Newsletter 2017

McHenry Building

Mathematics Newsletter, Fall 2017


In This Issue:

  • Colloquium/Seminar Schedule
  • Preliminary Exam Dates
  • Important Dates
  • Colloquium Highlights
  • New Mathematics Graduate Students/Faculty Profile
  • Undergraduate Advisor - Ben Fisher
  • Some Mathematics Graduate Insight - Joe Farrara & Gabe Martins
  • Serving Local Students: MBAMP/MDTP

Colloquium/Seminar Schedules:

Mondays : Undergraduate Colloquium 5-6pm McHenry Room 4130
Tuesdays : Math Tea Time 3:30-4pm
McHenry Room 4161
Tuesdays : Math Colloquium 4-5pm
McHenry Room 4130
Wednesdays : Graduate Colloquium 4-5pm
McHenry Room 4130
Thursdays : Geometry & Analysis Seminars 4-5pm
McHenry Room 4130
Fridays : Algebra & Number Theory Seminars
12-1pm McHenry Room 1240

Preliminary Exam Dates: Check for updates!

9/29/17 Geo. 9am-12pm McHenry Room 4130

10/06/17 Anal. 9am-12pm McHenry Room 4130

10/13/17 Algebra 9am-12pm McHenry Room 4130

Important Dates: *denotes mandatory for new graduate students

9/23/17 Fall Quarter Begins

9/25/17 International Scholar and Student Services (ISSS) Mandatory Orientation, 8:45am-5pm Media Theater

*9/26/17 Campus Graduate Division TA & Union Orientation, 9am-4pm Location TBA

9/27/17 Mandatory Math Graduate Division TA & Union Orientation, 9am-12pm McHenry Room 4130

9/28/17 Mandatory Incoming Math Grad TA Workshop with Frank Bauerle, 1pm-4pm McHenry Room 4130

9/28/17 Instruction Begins

9/28/17 All TA Fall Mandatory TA training Workshop with Frank Bauerle & Kyle Blocker, 4pm McHenry Room 4130

10/04/17 Sections Begin

10/10/17 Graduate Welcome and Welcome Back Picnic


2016-2017 Colloquium Highlights

In the past year we have held 3 Special Mathematics Colloquia featuring distinguished mathematicians from around the world as well as prominent researcher from other departments on campus. We also hosted the Bay Area Differential Geometry Seminar and the Bay Area Algebraic Number Theory Days. These are some of the highlights of scientific events that reflect the strong research environment in the Department.

Special Colloquium Speakers

Martin Hairer was awarded the Fields Medal in 2014 for his contributions to the theory of stochastic partial differenitial equations, and in particular for the creation of a theory of regularity structures for such equations.

Gunther Uhlmann is a world renowned mathematician at the University of Washington. His research interests lie on partial differential equations and microlocal analysis, with deep connections to Inverse Problems (the field behind imaging sciences). He is a Fellow of the AMS, a Fellow of SIAM, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the president of the Inverse Problems International Association. He spoke on "Harry Potter's Cloak Via Transformation Optics", describing various settings where making objects invisible can be made possible.

Kiran S. Kedlaya is a Professor and Stefan E. Warschawski Chair in Mathematics at the University of California, San Diego. He is a leading expert in Arithmetic Geometry, and in particular is one of the pioneers in the burgeoning field of p-adic Hodge theory and applications. His talk was titled "Perfectoid spaces and homological conjectures."

Yitang Zhang is a Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is best known for his ground-breaking work on the gaps between consecutive primes.  He is the winner of Cole Prize (2014) and a recipient of the MacArthur award. His talk was titled "Methods of undetermined quantities in number theory."



New Mathematics Faculty

Welcome to the UCSC Mathematics Department, we are so happy you're here!


ucsc_photo.jpg"Dan Cristofaro-Gardiner - Assistant Professor

Dan grew up in tiny Rhode Island, where he enjoyed exploring the woods and wandering the coast.  After undergraduate studies at Harvard, Dan moved to UC Berkeley for his PhD, and then to Harvard and the Institute for Advanced Study for postdoctoral work. He is very excited to be joining the Mathematics faculty at Santa Cruz.

Dan's research is about contact and symplectic geometry, and its relationships with topology, dynamics, and combinatorics. When he is not doing math, Dan likes camping, playing the piano, and traveling to new places.


ed-karasiewicz-pic.jpg Edmund Karasiewicz - Visiting Assistant Professor

Ed recently completed his PhD at Rutgers University and joined the UCSC Math Department in the Fall of 2017 as a Visiting Assistant Professor. His research focuses on areas of automorphic forms and number theory, where he studies Fourier coefficients of Eisenstein series on covering groups.

Apart from one semester abroad in Hungary, Ed has lived in New Jersey and looks forward to exploring life on the west coast. In addition to math, he enjoys playing jazz guitar, hiking, and weightlifting.


Andrew Lee - Postdoctoral Scholar working with Dan Cristofaro-Gardiner alee-photo.jpg

Andrew is a San Francisco native, attending Lowell High School and then Williams College where he earned bachelor's degrees in mathematics and Spanish in 2010. After graduating he worked for Americorps in San Francisco, teaching mathematics and helping in classrooms at St. Anthony-Immaculate Conception School. In fall 2011 he began graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, earning his PhD in 2017.

Andrew's research is in the interface between symplectic geometry and gauge theory, with applications in low-dimensional topology. Here 4 is a low number of dimensions, but 5 is not. Outside of mathematics, Andrew enjoys cooking spicy food, listening to music, and playing basketball with RLM Globetrotters, the intramural basketball team of the UT Austin Mathematics Department. Their efforts this year culminated in their first ever intramural championship.


rohitmishra.jpgRohit Mishra - Postdoctoral Scholar working with Francois Monard

Rohit was born and brought up in the town of Bahraich in Uttar Pradesh, India. He finished his B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science s) in 2011 with subjects in Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry from Kisan P.G. college, Bahraich. Then he moved to Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Centre for Applicable Mathematics, Bangalore, India for the integrated Ph.D. program in Mathematics. In July, 2017, he finished his Ph.D. and is joining UC, Santa Cruz as a Postdoctoral Scholar.

His research interest is in the area of inverse problems and involves inversion of ray transforms. In particular, he is interested in the recovery of the solenoidal part of symmetric m-tensor fields in R^n from its restricted ray transform. His hobbies are playing badminton, poker and listening to music.


Undergraduate Advisor - Ben Fisher


Ben was raised locally here in Santa Cruz. Throughout his life he has traveled through various countries in Europe, North, Central and South America and a large portion of the US. He started his college career at Cabrillo and transferred to UC Santa Barbara. There he received his Bachelor's degree in Psychology. His passion for helping students led him to pursue a Master's in Academic Advising from Kansas State University, the home of NACADA and a central academic hub for the Advising and Counseling community. 

He brings a passion for helping guide college students through the challenges they face in the pivotal years they spend in college. With advising coming back into the department over the past academic year he has redefined the role of the Math Advisor. Working as a student advocate within the department he has helped to foster balance between the various priorities within the department. The effect of decisions within the Math Department reach far and wide across the campus and Ben has worked to build relationships across campus so that our students will be better served as a whole. With a year under his belt at UCSC he's looking forward to continuing to build a culture of accurate, timely and effective advising across the campus. 


Some Mathematics Graduate Insight:



Joe Ferrara

I'm Joe and I will be starting my fifth year in the PhD program at UCSC this fall. I grew up in Pacifica, California, and attended UC Berkeley for undergrad. When I was young, doing a PhD in mathematics was beyond my wildest dreams. It wasn't until my third year of undergrad in my abstract algebra class that I discovered how beautiful and interesting mathematics could be. Since then I've been learning as much math as possible, which has brought me here to UCSC. While here, aside from the expected trials and tribulations of research, I've enjoyed my time. Being a small department, I've had the opportunity to get to know some of the faculty well, and they have been very supportive helping me get through the program. I've also found the grad student community to be very interesting, supportive, and fun.

I study algebraic number theory with Professor Samit Dasgupta; more specifically I study special value formulas for p-adic L-functions. L-functions are fundamental objects of study in modern number theory, with the Riemann zeta function being historically the first example of an L-function. My thesis is on Stark's conjectures for p-adic L-functions of ray class characters. Most of my time is spent in the basement of McHenry thinking about p-adic L-functions, and talking with fellow grad students about math. 


gabemartins.pngGabriel Martins

Hi I'm Gabe and I am starting my sixth year in the math department. In terms of math I am mainly interested in the intersection of geometry and physics. In my thesis work I study the problem of finding a class of magnetic fields defined on a region with boundary that trap any charged particle inside the region in there for all time. I was able to find an interesting instance of quantum leaking in these problems too and now I am trying to flesh out some of the quantum mechanical aspects of the problem.

My plans for the future are uncertain as it tends to be for graduate students. I am applying to post-doc positions and plan on applying to teaching jobs too. But I am slowly learning to be as open-minded as possible towards the future and also consider moving into non-teaching jobs.

In terms of advice for new students I think I would say, be mindful of structuring your time. We have many teaching obligations, you might be taking classes too and on top of all of that you're supposed to be developing your own mathematics. For me it was crucial to delineate times of the week to get my studying done, since otherwise I would just study all the time and feel guilty whenever I wasn't studying. I think that's a pretty common trap to get caught in. Finding your balance and paying attention to your own sanity is almost as important as studying hard.


New Graduate Students Fall 2017

  • Mita Banik
  • Alejandro Bravo-Doddoli
  • Jason Chew
  • Alec Dektor
  • Justin Lake
  • Matthew Lee
  • Hoda Malak
  • Kayla Orlinksy
  • Yufei Shan
  • Nigel Tucker













Mathematics Awards Spring 2017


Congratulations and kudos to Shay Gilpin and Sumeng Wang, recipients of our Mathematics Awards in 2017! They each received $1,000 awards in recognition of their accomplishments in the Mathematics major—Pure Mathematics concentration. We are honored to recognize their hard work and to be able to present them with an award.

Shay Gilpin and Sumeng Wang were selected by Mathematics faculty as recipients of this year's J.W.T. Youngs Memorial Undergraduate Award in Mathematics. The family and friends of Professor Youngs, a former professor at UCSC, established the award after he tragically passed away in 1970. Professor Youngs was a member of the Mathematics Department and a Fellow of Crown College. The endowment was established to honor his memory by supporting two annual prizes, one for an outstanding student of mathematics enrolled in Cowell College, and one for an outstanding student of mathematics enrolled anywhere on the Santa Cruz campus. The Youngs award is administered by the Mathematics Department.

We wish them both success in their future endeavors!

Short Bio from Shay

Shay Awards Pic My name is Shay Gilpin and I am just finishing my fourth year at UCSC with a Pure Mathematics major and Chemistry minor. I'm from Boulder, Colorado but have always had a love for the ocean, and UCSC provided the best of both worlds. Mathematics was a subject in which I had always excelled, but early on it was Chemistry that I found interesting. Upon entering my freshman year here I had no intention of studying math; Math 23A with Prof. Richard Mitchell revealed the beauty of math that I had never seen before, and it changed me forever. It was then that my interested turned towards mathematics and led me to where I am today.

During these past two years I have been an active member of Slugs United by Mathematics (SUM) and am currently the president of SUM for the 2016-17 academic year. After graduation I will be continuing an internship at the University Corporation of Atmospheric Research (UCAR) in Boulder, CO under the COSMIC group and have hopes of continuing my academic career in either pure or applied mathematics in the near future.


Short Bio from Sumeng

My name is Sumeng Wang and I’m a Pure Mathematics Major and Computer Science Major. When I first entered college, I was not so sure about pursuing Math but my passion for mathematics has grown over the past three years. Abstract Algebra is one of the subjects that I find both interesting and challenging. Sometimes, I would just sit there and read the textbook for a day trying to solve one problem. I know the path of learning never stops because there are still many other people better than me out there, so for the last year of my undergraduate, I would like to take a few graduate courses for challenge and self-improvement. After graduating, I’m hoping to continue my passion for math in math related graduate programs. 





Serving Middle and High School Students 

Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project-MDTP

UC/CSU Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project (UC/CSUMDTP), one of ten regional sites in California (sponsored by the California Academic Partnership Program [CAPP]), offers free mathematics achievement, diagnostic testing and analysis services to pre-collegiate schools and pre-collegiate outreach programs.

The UC Santa Cruz site of the UC/CSU MDTP has served North Monterey, northern San Benito, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties for over 28 years.

The MDTP tests are designed to assist teachers in measuring student readiness for a broad range of mathematics courses.

These tests are used as an integral part of a formative assessment process for middle school and high school mathematics teachers.

A series of readiness tests for college preparatory mathematics courses are available at seven levels from Pre-algebra to Calculus.

UC Santa Cruz scores the students' responses and provides summary and diagnostic information on student results.

The diagnostic tests are used to assess students' mastery of key concepts that are requisite for success in mathematics classes.

Individual diagnostic reports are provided for students as well as detailed item analyses and summary reports for teachers.

The student reports indicate areas in which students did well and those areas in which the test results suggest a need for further study in order to be prepared for future coursework.

The summary reports are used by teachers to help identify areas of the curriculum that seem to be working well and other areas or topics where changes may be needed.

The diagnostic information provided enhances the teachers' ability to strengthen their curricula.

Monterey Bay Area Mathematics Project -MBAMP

The Monterey Bay Area Mathematics Project (MBAMP) exists to increase the academic achievement of students in mathematics (grades K – 12), via professional development programs (PD) for teachers.

These PD programs enhance the content knowledge and teaching skills of classroom teachers.

As overall student achievement rises, MBAMP programs will reduce achievement gaps in the mathematics performance of student populations.

Core to the improvement efforts sought by MBAMP programs are the partnerships developed between MBAMP and local school districts, the Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey and Santa Clara County Offices of Education (COEs), the mathematics faculty of UCSC and other organizations concerned about mathematics education.

MBAMP is dedicated to providing students a rich, rigorous, and coherent mathematics curriculum taught by competent and confident mathematics teachers who foster all students’ proficiency in mathematics—achieving equity in quality.

All teachers and students become competent mathematical thinkers as they investigate, conjecture and justify in their pursuit of mathematical knowledge.