Wayne State University - College of Liberal Arts - Department of Mathematics

                                                                                                                                            September 27, 2017


Welcome to a new academic year at Wayne State. I hope that you are enjoying the start of the Fall semester. This is the first in a series of newsletters that will aim to provide you with news and information periodically. Please send me your news for inclusion in future newsletters.

This newsletter has several sections. Please be sure to read all the sections that may be of interest to you.

Dan Drucker
Professor and Associate Chair


1. Message from the Chair

2. Departmental and faculty news

  • Anna K. Lewenz Endowed Scholarship
  • New faculty
  • Departing faculty
  • Promotions
  • Faculty honors
  • Faculty leaves
  • External grants and awards
  • New GTAs
  • Colloquium and seminars (tentative)
  • Department Facebook page

3. Recent PhD recipients

4. Advice and information for students

  • Registration deadlines
  • Full combined academic and registration calendar for 2017-2018
  • Information on classes
  • WSU Math Society
  • Undergraduate Mathematics Seminar
  • Planning your degree program
  • Academic advising
  • Faculty advisors for mathematics majors
  • William Lowell Putnam mathematical competition
  • Mathematics Resource Center (MRC)

1. Message from the Chair

Dear Colleagues,

The 2017 fall semester is in full swing! As we celebrate good news about Wayne State's institutional accreditation, its ranking among higher education institutions, and its undergraduate graduation rate, I greatly appreciate the contributions from our department's excellent faculty, staff, and students. Meanwhile, being a pivotal department, we need to be prepared for many challenges and opportunities in this fast-changing world.

As we move forward, it is important to recognize that the Wayne State University Department of Mathematics aspires to achieve regional and national leadership in mathematics research, education, and community engagement. We strive to attract top talents and produce future leaders in STEM fields through innovative research activities and modernized education and outreach programs that are globally and locally relevant. By strategically positioning ourselves at the intersection of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and urban renewal, we can become a leading force in shaping the University as a preeminent urban research institution. I am proud and excited to be part of this endeavor.

I wish everyone a happy and productive year.

Hengguang Li, Chair

2. Departmental and faculty news


Donors Elaine Lewenz and David Drescher have established a Department of Mathematics endowed scholarship in memory of Anna Lewenz, who enjoyed studying mathematics at Wayne State University and planned to pursue graduate studies, but tragically died at the age of 24 before she could realize her educational goals. The scholarship will be awarded to full or part-time juniors or seniors who are majoring in mathematics, who are members of the Association of Women in Mathematics, and whose GPA is at least 3.4. It is intended to recognize scholastic achievement, to encourage continued progress, and to provide assistance to students in financing their education in our department. We hope to make the first award in April 2018.


Byungjae Son, postdoc from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, did thesis work under Ratnasingham Shivaji, research area: nonlinear differential equations

Xiang Wan, postdoc from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, did thesis work under Irena Lasiecka, research area: nonlinear (hyperbolic) partial differential equations


Xun Lu, postdoc during 2016–2017, is now an Assistant Professor at Xiangtan University in China.

Nicolas Ricka, postdoc during 2015–2017, is now a postdoc serving as a member of the Algebra, Topology, Quantum Groups, and Representations team in Laboratoire IRMA, the mathematics laboratory at Université de Strasbourg in France.

Xing Wang, postdoc during 2015–2017, now has a business position in Guangzhou, China.


Rohini Kumar and Andrew Salch have been promoted to Associate Professor.


Professor George Yin has received a Distinguished Professor appointment, the highest academic achievement at Wayne State University. He is one of only 26 university faculty members to receive such an appointment. Prof. Yin joined the Department of Mathematics in 1987 and became a full professor in 1996. His research area is stochastic systems and their applications. He has co-chaired a number of research conferences and serves on the editorial board of a number of journals and book series. He is a fellow of IEEE, IFAC, and SIAM and recently received another five-year NSF grant to support his research.

Professor Hengguang Li has received the 2017 Wayne State University Career Develpment Chair award. Career Development Chairs are awarded to as many as seven recently tenured faculty as part of the University's program to support the teaching and research endeavors of faculty members at a critical time in their careers. Prof. Li's research focuses on numerical analysis and scientific computing, including the development of techniques for performing computations across multiple scientific disciplines such as physics, engineering, and finance. His current work includes planned collaborations at Sun Yat-Sen University in China and the use of TH-2, one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, to extend theoretical numerical results in two dimensions to the three-dimensional case central to real-life applications.


Klein (Fall 2017), Isaksen (Fall 2017, Winter 2018), Menaldi (Winter 2018), Salch (Winter 2018), Wang (Winter 2018), Z. Zhang (Winter 2018)


Bruner, Wang, and Klein (Simons Foundation), Frohardt, Isaksen, Kahn, and Li (NSF), Mordukhovich (NSF and USAF), Yin (NSF, UCSD, and US Army)


Nhu Nguyen, Yatin Patel, Dilhara Wickramasinghe, Agnes Ginardi, Md Nurul Islam Raihen, Daniel Bowser


Colloquium: Mondays, 2:45 - 4:00 pm in 179 Education. But check the department's website for up to date information, since times and locations sometimes change.

Algebra Seminar: Tuesdays, 3:00 - 4:00 pm in the Nelson Room, 1140 FAB

Analysis Seminar: Wednesdays, 1:00 - 2:00 pm in 1285 FAB

Applied Mathematics Seminar: Tuesdays, 1:00 - 2:00 pm in the Nelson Room, 1140 FAB

Partial Differential Equations Seminar: Wednesdays, 1:00 - 2:00 pm in the Nelson Room, 1140 FAB

Probability and Statistics Seminar: Wednesdays, 2:00 - 3:00 pm in the Nelson Room, 1140 FAB

Topology Seminar: Tuesdays, 2:00 - 3:00 pm in the Nelson Room, 1140 FAB


The Department of Mathematics has a newly established Facebook page. Follow us here.

3. Recent PhD recipients
(with date of PhD, advisor(s), dissertation title, field, and job)

Michael Catanzaro, May 2015, John Klein and Vladimir Chernyak, "A topological study of stochastic dynamics on CW complexes", algebraic topology, postdoc at University of Florida in Fall 2016

Matthew Zabka, May 2015, Dan Isaksen, "Cohomology Operations on random spaces", algebraic topology, tenure-track professor at Minnesota State University in Fall 2016

Tan Cao, August 2016, Boris Mordukhovich, "Optimal control of a perturbed sweeping process with applications to the crowd motion model", optimization, SUNY, assistant professor in Korea in Fall 2017

Hongwei Mei, August 2016, George Yin, "Ergodicity of stochastic switching diffusions and stochastic delay systems", stochastic processes, visiting assistant professor at University of Kansas in Fall 2017

Ba Nguyen, August 2016, Kyungyong Lee and Frank Okoh, "New combinatorial formulas for cluster monomials of type A quivers", combinatorics, postdoc fellow at Queen's University in Fall 2017

Mohammadebrahim Sarabi, August 2016, Boris Mordukhovich, "Variational analysis and stability in optimization", calculus of varations and optimal control, assistant professor at Miami University in Fall 2017

Ky Tran, August 2016, George Yin, "Nonlinear stochastic systems and controls: Lotka-Volterra type models, permanence and extinction, optimal harvesting strategies, and numerical methods for systems under partial observations", mathematics and statistics, lecturer at Hue University in Fall 2017

Lu Zhang, December 2016, Guozhen Lu, "Multi-parameter and multilinear pseudo-differential operatiors and sharp Trudinger-Moser inequalities", Fourier analysis, assistant professor at Binghamton University in Fall 2017

Tuan Hoang, May 2017, George Yin, "Stochastic hybrid systems: numerical methods, limit results, and controls", probability theory and stochastic processes, analytics scientist at Ford Motor Company in Fall 2017

Bogdan Gheorghe, August 2017, Dan Isaksen, "The motivic cofiber of tau and exotic periodicities", algebraic topology, postdoc fellow at Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Bonn, Fall 2017

Gabriel Angelini-Knoll, August 2017, Andrew Salch, "Periodicity in iterated algebraic K-theory of finite fields", algebraic topology, postdoc fellow at Michigan State University in Fall 2017

4. Advice and information for students


Last day to drop with full tuition refund: September 13
Last day to drop without it showing on your transcript: September 27
Last day to drop courses, with instructor approval: November 12




For the schedule of classes, see http://www.classschedule.wayne.edu/courses_new.cfm?Subj=MAT.
For course descriptions in the WSU Bulletin, see bulletins.wayne.edu.


The WSU Math Society is open to Wayne State students, undergraduate and graduate, regardless of major, who have an interest in mathematics, want to have fun learning and applying it in unique ways, and who want to give back to the community. It's involved in promoting and hosting different events happening in the Department of Mathematics or of interest to students interested in mathematics, volunteering to help students in the greater Detroit area and providing mathematics students with opportunities to become more engaged in the field, such as being involved in research. Its catch phrase: "WSU Math Society - to infinity and beyond!" Its mission: uniting and engaging the Wayne State University mathematics community and the greater Detroit area. Its values: support, opportunity, discovery, outreach, and community. The society's official email is WSUmathsociety@wayne.edu. The executive committee members are listed below.

Mohammad (Mo) Kang, President -- mohammad.behzad.kang@wayne.edu
Renee Yaldoo, Treasurer -- renee.yaldoo2@wayne.edu
Zachary Kourtakis, Secretary -- zachary.kourtakis@wayne.edu
Amber Wolf, 1st Vice President -- amber.wolf@wayne.edu
Jasmine Thomas, 2nd Vice President -- jasmine.thomas5@wayne.edu
Richard Pineau, Co-faculty advisor -- ao8242@wayne.edu
Tiana Bosley, Co-faculty advisor -- ac3217@wayne.edu

The first meeting of the WSU Math Society will be on September 29 at 1 p.m. in 384 Student Center Bldg.


The first undergraduate mathematics seminar will be on October 13 at 2 p.m. in the Nelson Room, 1146 FAB. 
Speaker: Professor Andrew Salch
Title: The Riemann zeta-function
Abstract: The Riemann zeta-function is the subject of the most famous open conjecture in mathematics, the Riemann hypothesis. In this talk I will give an introduction to the Riemann zeta-function: what it is, what it measures, what its basic properties are, and its relationships to problems in number theory, including two famous open problems: the Riemann hypothesis, and the question of the existence of infinitely many regular primes. 


Remember that the description of a degree program lists  minimum  requirements. To be competitive with graduates of other colleges and universities when you apply for a job or graduate study, you should choose courses that provide you with the strongest possible mathematical foundation, together with courses that deepen your understanding of related scientific fields and humanities courses that make you a well rounded person. The purpose of a college education, besides attaining proficiency in your main field of study, is to learn how to learn and to expose yourself to different styles of critical thinking. One of the most important things in life is to enjoy what you do. You want to have a career, not just a job.

Plan your program each semester by working with a department advisor to select courses that further your degree program. To the extent possible, you should try to arrange your schedule so that your work doesn’t conflict with your courses and so that you have enough time in the campus area to take advantage of perks such as student activities, study groups, tutoring services, instructors’ office hours, museums, sporting events, and concerts. Most employers are willing to arrange work hours that allow you to take the courses you need to further your education.


Kim Morgan is the academic advisor for all mathematics majors and minors.  Make an appointment with her at wams.wayne.edu to plan for the Winter semester. To be a mathematics major in good standing, you are expected to see Kim Morgan at least once each semester so that the Department of Mathematics can monitor your progress toward a degree and resolve any issues that might arise regarding your program.


UNDERGRADUATES. For individual advice from a faculty member on course selection or other matters, contact any of the following professors for an advising appointment: Cohn, Drucker, Frohardt, Hu, Menaldi, Okoh, Salch, Schreiber, Shinki, S. Zhang, Z. Zhang.
MASTERS STUDENTS. The Masters program director is Prof. Celiker.
PhD STUDENTS. The PhD program director is Prof. Wang.


The Putnam exam is an annual mathematics exam for undergraduate students in the US and Canada. Each year it consists of two parts, each with six very difficult mathematics problems whose solutions require only elementary methods, used in ingenious and atypical ways. The median score on the Putnam exam each year is zero, due to the difficulty of the exam. A handful of the top-scoring students on the Putnam exam in North America each year receive scholarships, and some employers and graduate schools pay close attention to applicants who have "Putnam credentials", but most students take the exam for fun and for a challenge. The Putnam exam this year is December 2, and takes the entire morning and afternoon of that day. 

WSU has arranged with Oakland University for WSU's students to participate in OU's Putnam training sessions (because this year more OU students than WSU students have expressed an interest in taking the exam). OU's training sessions are on Wednesdays from 2:40 to 3:45 p.m. You can take the Putnam exam without attending any of these training sessions, but the training sessions are helpful for knowing what the exam questions will look like (and for learning some interesting, unorthodox ways to use the mathematics you already know in order to solve unusual problems). If you would like to take the Putnam exam, please email WSU's Putnam exam coordinator, Prof. Salch, at asalch@math.wayne.edu and he will register you to take the exam and put you in touch with OU's Putnam training session organizers.


The MRC is open for free walk-in tutoring services to Wayne State students (incoming, current, and alumni) needing help with Wayne State mathematics courses and proficiency/placement.  It is located in the Department of Mathematics at 1198 Faculty/Administration Building.

See clas.wayne.edu/Math/Mathematics-Resource-Center to learn more about the Mathematics Resource Center, or send inquiries to Tiana Bosley at tiana@wayne.edu.


Wayne State University Aim Higher


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