three scholars (Byungchul Cha, Chun-Lei He, and Ernani Ribeiro Jr.) will visit the department during the academic year of 2013-2014.


  • Journal of Differential Geometry.  One of the crown jewels of the department is the Journal of Differential Geometry (JDG), founded by Professor C.-C. Hsiung and published by Lehigh ever since.  JDG is one of the premier mathematics research journals.  Its visibility and reputation significantly contribute to the visibility and reputation of the Lehigh math department.  After Professor C.-C. Hsiung passed away, Professor S.-T. Yau of Harvard University became the only Editors-in-chief of JDG.  Professor Huai-Dong Cao serves as Managing Editor of JDG, and the journal is running very smoothly.  JDG is printed and distributed by International Press (IP) under contract with Lehigh.  
  • Geometry/Topology Conference.  The annual Lehigh University Geometry and Topology Conference has been sponsored by NSF since 2006 and it is jointly supported by the Journal of Differential Geometry Fund at Lehigh. Of the previous 26 conferences, 18 have been held at Lehigh, with 8 at Harvard (during 1992 the conference was not held due to a regional AMS meeting being held at Lehigh).  In September, 2014 the JDG Conference will be held at Harvard University.  The annual conference has been supported by NSF grants. Professors Cao, Davis, Johnson, and Szczepanski have been involved in obtaining the NSF conference grants. During 2006-2013 the conference was supported by NSF grant. Each of these conferences provided opportunities for both formal and informal sharing and discussion of current results in mathematics. A special effort was made to encourage attendance by graduate students and recent Ph.D.’s interested in geometry and topology. In May 2013 NSF awarded a new grant for support of the project entitled "Lehigh-Harvard Geometry and Topology Conference," and will be under the direction of Huai-Dong Cao, Donald Davis, and David Johnson. This award is effective May 1, 2013 and expires April 30, 2016.