Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

First-year students Robert McEwen of Morgantown, Pa., and Prince Chidyagwai of Marondera, Zimbabwe, will be joined this summer by eight students from other top colleges and universities for eight weeks of intensive research in mathematics at Lafayette.

McEwen and Chidyagwai will participate in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates from June 3-July 26, along with students from the University of California-Berkeley, Emory University, Princeton University, Trinity University, Carnegie Melon University, Hendrix College, Davidson College, and Humboldt State University.

The REU program at Lafayette attracted more than 150 applicants this year. Over 80 students have participated since 1992, notes Gary Gordon, professor of mathematics, who coordinates REU at Lafayette. Most have published papers in professional journals and/or presented talks on their summer research at national mathematics conferences.

The Lafayette students’ REU experience will be funded by the College’s EXCEL Scholars program, in which students assist faculty with research while earning a stipend. Working in computational geometry, the students will conduct research on the Carpenter’s Rule, a two-dimensional problem dating from the 1970s that was solved in 2000. Under Gordon’s supervision, they will implement an algorithm on computer and explore mathematical questions.

“The obvious application of this work is to robot arm motion,” says Gordon. “Robot motion problems are of wide and immediate interest, so any progress the students make should be of interest in theoretical computer science as well as in discrete geometry.”

Lafayette faculty members Thomas Hill, associate professor of mathematics, Qin Lu, assistant professor of mathematics, and John Meier, associate professor of mathematics, will lead the other students in problems dealing with differential equations, financial mathematics, and abstract algebra, respectively.

“Active research experience is considered one of the most effective ways to attract talented undergraduates to and retain them in careers in science and engineering, including careers in teaching,” says the National Science Foundation. “REU projects feature high quality interaction of students with faculty and/or other research mentors and access to appropriate facilities and professional development opportunities.”

Categorized in: Academic News