Virginia Math Bulletin, March 2014

Virginia Math Bulletin, March 2014

Presenting the first issue of the Department’s newsletter: 2014 Virginia Math Bulletin.

View from the Chair

Welcome to the first number of the new Virginia Math Bulletin! It is also my first year as Chair of the Mathematics Department. It has been an exciting year for me, and I still have a lot to learn about the position. My “learning-on-the-job” experience has been made easy because of the good advice and help I have received. I want to thank all of the faculty, staff, and students who have helped me this year, and particularly former Chairs Ira Herbst, John Imbrie, Brian Parshall, and Don Ramirez, Associate Chair Mikhail Ershov, and Graduate Directors Mike Hill and Tom Mark.

There have been many upbeat moments in the Department, which you can read about in this first newsletter. Here, I would like to preview some of the major events in the Department over the next few years. The single word that best describes what is happening is “change.” Many distinguished faculty have retired or left to pursue new adventures. We will be hiring a large number of faculty over the next several years, and the type of department we become will depend greatly on the abilities and energy of the faculty we recruit. This year we welcomed two new tenure-track faculty: Andrew Obus and Ben Webster. We have recruited three new tenure-track faculty: Yen Do (coming in 2014-15), Thomas Koberda (coming in 2015-16), and Leonid Petrov (coming in 2014-15). We anticipate many more new faculty in the years to come.

Our faculty have had many successes over this last year: Mike Hill and Andrei Rapinchuk were invited to give talks at the International Congress of Mathematics (held every four years)—they will be going to Seoul this coming August; one of our new faculty, Ben Webster, received a prestigious Sloan Fellowship; David Sherman won the first campus-wide Cory Family Teaching award; and Tai Melcher received a national outstanding service award from the American Women in Mathematics. We hope to build on these success stories in the years to come.

We welcome two new administrators, Zvezdana Kish, who came in 2012-13, and replaced Julia (Fay) Miller, as well as Teresa Taft, who started in 2014 and replaced Connie Abell. I am grateful for all their help. Luckily, Julie Riddleberger is still with us. She has served the Department for many years, and her institutional memory has saved us many times!

In May, there will be an external review of the Department. A committee of four distinguished mathematicians from other universities will give their advice about our department, which will help us improve. Next fall, we will also take a serious look at our undergraduate curriculum and how we teach it. Christian Gromoll will be leading our efforts at reform.

My coming to Virginia was enabled by an extremely generous gift from Mendel Rosenblum and Diane Greene. Mendel is the son of one of the past Chairs of the Mathematics Department, Marvin Rosenblum. Above all else, I would like to contribute to growing the UVa mathematics community of scholars, students, and friends. Whether you are a past major, graduate student, postdoc, or a friend, we’d love to hear from you.

Craig Huneke

Marvin Rosenblum Professor of Mathematics

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Date published: Saturday, March 1, 2014