2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]
Mathematics and Physics
Chair: Joseph Kolibal, D.Phil.
Mathematics Coordinator: Joshua Goss, Ph.D.
Physics Coordinator: Nikodem Poplawski, Ph.D.
Math Zone Coordinator: Yevgeniya Rivers, M.S.
Professors Emeriti: Donald Fridshal, Ph.D., University of Connecticut (Mathematics); Joseph M. Gangler, Ph.D., Columbia University (Mathematics); Erik Rosenthal, Ph.D., University of California (Mathematics): Baldev K. Sachdeva, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University (Mathematics); Bruce Tyndall, M.S., University of Iowa (Mathematics); James W. Uebelacker, Ph.D., Syracuse University (Mathematics); Shirley A. Wakin, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts (Mathematics Education): W. Thurman Whitley, Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Mathematics)
Professors: Matthew Griffiths, Ph.D., University of Edinburgh (Physics); Ali A. Jafarian, Ph.D., University of Toronto (Mathematics); Joseph Kolibal, D. Phil., University of Oxford (Mathematics); Ramesh Sharma, Ph.D., Banaras Hindu University, Ph.D., University of Windsor (Mathematics); Saion Sinha, Ph.D., University of Kentucky (Mathematics)
Associate Professors: Marc H. Mehlman, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside (Mathematics); Sabir Umarov, Ph.D., Moscow Energy Institute, Dr. of Sciences, Institute of Mathematics of Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan (Mathematics)
Assistant Professors: Joshua Goss, Ph.D., Western Michigan University (Mathematics Education); Houssein El Turkey, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma (Mathematics); Yasanthi Kottegoda, Ph.D., Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Mathematics).
Senior Lecturer: Nikodem Poplawski, Ph.D., Indiana University (Physics).
Lecturers: James Celone, M.S., Southern Connecticut State University (Mathematics); Elizabeth Fiorillo, M.S., Southern Connecticut State University (Mathematics Education); Dan Liu, Ph.D., University of Rhode Island (Physics); Albert Navetta, M.A., Central Connecticut State University (Mathematics); Meng Xu, Ph.D., University of Wyoming (Mathematics).
Staff: Yevgeniya Rivers, M.S., Brooklyn College (Educational Leadership)
The study of mathematics opens the door to a wide variety of career opportunities and academic pursuits. Mathematics is a major part of the framework of modern science and technology, business and social sciences and a strong mathematics background is an essential part of an ever-increasing number of fields from private industry to government service. The ability to work with abstract concepts and to manipulate mathematical forms and ideas is valued and respected because these are intrinsically parts of problem solving in so many disciplines. Students studying mathematics at the undergraduate level can continue in their study of pure or applied mathematics, or can undertake to further their careers in almost any area requiring a demonstrated ability to think clearly and creatively.
The Department offers a B.A. in Mathematics and a BS in Mathematics with several options that allow students to concentrate their studies in several areas of mathematics, including applied and computational mathematics and statistics. Students are encouraged to develop a strong background in computer science or physics, including possibly minoring in computer science to be better prepared for our technological society, or minoring in physics to build an understanding of the mathematical methods associated with the applied sciences. Indeed, the mathematics program emphasizes building disciplinary breadth in traditional areas of pure and applied mathematics (calculus, differential equations, linear and abstract algebra, discrete math and in analysis) while requiring the student to focus on any of several topic areas in mathematics to begin the process of building depth and expertise. Students majoring in other fields are strongly encouraged to minor in mathematics, particularly those students whose programs of study already require that they take several mathematics courses beyond Calculus I.
Mathematics students have direct access to University computing facilities via computer laboratories throughout the campus. In addition, the Department operates its own Linux servers both for research and educational purposes, and students are also strongly encouraged to explore opportunities for undergraduate research in areas combining computational mathematics with several areas of science and technology at the forefront of the mathematical sciences. Computing technology and software is an integral part of modern mathematics education, opening new ways of exploring and visualizing complex concepts, and enabling the development and articulation of difficult ideas in ways that were unimaginable previously. The undergraduate mathematics program provides students an introductory foundation into new ways of working with mathematics while following through with traditional methods to build a solid working knowledge and understanding of mathematics.
As part of a comprehensive undergraduate learning experience, the Department provides opportunities for well qualified students to tutor students in developmental math classes offered through the emporium style learning center operated by the Department and known as the Math Zone. Students selected for this have successfully undergone a supervised training program on teaching and tutoring so that they can effectively support student learning in classes ranging from fundamental mathematics, through intermediate and college algebra, up to pre-calculus. Students in the tutoring program are compensated and have the added benefit of gaining valuable teaching experience prior to graduate school in many cases.
Physics is concerned with the most basic aspects of our knowledge of the natural world. It is a subject in which experiment and theory evolve constantly to provide a precise and simple description of the physical phenomena around us in terms of a relatively small number of physical laws and theories. As a fundamental science, physics is at the root of almost all branches of science and technology. It has provided the microscopic basis for chemistry, has stimulated important developments in mathematics, is the basis of most branches of engineering and, during the past decade has proved to be increasingly valuable to the life sciences. In addition, physics has historically been strongly linked with mathematics, and as part of the Department of Mathematics and Physics, opportunities for students to explore topics in mathematical and theoretical physics, including cosmology, and computational physics are very much at the core of the Program in Physics, as are opportunities for study in applied solid state physics in areas such as nanotechnology and carbon nanotubes.
A knowledge of physics provides excellent preparation for diverse careers in university and government laboratories, industrial research and development, applied science and engineering, biological and medical sciences, research in environmental problems, and teaching at all levels from the elementary school to the university. It also prepares students for careers in non-physics-related fields such as philosophy, business, and law by providing a strong analytical educational foundation while also stressing the importance of experiment and experience as part of the problem solving method.
The University does not currently offer a bachelor’s degree in physics. The Department does, however, offer a minor in physics suitable for majors in any of the University’s colleges and departments. A physics minor is particularly valuable for students in chemistry, environmental science, biology, mathematics, forensic science, or engineering, as well as for any student planning to teach science at the elementary or secondary level. In addition, students pursuing degrees in mathematics also have the opportunity to take advanced undergraduate courses in physics that count toward the BA or BS in Mathematics degree. Our intent is to broaden the learning experience that students have in the mathematical sciences, and mathematical physics represents an important option, along with more traditional specialization options in applied and computational mathematics, and in statistics.
Each year, the Mathematics Department awards two outstanding mathematics students free honorary memberships in the Mathematical Association of America and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.
In addition, the department annually awards the Bert Ross Mathematics Prize to the outstanding senior mathematics major. This award consists of a set of mathematics books and a certificate of achievement.