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Department of Mathematics & Computer Science Newsletter · Santa Clara University · 1999
What has happened here since you last received a departmental newsletter? I suppose the most obvious change has been in the size of the departmental faculty. We will have 25 people teaching in the Department this fall. When I joined the faculty at Santa Clara, I became the fifth member of the Department. To find out when that happened, you'll have to consult the University Bulletin. I'm sure this raises the question in the minds of some alumni, "Hasn't he retired yet?" The answer is "No, not yet!" I'm still around.
As you will see in the paragraphs below, the Department remains very active. The faculty are involved widely in professional activities. Students are doing internships and practica in industry, at the same time participating in the Math Society activities, the student chapter of the MAA, and Pi Mu Epsilon. The excellent PME tutoring program continues. This past June we had 18 students graduate with degrees in mathematics and 14 in computer science. That balance will probably tip in favor of computer science within a year or two if present trends continue.
Those who have supported the Department through contributions to the Pennello Fund (and contributions are always welcome and needed) will be pleased to know that the funds are being put to good use in supporting joint work of students and faculty. Below you will find a short report of undergraduate research activities this summer.
Santa Clara mathematics seems still to run in families. The winner of the Freshman Mathematics Prize this spring was Dan Cavagnaro, a mathematics major and son of Cathy Switzer Cavagnaro, a mathematics major of the class of '71. As further evidence, Steve Hellenthal '72 and his wife Mary McPeak Hellenthal '72 were here from Montana in June to see their son, Nick, also a mathematics major, graduate. A younger son, Garrett, is a current junior mathematics major. And at the Pi Mu Epsilon banquet this year Dan White '71 and his wife Sue Cassel White '69 were there with their daughter Jennifer '92, all mathematics majors at Santa Clara. Jennifer's twin brother, Jeffrey '92, also a mathematics major, was unable to attend.
This past year one of our alumni, Paul Lilly of the class of '72, generously set up an endowment that will support a full four-year scholarship for a computer science or mathematics major. Paul is a co-founder of McData Corporation in Broomfield, Colorado. All of us here in the Department are very grateful to Paul for making it possible for some really outstanding students to attend the University.
On a personal note, I should say that as of last January, I am no longer president of the Mathematical Association of America, only the past president. I had been told that since past presidents are really nobodies, I could look forward to lots of free time and few telephone calls. That has turned out not to be the case. I have fewer duties with the MAA, but I have taken on other tasks with the MAA and with Phi Beta Kappa so it all balances out. I spent this summer getting one book back into print and another book manuscript off to the production people. So in spite of what you may hear, I'm still getting around and am still getting a few things done.
We had an opportunity this past year to visit with some of you, either in visits to the Department, or at our receptions connected with class reunions. We'll look forward to seeing others this coming year. If you're going to be on campus, stop by to see us; and if you have a reunion coming up, be sure to come to the departmental reception.
You can keep up to some extent on what's happening in the Department by checking www.scu.edu/math.
G. L. Alexanderson, Chair
This summer Erin Czech and Brian Sittinger participated in a research internship with Glenn Appleby supported by contributions to the Pennello Fund. Their research grew out of course work in abstract algebra they received earlier in the year. This summer they have developed algorithms that apply Gröbner basis techniques to algebraic number theory. Many of their programs have been implemented in Maple.
Our Department joined with our counterpart at San Jose State in sponsoring this series of monthly talks by outstanding mathematicians aimed at bright high school students as well as the general public. The talks have been well-attended by a diverse audience ranging from junior high students to research mathematicians. Two outstanding talks on our campus were "Juggling Permutations of the Integers" (illustrated by actual juggling) by Ron Graham of AT&T Labs, and "Right Triangles and Elliptic Curves" by Karl Rubin of Stanford. In the latter Professor Rubin, a key player in the Wiles proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, started with the following simple question: Given a positive integer d, is there a right triangle with rational sides whose area is d? The first four answers in the affirmative, for d equal to 5, 6 (the 3-4-5 right triangle), 7 and 41 were not too surprising. But the audience let out a collective gasp when a right triangle for the next case, d = 157, was displayed. The hypotenuse of this triangle is a fraction whose numerator has 48 digits and denominator has 46 digits! The overall problem is by no means completely solved yet.
The Department's Single Subject Preparation Program for prospective high school mathematics teachers, was accepted by the State Commission on Teacher Credentialing and is in full swing. The Program had its first group of students complete the program last year. This program, coordinated by Glenn Appleby, satisfies the subject matter competency component for the single subject teaching credential in mathematics for the State of California.
The departmental colloquium series had an excellent lineup for the 1998-99 academic year. The talks ranged from recreation (Brad Jackson of San Jose State demonstrated how best to pile up cards over the edge of a table without their falling) to history (Robin Wilson of the Open University in England told us of G. H. Hardy's affinity for cricket) to woodworking (Hidefumi Kat-suura of San Jose State impressed us with his collection of "burr" puzzles, handcrafted from an assortment of exotic hardwoods) and, of course, to research. Among the many good research talks, Craig Evans of UC Berkeley discussed energy minimizing functions in the calculus of variations, and Steve Gonek of the University of Rochester explained how probability is currently being used in number theory to estimate the numbers of twin primes, Fermat primes, and Mersenne primes.
With support from a Bechtel Foundation grant, from grants approved by the University's Technology Steering Committee, and from funds from the Dean's Office, the Department has upgraded the computer facilities available for students (and faculty) in O'Connor. In January 1998, the computers in the computer room were replaced with Pentiums and in August 1998 an HP Unix server was installed so computer courses are now taught using this new server. In August 1999 a second computer lab was opened adjacent to the existing lab; this includes a scanner accessible to everyone.
With the increase in popularity of the Department's introductory programming course, and the introduction of a new course in computing for non-majors (satisfying the University's technology requirement), the demand for computers had increased significantly over the last year. The availability of 16 stations for students' use should relieve the pressure for now.
The Department also obtained a campus-wide site license for Maple which some faculty have used in Calculus and other courses. Classrooms on the second floor of O'Connor now have network connections. The proposed renovation of the first floor will add network connections to those classrooms as well.
The next challenge (for faculty) is to make use of the hardware and software now available to the Department.
Dennis C. Smolarski, S.J.
The Department offers a program of lectures for local high school students on their own campuses. This past year eight members of the Department offered interesting talks on subjects ranging from "How do we know the earth is not a donut?" to "Seeing and hearing chaos". Fourteen visits were made. Peter Hilton and I were visiting the University of New England in NSW, Australia, and the faculty there expressed a great interest in initiating such a program there. So, we made some visits to local high schools, with faculty from UNE sitting in to see how we do it. The comments from the faculty at UNE on seeing our brochure was that "you must have a fantastic department".
Jean J. Pedersen
Glenn heard two pieces of good news this past year: in April he received tenure and was promoted to associate professor. And last fall he and his wife Betty moved into their very own house in the Saratoga area. Getting tenure and buying a house right here in Silicon Valley--a year probably doesn't get much better than that. This summer he attended conferences on algebra and combinatorics in Coimbra and Barcelona.
José and his wife Erika enjoyed a great trip to Paris at the beginning of the summer--one of a series of recent trips to European centers over the last few years. They came home from Paris to make plans for the wedding of their daughter, Lilian, who in August married a former classmate from Missouri at Columbia, who is now an assistant professor at Pace University in Manhattan.
Bob spends all his vacation time in short trips climbing, cross-country skiing, whatever, in the Sierras. When he's not doing that and carrying out many responsibilities here, he's working on that wonderful house he and Linda have in Kensington, looking out over the Golden Gate. The envy of us all. Bob headed up our search committee for new faculty this past year.
After what sounded like a great trip to Rome and Sicily with her husband, Frank, in the early part of the summer, Monika settled down to teaching summer school in the latter half. She is finding her services as a translator of mathematical German increasingly in demand.
With slowly declining health and being no longer able to drive, Karel decided to give up his house in Los Gatos and move back to The Netherlands, where he'll be closer to family and to members of his religious order. He's now residing in a senior residence in Nijmegan. We'll miss him, even though in recent years his visits to the Department had become more and more infrequent over time.
Frank's big news is that he has been chosen Editor-elect of Mathematics Magazine by the Mathematical Association of America, to succeed Paul Zorn of St. Olaf College. He will start reviewing manuscripts this coming January with his first issue as Editor to appear in January 2001. It's a five-year term. Mathematics Magazine is one of the three official journals of the MAA, two of which have previously been edited by members of the faculty at Santa Clara.
Paul and his wife, Virginia, have moved to a retirement community in Los Gatos. Though Paul is not teaching now, he still comes to the office quite regularly and joins us for our well-known Departmental lunches at the Adobe Lodge. He will be awarded a major prize at the national mathematical meetings in January in Washington, DC, but it's a secret so that's all one can say about it at the moment.
The high point of Leonard's year may have been the MAA Northern California Section meeting in February where he received the Section's Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics. He was also elected Vice-Chair of the Section--to become Chair next year. He still runs the local high school contest and directs the Putnam Competition. This summer he enjoyed an exciting trip to the Galapagos Islands (and other parts of Ecuador).
Dan has an NSF-RUI grant for 1997-2000 on "Discontinuous Data and Media in Physical Phenomena Modeled by Hamilton-Jacobi Equations and Conservation Laws." This past spring quarter he was on junior sabbatical leave at New York University, working on determining better approximations for pricing the American Put Stock Derivatives. Upon his return he has claimed that during his whole time in New York he eschewed all temptations to spend his sabbatical at the theatre, at nightspots, at great restaurants, at museums, at fashionable record outlets. He claims to have worked the whole time.
After a summer of lecturing in Germany, Belgium and Australia, Jean will be starting a sequel to her recent book with Peter Hilton (SUNY Binghamton) and Derek Holton (Dunedin, New Zealand), Mathematical Reflections--In a Room with Many Mirrors. In January she was one of six principal invited MAA speakers at the national AMS-MAA meetings in San Antonio; the content of the talk was later published in the College Mathematics Journal. Jean administers the University's independent studies program.
Laurie has been teaching summer school--she seldom finds herself outside the classroom these days--but somehow she is finding time to work with Nedra Shunk in getting the course on women in mathematics and science back in the Time Schedule after the departure of Alice Kelly, who had consistently taught that course for Women's Studies.
Peter toured Nova Scotia by bicycle and sea kayak (not simultaneously) before attending the 1999 Mathfest in Providence. In the last year he attended two very stimulating MAA minicourses, on Wavelets and the Curves and Surfaces of the Digital Age, both taught from an algebraist's perspective (which he says he could understand). He also helped administer BAMA.
Ed Schaefer received a 2-year grant from the National Security Agency entitled "Mordell Weil groups of the Jacobians of modular curves." During the summer of 1998 he consulted on cryptography at RSA Data Security. On sabbatical, he spent the spring at the Rijk-suniversiteit Leiden in The Netherlands and gave 19 (!) talks in Sweden, Germany, England, and The Netherlands, in both mathematics and computer science departments.
In August 1998 Rick attended the International Congress of Mathematicians in Berlin, then spent two weeks in Poland sightseeing and working on a paper with a collaborator. In his spare time, when not doing his research, he has been designing and building furniture (ever optimistic that one day he and his wife, Norine, will be able to afford a house to put it in).
As we put this newsletter together, Bin is attending the International Colloquium on Differential Equations in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Fortunately, before Bulgaria he and his wife spent some much needed relaxation time in Hawaii.
Nedra has been President of the Santa Clara Valley Mathematics Association this past year. And she is the Department's coordinator with the Valdes Project which brings several hundred middle school students to campus each summer to take mathematics classes. Recently she has been working with Laurie Poe to get ready to offer the course Women in Mathematics and Science, previously taught by Alice Kelly.
Committee appointments attach themselves to Dennis like a magnet. This past year he was on the College Rank and Tenure Committee and the Committee that is rewriting the Faculty Handbook, among many others. As usual he spent his summer working on research at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. As this is being written he's lying on the beach in the Bahamas, getting some well-deserved rest.
Byron was promoted to Assistant Professor this fall. During the past year he traveled to Ireland for a conference on quasiconformal analysis, and to Dayton, Ohio, for a minicourse on object-oriented programming. He is continuing to neglect writing his long-awaited first novel while he pursues his research on harmonic measure distributions and discrete dynamical systems.
Tamsen was back on campus after spending some time at home when her daughter, Nora Grace, was born. Nora, now not so little, is perhaps the most popular member of our Department, but we don't see much of her these days since she prefers the company of her peers in day care. Tamsen and Jim have another addition to the family, Neal Alan, so Tamsen will be on leave in 1999-2000. She and Glenn continue their joint research efforts.
Clark joins us after completing his doctorate in algebraic topology from Stanford where he worked with Gunnar Carlsson. Originally from Texas, he did his undergraduate work at Rice. He will be popular among certain members of the faculty; he brews beer.
Father Carchidi, on the faculty of Stonehill College in Massachusetts, is spending a sabbatical leave with us and will be teaching part-time. When he's not on campus this year he's living on a real cattle ranch near Hollister!
Owner of a mathematically precocious dog, Prima, Ricky joins the faculty this fall. (We're aware that Prima requires an explanation, but you'll just have to visit the campus to find out.) He is a recent Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in topology.
Mary, a member of the Santa Clara class of '87, rejoins the Department after a year in industry (which may have seemed like more than a year). Mary taught in the Department between 1994 and 1998.
Lauri has been teaching at the College of San Mateo and the College of Notre Dame. She will be joining us full-time this fall. With background at AT&T, she will be teaching the technology core course in computers, among other things.
Shaw, of the class of '97 at Santa Clara, returns after completing a master's degree in Scientific Computing and Computational Mathematics from Stanford. He'll be teaching and also tending the computer labs and the departmental server, no minor task. Shaw's first degree was in music from the Eastman School.
Steve has left the department but he didn't go far. He is joining the Department of Applied Mathematics in the School of Engineering. There he'll be teaching complex analysis, probability and statistics, and numerical analysis. He assures us he'll still be joining us for lunch (sometimes).
Jerry has decided to move to Petaluma and take a break from teaching. We are sorry to see him go since he brought some valuable experience to us in the area of actuarial mathematics. But he decided to move north--where the insurance companies are?
Alice has joined the staff of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado. She works in the financial end of the operation and reports that she's enjoying life out there in the real world (though, surrounded by researchers, she still doesn't feel too far from academe). She says she misses the teaching but doesn't miss the grading at all.
Mike and his wife, Eleanor, are still living in a retirement community in Santa Cruz and doing well. Eleanor had a fall this past year, but she has recovered nicely.
Mike is now chair of the Department of Mathematics at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.
Evan recently visited the department with his wife Alexis (the pianist) and their daughter Oriana, who plays the cello. He's still teaching at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.
Fred is teaching at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. He's married now and has one daughter.
Retired from the University of New Mexico and living with his wife in a retirement community in Albuquerque, Abe still manages to make up several high school contests every year, including now the contest given by the Department here for students in the Bay Area.
Roger left Santa Clara to join the faculty of The Johns Hopkins University, where he remained as chair for a number of years, till he moved to the University of Utah. He is currently Editor of The American Mathematical Monthly.
David has retired from the University of California, Davis, where he was chair for a number of years. He and his wife Alba spend a good deal of time traveling in Europe.
We see Dale regularly at national meetings since he's very active on some key MAA committees. He is still teaching at the University of Akron and attending international conferences regularly. Karla works as an assistant to the President of the University.
Appleby, Glenn, An efficient algorithm to compute matrix decompositions for the adjoint action of nilpotent matrices, Exposition. Math. 17 (1999), 75-86.
Appleby, Glenn, with Peter Hilton and Jean Pedersen, A note on special numerals in arbitrary bases, Crux Math. 24 (1998), 210-214.
Appleby, Glenn, Similarity classes for nilpotent operators over Dedekind domains, Linear Algebra Appl. 274 (1998), 37-59.
Appleby, Glenn, A simple approach to matrix realizations for Littlewood-Richardson sequences, Linear Algebra Appl. 291 (1999), 1-14.
Barría, José, On Hankel operators not in the Toeplitz algebra, Proc. Amer. Math. Soc. 124 (1996), 123-124.
Farris, Frank, with Thomas Russell, Integrability, Gorman systems, and the Lie bracket structure of the real line, J. Math. Econom. 29 (1998), 183-209.
Farris, Frank, Review of Visual Complex Analysis, by Tristan Needham. Amer. Math. Monthly 105 (1998), 570-576.
Farris, Frank, Vibrating Wallpaper, Comm. Visual Math. 1 (1998). (Electronic journal).
Farris, Frank, with Nils Kristian Rossing, Woven rope friezes, Math. Mag. 72 (1999), 32-38.
Halmos, Paul R, with Steven Givant, Logic as Algebra, Washington, DC, Math. Assn. of America, 1998.
Klosinski, L. F., with G. L. Alexanderson and L. C. Larson, The Fifty-Eighth William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, Amer. Math. Monthly 105 (1998), 744-755.
Ostrov, Daniel N., Boundary conditions and fast algorithms for surface reconstructions from synthetic aperture radar data, IEEE Trans. Geoscience and Remote Sensing 37 (1999), 335-346.
Ostrov, Daniel N., Unique solutions to discontinuous Hamilton-Jacobi equations in shape-from-shading, Internat. Series of Num. Math. 130 (1999), 767-772.
Ostrov, Daniel N., Viscosity solutions and convergence of monotone schemes for synthetic aperture radar shape-from-shading equations with discontinuous intensities, SIAM J. Appl. Math. 59 (1999), 2060-2085.
Pedersen, Jean, with Peter Hilton and Hans Walser, Greeting cards and fractals, Math. Gazette, July 1997, 252-262.
Pedersen, Jean, with Peter Hilton, On the quasi-order theorem, Panamer. Math. J. 8 (1998), 97-105.
Pedersen, Jean, with G. L. Alexanderson, Review of "invertible models", Amer. Math. Monthly 105 (1998), 186-192.
Pedersen, Jean, Seeing the idea, Math. Intelligencer 20 (1998), 6.
Schaefer, Edward R., with Z. Djabri and N. Smart, Computing a p-Selmer group of an elliptic curve, Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. (to appear).
Schaefer, Edward F., Computing a Selmer group of a Jacobian using functions on the curve, Math. Ann. 310 (1998), 447-471.
Schaefer, Edward F., with B. Poonen, Explicit descent for Jacobians of cyclic covers of the projective line, J. Reine Angew. Math. 488 (1997), 141-188.
Scott, Richard A., with M. Davis and T. Januszkiewicz, Nonpositive curvature of blow-ups, Selecta Math. New ser. 4 (1998), 491-547.
Scott, Richard A. Projective embeddings of toric varieties, Colloq. Math., 80 (1999), 191-200.
Shao, Bin, A trace formula for a class of block variable-coefficient Toeplitz matrices, Internat. J. Appl. Math. (submitted).
Shao, Bin, A trace formula for variable-coefficient Toeplitz matrices with symbols of bounded variation, J. Math. Anal. Appl. 222, (1998), 505-546.
Smolarski, Dennis C., SJ, with F. Douglas Swesty, Paul Saylor and E. Y. M. Yang, Scalable, Hydrodynamic and Radiation-Hydrodynamic Studies of Neutron Stars Mergers, in Proceedings of SC 97 Conference, San Jose, CA, Nov. 18, 1997.
Walden, Byron, with Leslie A. Ward, Asymptotic behaviour of distributions of harmonic measure for planar domains, Ann. Acad. Sci. Fenn. Math. (submitted).
Walden, Byron, Searching for Kaprekar's constants: Algorithms and results, (to appear).
Whitehead, Tamsen, with Peter Hilton and Jean Pedersen, On paths on the integral lattice in the plane, Far East J. Math. Sci. Spec. Vol. (1999), 1-23.
Holly Anderson '96--Holly spoke at last year's Career Night dinner. She's a student in the Santa Clara Law School, studying intellectual property rights law.
Steve Ashby '82--Steve is the Director of the Center for Applied Scientific Computing at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He and his wife recently had a second child.
Robert Becker '98--At our most recent Career Night, Rob described his experiences at TRW where he has worked since graduation. There may be some graduate school in Rob's future--but not yet.
Robert Beezer '78--This past year Rob was "promoted" to chair of his department at the University of Puget Sound.
Trisha Bergthold '87--After completing her Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma this past spring, Trisha has taken a position in publishing with Laurel Technical Services in San Carlos.
Connie Bustillo '92--Connie is still at Apple and her husband, Dave Chapman, who had deserted Apple, is back. Apple's fortunes are again looking up.
Ballan Campeau '74--After a career in management in several software companies, Ballan has returned to Santa Clara to take a position in the Development Office.
John Conlin '89--John completed the STEP teacher internship program at Stanford, taught in Europe for several years and is back in California teaching at Del Mar High School in Campbell. He spoke on teaching at our last Career Night.
J. Brian Conrey '76--Brian has been serving as Executive Director of the American Institute of Mathematics in Palo Alto, while on leave from Oklahoma State University. More about the Institute can be learned from checking www.aimath.org.
Stephen DeBacker '90--Having completed his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago Steve has been appointed an L. E. Dickson Instructor there. He and his wife Lillian have a charming very young son, Kenneth, who comes to visit us and "flirts".
Edward G. Dunne '80--Ed was one of the invited speakers at the
San Antonio AMS-MAA meetings in January. He gave the student
address on the topic "Pianos and Continued Fractions", a talk related to his
paper with Mark McConnell in the April 1999 issue of
Mathematics Magazine. Ed is an acquisitions editor for
the American Mathematical Society in Providence.
Karri Vosberg Fogel '91--Karri finished her Ph.D. at the University of Texas, Austin, and is teaching at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.
Spera Marcu Georgiou '91--After holding a position at FORMTEK-Lockheed Martin, Spera has moved to ORIGIN Technology in Business. Her husband, Ion, is completing his doctorate in applied mathematics at UC Santa Cruz.
Edward Goetze '86--After earning a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Ed is working at Perks at Work in San Francisco.
Tom Goetze '89--Tom got a Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Cruz and is working for Ultimate Technology in San Jose.
Khir Johari '97--Khir has finished the STEP program at Stanford, earning his credential and teaching as an intern in Palo Alto. He now plans to return to Singapore.
Michael A. Jones '89--Mike has moved from Loyola University of Chicago to a new position at Montclair State University in New Jersey. And he has just announced his engagement to Dr. Caroline Vitale.
Peter Lampe '93--Peter received his Ph.D. from Washington University, St. Louis, last year and will be teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where his wife Kristin will also be teaching.
Nicole Mayer '94--Nicole finished her Ph.D. in biostatistics at the University of Washington and is staying on there on the research staff. She has also recently married.
Kevin McCurley '76--Kevin moved from Sandia in Albuquerque to a position at IBM Almaden. He has most recently been president of the International Association for Cryptologic Research. He spoke at our recent Career Night.
Anh Phan '96--Annie is working at Cisco Systems and reported on her work at our annual Career Night.
Mark Plummer '80 and Shari Abdalian Plummer '83--Mark and Shari just announced the arrival of Alyssa Frances at 6 lbs, 10 oz, their first.
Sharon Sheehan '88--Sharon, married to Jeff Singleton, has returned to the Bay Area from Illinois and is teaching at a high school in Alameda. She and her husband have two daughters.
Corinne Strong '98--Corinne came to the Pi Mu Epsilon banquet in the spring and while there enjoyed a lively discussion with Jennifer White '92 and Paula Kim Nawas '92; all are teaching in high schools on the San Francisco Peninsula.
Ilya Zavorine '93--Ilya is completing his Ph.D. work in applied mathematics at the University of Maryland; he's married and they're expecting an heir in late October.
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