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Briggs collage

LBC faculty recieve grants to support summer Research Experience for Undergraduates

Faculty in Lyman Briggs College, the Department of Mathematics, and the Department of Statistics & Probability were recently awarded grants from the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation to continue their summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).

The program, The Summer Undergraduate Research Institute in Experimental Mathematics (SURIEM), is led by LBC mathematics professors Dr. Robert Bell and Dr. Aklilu Zeleke. SURIEM is a summer program that allows undergraduate students with diverse backgrounds to spend eight weeks in Holmes Hall researching current topics in mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics.

Faculty mentors select topics which are accessible to undergraduate students and which are of active interest to research mathematicians. The problems these students tackle in SURIEM often have no known solution.

During the program, students formulate and test conjectures by researching literature on the topic, conducting computer experiments, corresponding with outside sources, and constructing examples. The ultimate goal is to understand their topic well enough to state and prove mathematical theorems, which codify their observations and discoveries. Students then prepare a final report and seek to publish their research in a scientific journal. Most students present their findings in the regional Michigan mathematics conference as well as at national mathematics meetings such MathFest and the Joint Mathematics Meetings.

With support from these external grants and internal support from MSU, SURIEM will be host 18 students this summer. The research topics for this summer include:

  • Combinatorial games on graphs
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Robert Bell (LBC & Mathematics)
  • Recursive polynomials
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Aklilu Zeleke (LBC & Statistics)
  • Random fractals and Brownian motion
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Yimin Xiao (Statistics)
  • Mathematics of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
    • Faculty mentors: Dr. Mark Iwen and Dr. Tsveta Sendova (both in Mathematics)