MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

Department of Mathematics



During the academic year 1994-95, there were 238 undergraduates majoring in mathematics, 179 in
Course XVIII, Mathematics, and 59 in Course XVIII-C, Mathematics/Computer Science. Bachelor of Science degrees, including double majors, were awarded to 72 students, 58 in Course XVIII and 14 in Course XVIII-C.

There were a total of 106 graduate students in mathematics, all in the Ph.D. program. This year 22 students received the doctoral degree and three received the master's degree.


There were 49 faculty members in the Mathematics Department. The following were on whole or partial leave: Professor Alexander Beilinson (year); Professor Sy Friedman (year); Professor Victor Guillemin (fall term); Professor Kenneth Hoffman (year); Professor Ehud Hrushovski (spring term); Professor Robert MacPherson (year); Professor Yuri Manin (year); Professor Hartley Rogers (spring term); Professor Ruben Rosales (year); Professor Michael Sipser (spring term); Professor Alar Toomre (spring term); Professor David Vogan (fall term).

There was one Visiting Associate Professor in mathematics this year: Professor Michel van den Bergh from the Belgium National Center for Scientific Research.


New Appointments

Professor Gang Tian joins the Department from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. He is a well-known differential geometer.

Dr. Michael Brenner joins the Department from the University of Chicago as Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics, specialized in fluids and computational mathematics.


Dr. Alexander Goncharov was promoted to Associate Professor of Mathematics from a Lectureship appointment.

Dr. András Szenes was promoted to Assistant Professor following a C.L.E. Moore Instructorship appointment.

Honors, Prizes and Awards

Professors Richard Stanley and Daniel Stroock were elected as members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Assistant Professor Bonnie Berger received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award for a three year period. She was also given the Charles E. Reed Faculty Initiation Fund by MIT for her work on predicting structural features in protein sequences.

Assistant Professors Michel Goemans and András Szenes were awarded Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowships.

Assistant Professor Alan Edelman received a Science Partnership Award through a funding by the State Street Bank Foundation.

Assistant Professor James Propp received the 1922 Career Development Chair.

Graduate students Charles Rezk and Christopher Woodward received Alfred P. Sloan Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships.

Graduate students Timothy Chow, David Metzler, Malcolm Quinn and Richard Stone were awarded the Housman Award for excellence in teaching.

The MIT Mathematics Team placed third in the Putnam Intercollegiate Mathematics competition. Ruth Britto-Pacumio scored the highest among all women competitors, and was awarded the Elizabeth Lowell Putnam Prize.

Ruth Britto-Pacumio also received the Alice T. Schafer Mathematics Prize given by the Association for Women in Mathematics for excellence in mathematics by an undergraduate woman.

Senior Henry Cohn was awarded the Jon A. Bucsela Prize in Mathematics in recognition of distinguished scholastic achievement. Among those seniors awarded degrees in mathematics, fourteen were elected to the national honor society Phi Beta Kappa.


Professor Daniel Stroock follows Haynes Miller as Chairman of the Pure Mathematics Committee. The remaining committee chairs remain the same: Professor Michael Artin - Undergraduate Committee; Professor James Munkres - Committee of Advisors; Professor Richard Stanley - Applied Mathematics Committee; Professor David Vogan - Graduate Student Committee.


Among the educational initiatives of the department, here are the ones that involve the undergraduate core.

Some fine tuning has strengthened the curriculum. For several years, the department has offered three two-term calculus sequences: 18.01 & 18.02 Calculus, 18.011 & 18.021 Calculus with Applications, and 18.014 & 18.024 Calculus with Theory. Several of these courses are offered both in the fall and in the spring semesters.

In addition we will also offer a new calculus sequence, 18.01A and 18.02A beginning in the fall. This course is intended for students who have had some high school calculus but are not yet ready for multivariable calculus. It will cover the 18.01 material in the first half of the fall semester, and then begin with 18.02. As the students arrive with diverse backgrounds, we expect satisfying enrollments in all of our calculus offerings.

Freshman seminar offerings are doing well, with an average of three offered each term. The course in algebraic topology, 18.904 Seminar in Topology, is very successful as an undergraduate seminar. The honors version of differential equations, 18.034 Differential Equations, continues to be successful as well.

Efforts continue toward the improvement of the quality of teaching, with two programs started this year: practice teaching to put our teaching assistants into a classroom situation before they are assigned a recitation of their own, and a departmental teaching workshop at the beginning of each semester, organized by Professor James Propp and Dr. Lori Breslow. These initiatives supplement the mathematics department's successful videotaping program, which was organized many years ago by Professor Arthur Mattuck and by the Institute-wide teaching programs.

The Dean of Science has offered a program to videotape faculty and instructors. Professors Sy Friedman and Arthur Mattuck lead in the critiquing of the videotapes. Ms. Peggy Enders from the office of the Dean of Undergraduate Education hosts a series of meetings to orient and obtain feedback from recitation instructors, and to increase communication among faculty lecturing the core science courses at MIT.

David J. Benney

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95