Homecoming Department Breakfast
Saturday, October 8 from 8:30 - 10:00 a.m.
Science Center, Room 184
All department graduates, their spouses, and especially their children (future department majors) are invited to our annual Department Homecoming Continental Breakfast.
Between now and Homecoming, please contact your Math and CS major classmates. Tell them to meet you at the department breakfast. We want to see all of you.
Please register for Homecoming and our department breakfast at the alumni website >> .
Dr. Perciante to Retire
After teaching for 40 years at Wheaton College, Dr. Perciante has announced his plans to retire at the end of this school year. Although no one else is in agreement with this decision, he seems adamant about it.
We will be celebrating all of his contributions to the lives of students, faculty and the College in the spring. Some of you may like to participate by writing a personal note to Dr. Perciante which we will collect, collate and give to him at that time.
Please send your note to our department secretary, Kelly Pierotti, at Math/CS Department, Wheaton College, 501 College Ave., Wheaton, IL 60187.
Dr. Perciante’s announced retirement opens a faculty position in the math department for the fall 2012. The job description is provided below. The complete advertisement can be viewed online >>.
If you know of genuine believers who could be candidates for this position, please direct them to the website through which they can submit their credentials.
Candidates must possess a Ph.D. in mathematics or applied mathematics. Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to excellence in undergraduate teaching and liberal arts education with an intentionally Christian perspective. Applicants are sought with specialties in all areas but especially in analysis, applied mathematics, topology, or math history and foundations. The ideal candidate will have a personal scholarly agenda with which he or she can promote undergraduate research while mentoring students in spiritual and personal growth.
Applied Mathematics Major
One year ago the department initiated a new major option for students who might be interested in joining mathematics to science in a way that could address major world issues. The objective is to engage in applied mathematics research but always in the context of ministry and outreach. In contrast to the 34 semester hours required for our long estab-lished math major, completion of the new applied major requires some 50 semester hours of mathematics work with supporting courses in science, computing, and completion of a mentored research project. Now, only one year after its initiation, seven students have already declared majors in applied mathematics.
As part of their major program, two applied math students accompanied by Dr. Paul Isihara traveled during this past summer to southwestern Mexico where they simultaneously worked at a mission station while also studying math modeling issues related to earthquakes and plate techtonics. Their research results will be submitted to refereed journals this fall for publication. Part of their mission work involved construction of an earthquake resistant camp facility.
The major portion of the cost for this trip was underwritten by a number of mathematics alumni. They not only enabled this experience for the applied math majors, but their participation in Wheaton’s ministry provides ongoing encouragement to future applied math majors who will also learn to intentionally join mathematics expertise to Christian witness. The department is very grateful to those who offered financial support for this endeavor.
Amazing Student Experiences
During the past few months, more than a few of our computer science and mathematics majors have either gained some well deserved notoriety and/or have enjoyed a variety of amazing experiences.
The front page of the September 2, 2011 edition of the Wheaton Record featured three computer science majors who created a mobile “app” for iPhone and Android device users. Drew Hannay, Andrew Wolfe, and Alisa Maas made their program in such a way that students can view the Bon Appétit menu, the chapel schedule, and a campus map. The “app” also provides mobile access to the campus intranet’s “Who’s Who” page (commonly known as Stalkernet). Additional features currently in the works include the installation of the schedule of open floor events in Fischer and Smith-Traber as well as the Graduate School chapel schedule.
While Drew, Andrew, and Alisa worked on their mobile “app”, Brian Larson spent his senior fall semester overseas at the very challenging Budapest Mathematics Semester in Hungary. This year Brian is teaching mathematics at the Hope Academy in Chicago.
Gaining admission to summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates has become incredibly competitive in the last few years. Nonetheless, Ben Fulan and Jeff Sommars gained positions for REU’s this past summer. Ben did research in the general area of Geometry at Kent State University in Ohio, while Jeff participated in an REU in Computational Algebraic Geometry at Texas A&M.
Also during this past summer, Dr. Steve Lovett led a group of students in a mentored research project in the area of Differential Geometry. In addition to their work at Wheaton, Nathan Bliss, Nate Veldt, and Gary Babatz spent an intensive two weeks working together with Dr. Lovett in Maine at Bowdoin College. They reportedly also made fast work of more than a few Maine lobsters, an apparent nourishment need required for heightened cognitive effort.
The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science is currently in the process of completing a grant application to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) for a sum in excess of 1 million dollars. The project will be aimed at engaging Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students in facilitating the new portable tablet computing devices (i.e. iPads and Android devices) for enhanced classroom applications as well as for field experiments especially related to humanitarian relief efforts and related ministries.
The overarching vision of this proposal is to introduce tablet technology into the education and practice of science at the undergraduate and secondary level. The objectives first involve the creation of an ideally suited cloud computing architecture for the gathering, processing, and display of scientific information. Whenever possible, the project will leverage existing opensource software and will produce only opensource “apps” as well. The program further intends to utilize this architecture for electronic textbooks, in-class presentations, control of laboratory instruments and applications to field work.
The STEM by Tablet Technology (STEM by T2) project will employ upper level undergraduate students at every stage of development, thereby training students to become experts in programming and developing apps for tablets. Regular students at Wheaton College will benefit from classes, labs, and field work managed via tablet technology. Furthermore, we intend to train some pre-service secondary teachers to teach mathematics or science using tablet devices.
If this proposal is accepted and funded by HHMI, Applied Math students, Computer Science students, Physics majors, and other science students will immediately benefit from being hired under the grant to assist in software development and field testing in both classroom, laboratory, and catastrophe relief settings. Such funding will dramatically propel that which we are already doing on a more limited basis through our math mentoring, applied math, and research efforts.
Mathematics and Computing Competitions
The William Lowell Putnam Competition in Mathematics is considered to be the most difficult mathematics contest available to undergraduate math students. This year 4,296 contestants from 546 schools participated in the test. To emphasize the difficulty of the Putnam, note that out of a possible total of 120 points, nearly 50% of all contestants do not score any points at all.
This year, Wheaton College had nine students attempt the Putnam. Our designated and pre-identified team of three individuals achieved a Putnam rank of 87 out of the 546 schools. All nine of our Wheaton College participants achieved a score of at least 10, an amazing outcome by itself. One student posted a very significant score of 40, another gained a score of 30, and a third won 19 points. Unfortunately, two of our highest scoring individuals were not registered among the 3 team members who had to be identified and registered prior to the exam. All of the scores are outstanding and the performance of these students places them among the top undergraduate math students in our country.
Student mathematics teams also participated in the Associated Colleges of the Chicagoland Area (ACCA) Calculus competitions this year. Out of a possible 96 points, two Wheaton teams scored 92, placing them in a three way tie for first place. Our third team had the next highest score of 83. The median score of all 34 participating teams was 42, indicating just how challenging the competition was and how well our teams did.
The ACCA programming competition was hosted by Wheaton College this year. In the novice division our Wheaton teams won first and second place while in the advanced division Wheaton teams finished in first and third place.
Computer Science students also participated in the ACM Programming Contest. With 138 teams competing in our region, Wheaton finished 6th and 52nd.
Students who join our competition teams are rewarded with a specially selected math book and/or software for their participation. These awards are generously provided through a gift to the department from a former math/cs graduate who contributes funds to our program for the sake of encouraging our students.
Math/CS "Family" News
Number of Department Majors
(Includes Freshmen through Seniors)
Congratulations, Dr. and Mrs. Paul Isihara
The entire department is thoroughly delighted that during the summer of 2011, Dr. Paul Isihara married a wonderful, Christian Japanese woman. Hisae is a lovely and talented lady who is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and of course her native Japanese.
In describing the event Dr. Isihira said, “We were blessed with a wonderful wedding ceremony and reception in Nagoya on June 18 (Saturday), and another wonderful reception at the Nerima Church in Tokyo on Sunday.”
Despite initiating the required visa application for Mrs. Isihara back in June, the U.S. Naturalization and Immigration Service has not yet granted a visa to Hisae. We are praying with Paul and Hisae that the process will be completed very soon. We know that God is going to bless them mightily during their life together, and we all wish them God’s very best in their new relationship.
Introducing Members of the Class of 2032
|Vivian Pace Delzell
January 11, 2011
|Isaac Leif VanDrunen
January 23, 2011