ONR / SIAM / AWM
STANFORD UNIVERSITY, JULY 1997
Looking happy at the end
of the workshop: Row 4 (top): Dianne O'Leary (Maryland), Donna Calhoun
(Washington), Pam Cook (Delaware), Dawn Wheeler (AWM), Joyce McLaughlin
(Rensselaer). Row 3: Jennifer Mueller (Rensselaer), Elsa Newman (Marymount).
Row 2: Barbara Niethammer (Courant), Anna Georgieva (Duke), Suzanne Lenhart
(Workshop Organizer, Tennessee), Sylvia Wiegand (AWM President, Nebraska), Ruth
Pfeiffer (Maryland), Maeve McCarthy (Rice). Row 1: Ivonne Diaz-Rivera (Arizona
State), Carolyn Hill Coleman (Case Western Reserve).
This is an online version of a special
report that appeared in the AWM Newsletter, Volume 27, Number 6,
November-December 1997. This special report was written by AWM
President Sylvia Wiegand and edited, organized and laid out by AWM
Newsletter Editor Anne Leggett. Tamara Kolda prepared the online
version. AWM is very grateful to the Mathematics, Computer and Information
Sciences Division of the Office of Naval Research for their support of the
workshop program and of the printing of the Newsletter insert. Thanks
also to SIAM for their cooperation and help with the workshop and to the AWM
members who volunteered their time and expertise. Special thanks go to Suzanne
Lenhart for serving as organizer of this workshop and to Dawn Wheeler for
handling all the details of scheduling, correspondence, and publicity. Finally
we thank the participants and speakers for making the workshop so
Format of the
The Association for Women in Mathematics
(AWM), in conjunction with the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
(SIAM) and with funding from the Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences
Division of the Office of Naval Research (ONR), held an outstanding work shop
July 13-15, 1997 at the SIAM Annual Meeting. The workshop was the latest in a
series that AWM offers twice yearly to promote and encourage women advanced
graduate students and recent postdoctoral mathematicians.
This workshop featured 21 talented new women
mathematicians from all over the United States, with the state of Maryland best
represented by five of them. The participants in the July '97 event felt that
hearing others' research, meeting other graduate students and postdocs, and
meeting senior mathematicians (particularly women) were extremely valuable
activities for them. The opportunity to attend a meeting was also important.
The sessions focused on the reporting of
research results and the mentoring of graduate students and postdoctoral
mathematicians. Most of the sessions at the Workshop were open to the public,
and some events attracted a large number of other mathematicians.
The program included an informal discussion
period for mentors and participants, a banquet with keynote speech, an outdoor
lunch, graduate student poster sessions, an AWM minisymposium on
"Presenting Your Work and Yourself to the World: A Focus on Written
Communications," a panel discussion on research and funding opportunities,
and three research minisymposia featuring postdoctoral women: I. Mathematical
modeling, II. Optimization, and III. PDE's and Applications.
In addition to our publication of this
Newsletter insert, SIAM plans to publish the "Presenting Your
Work" and "Grantwriting" portions of the program as a guide for
participants and posters
Donna Calhoun and Barbara
Donna Calhoun (University of Washington)
displays her poster to Barbara Lee Keyfitz (University of Houston). Calhoun's
poster, "A Cartesian Grid Method for 2d Stefan Problem," involved
"tracking the moving interface that separates two phases (liquid and
solid) of a material and solves the heat equation in both regions." Donna
organized a student-run Numerical Analysis Journal Club at UW.
Maria Sosonkina Driver (Virginia Tech
University) presented the poster "Sparse Approximate Inverses in
Preconditioning of Distributed Linear Systems." Driver's research area is
numerical linear algebra and scientific computing, specifically in methods to
solve difficult nonlinear systems of equations. She is originally from Ukraine.
Carolyn Hill Coleman (Case Western Reserve
University) stands with Svetlana Rudnaya (University of Minnesota) at Rudnaya's
poster, "Application of Genetic Algorithms in Diffractive Optics
Design." Rudnaya is interested in industrial applications of mathematical
modeling and optimization techniques; currently she is collaborating with
scientists at 3M on an optimal design problem arising in optics.
Carolyn Coleman and Svetlana
Coleman's poster on software she has developed
to perform analyses of diagnostic information was titled "Expanding
Generalized Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) Analysis." This has
applications in medicine to complications stemming from very low birth weight.
A former high school teacher, Coleman is married and has a 15-year-old son.
Anna V. Georgieva (Duke University), shown
with her poster "Nonlinear Particle Chains with Alternating Masses,"
studies wave propagation in this context and proves rigorously the existence of
periodic traveling waves. She describes her research as "a well-balanced
mixture between abstract mathematical theory and concrete calculation."
Ruth Pfeiffer (University of Maryland) worked
on "A Threshold Estimation Problem for Stochastic Processes with
Hysteresis." Pfeiffer, who has held NASA and Fulbright fellowships, is
originally from Austria. She has been the co-chair of the University of
Maryland Women in Mathematics seminar. Her main research interest is in the
modeling of scientific data; for example she has been studying rainfall in the
tropics and estimating rain rates (a joint project between the U.S. and Japan).
Ivonne Diaz-Rivera, Rudy
Debra Polignone Warne
Ivonne Diaz-Rivera (Arizona State University)
explains her poster, "The Dynamics of Queues of Re-entrant Manufacturing
Systems," to Rudy Home (University of Colorado) and Debra Polignone Warne
(University of Tennessee). Diaz-Rivera is enthusiastic about this research
using recent developments in dynamical systems and chaos theory; it's "an
exciting ex ample of the use of mathematics in solving industrial
problems." She has been Chairperson of a Women in Math group at ASU and
was Vice-President of the Hispanic Club while at AT&T.
Kristen S. Moore (University of Connecticut)
presented the poster "On a Singular Semilinear Elliptic Boundary Value
Problem with Boundary Blowup." Moore is interested in applying qualitative
and quantitative methods to nonlinear partial differential equations which
arise from mechanical problems. She has previously been an actuary.
Misha E. Kilmer (University of Maryland)
stands at her poster, "Cauchy-like Preconditioners and 2-D Ill- posed
Problems." The integral equations that model processes in seismography,
tomography, and signal and image processing are often ill-posed in that small
changes in data can cause arbitrarily large changes in the solution. Kilmer has
worked on finding a regularized solution. She has also studied underwater
I. Minisymposium on Mathematical
Organized by Suzanne M. Lenhart (University of
Tennessee), this minisymposium included a variety of mathematical models and
applications. Both continuous and discrete models were considered.
Gabriella Pintér and
Gabriella A. Pintér (Ph.D. Texas Tech
University, now at North Carolina State University) spoke on "Global
Attractors for Damped Abstract Nonlinear Hyperbolic Systems." These
systems arise in the study of smart material structures (elastomers, which are
used in the development of active and passive vibration devices). Pinter
brought her three-month-old daughter, Anna, to the workshop.
Debra Polignone Warne (Ph.D. University of
Virginia, now at University of Tennessee) discussed "Non-symmetric
Deformations in Incompressible Nonlinear Elasticity," research in
continuum mechanical modeling and related areas. She studies gross material
behavior and governing principles of such behavior in solids and fluids.
The topic of Kathleen A. Rogers (Ph.D.
University of Maryland, now at University of Minnesota) was "Stability
Properties of Equilibria within a Continuum Mechanics Model of DNA
Minicirdes." The motivation for these results arose from a problem in the
study of DNA structure.
Hong Zhou (Ph.D. University of California,
Berkeley, now at University of North Carolina) spoke about "The Effect of
Dynamics Surface Tension on the Oscillation of Slender Elliptical Newtonian
Jets." Her research is in computational fluid mechanics and mathematical
modeling of fibers and liquid crystal polymers.
Postdoc Debra Polignone Warne, Workshop
Organizer Suzanne Lenhart, AWM Meetings Director Dawn Wheeler, and AWM
President Sylvia Wiegand leaving a Palo Alto Restaurant.
II. Minisymposium on
This minisymposium, organized by Margaret H.
Wright (Bell Laboratories), presented a variety of optimization problems with
varied applications. There were also illustrations of the impact of scientific
computing on these problems.
Dana Bedivan (Ph.D. from and presently at the
University of Texas at Arlington) spoke on "Least Squares Methods for
Optimal Shape Problems." Her work has been motivated by problems that
arise in semiconductor design. She has also been an editor for a Romanian
Tamara G. Kolda (Ph.D. University of Maryland,
now at Oak Ridge National Laboratory) discussed "Information Retrieval via
Limited-Memory Matrix Methods," where she says, "the goal in
information retrieval is to match documents against a user's query." Kolda
has chaired Maryland's Women in Mathematics group.
An intent audience:
Participants at the Workshop
Lianfen Qian (Ph.D. Michigan State University,
presently at Florida Atlantic University), is a statistician working on
nonlinear time series analysis. Her work, "On Maximum Likelihood
Estimators for a Threshold Autoregression," involves various phenomena
such as limit cycles, harmonic distortion and chaos. In many cases, for example
the temperature of the sea surface and pollen concentration at various depths
of a lake, the associated functions are discontinuous, and it is helpful to
study a maximum likelihood estimator.
Zhiyun Yang (Ph.D. University of Washington,
now at Pacificorp) spoke on "The Solution of the Elliptic Boundary Value
Problems on Irregular Regions." She has focused on a wavelet approach to
solving elliptic problems arising from computational chemistry.
III. Minisymposium on PDE's and
Joyce R. McLaughlin (Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute) organized this minisymposium, in which several different PDE models
were discussed, along with a variety of physical and biological applications
and some methods for analyzing them.
Xin Chen (Ph.D. at Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute, now at University of Illinois) works in systems and control; she
applies her mathematical skills to a broad spectrum of engineering problems.
Her presentation was on "Worst Case L-infinity to L-infinity Gain
Minimization via State Feedback."
Dawn A. Lott-Crumpler (Ph.D. Northwestern
University, now at New Jersey Institute of Technology) spoke on "The
Quasilinear Wave Equation Governing Compressional Wave Motions of Nonlinearly
Elastic Bodies: A Numerical Approach." This problem arose from physical
phenomena in solid and fluid mechanics. She also studies the formation of shear
bands in metals, a phenomenon that occurs because straining the metal increases
its temperature and the increased temperature weakens the material.
Elsa Newman (Ph.D. Emory University, now at
Marymount University) spoke on "Axisymmetric Flow in Transonic
Aerodynamics." Newman's work, related to transonic flight, deals with
equations that arise in the design of fuel-efficient axisymmetric bodies and
the study of axisymmetric jet flows. Transonic flow is flow with speed close to
the speed of sound. Much commercial flight (e.g., 747's) is in this range, so
there is much interest in this topic. Originally from North Carolina, Newman is
married and has a two-year-old daughter.
Barbara Niethammer (Ph.D. University of Bonn,
now at Courant Institute, NYU) is interested in equations which describe phase
separation in binary alloys and elasticity. She spoke on "Derivation of
the Lifshitz-Slyozov Theory for Coarsening by Homogenization Methods." An
example of coarsening is solid formation in undercooled liquid: the system
evolves to minimize surface area. Due to surface tension, large particles grow
at the expense of the smaller ones which shrink and disappear.
Senior mathematicians and advice:
General, writing and funding
The advice given here comes from the informal
discussions, the keynote speech, a panel discussion on funding and a
minisymposium on developing writing skills.
Discussion Group. At
front: Suzanne Lenhart (Tennessee), Xin Chen (University of Illinois
Laboratories), Marsha Berger (CIMS), Margaret Cheney (Rensselaer), Rosemary
Chang (Silicon Graphics)
On Sunday afternoon, at the beginning of the
workshop, the participants and four senior mathematicians gathered for a
introductory get-together. The senior mathematicians, Rosemary Chang, Margaret
Cheney, Marsha Berger and Suzanne Lenhart, each told about her own job or
situation when a student. Then the senior mathematicians gave advice about
success in careers, such as:
Make a strong contribution in one research
area to get tenure. Do not spread yourself too thin at first.
Pick your fights carefully. Fights take
time and effort, and you do not want to be known as someone who fights on every
issue. Decide what issues are worth fighting about.
Introduce yourself to colleagues at
conferences. Collect and hand out business cards. Send follow-up email messages
and try to maintain contacts.
Try not to teach in the summer. Go to
conferences and get some research done in the summer.
- Get two mentors (if possible), one inside your department
and one outside your department. Try to find someone to answer your
"stupid" questions (which are probably not that "stupid").
The participants also raised some issues and questions. The
issue of finding a job seemed crucial. Elsa Newman suggested that you should be
well-informed about calculus reform and have some opinions on reform before
going on an interview.
You should also think about other curriculum
issues such as standards and cooperative learning. Possibilities of
post-doctoral fellowships were discussed. Balancing family and work was an
issue of interest With a supportive spouse, the group was optimistic about
achieving this balance and being successful in a career.
On Sunday evening, Pam Cook, Chair of her
department at the University of Delaware, spoke at the AWM banquet on
"Thoughts from a chair(person)." When she first went to Delaware 15
years ago she was the only woman with a tenured or tenure track position; now
there are four such women in a faculty of 36. Still Cook is one of very few
women chairs of Ph.D.-granting math departments, roughly four out of 156. This
clearly indicates that we still have a long way to go. She was emphatic that
senior faculty ought to mentor junior female faculty; she has benefitted
greatly as Chair from mentoring by a female Dean. Her position on the SIAM
board is a networking aid.
She also told the participants of five rules
for being a successful woman mathematician given by Audrey Terras in the
May-June AWM Newsletter: (1) Don't ever give up, (2) Keep
learning and teaching, (3) Network, go to' meetings, give talks, collaborate,
(4) Do useful math, and (5) Have a (good) life! Cook added that it's important
to be flexible and to expand your area of expertise.
Originally from Ontario, Canada, Cook received
her Ph.D. from Cornell University and is married with two children. She and her
husband had a difficult time resolving the two-body problem, which she didn't
explain because "it would take a whole page!" She's interested in
Dianne O'Leary, a mentor at the workshop,
received her Ph.D. from Stanford University and is now a professor of Computer
Science at the University of Maryland. Married with three children, she and her
husband solved the two-body problem by "looking in metropolitan
areas." Her fields of interest are numerical analysis, computational
linear algebra, optimization, and ill-posed problems.
The ability to communicate is a key to success
in academia and industry. This was the focus of the Monday morning
minisymposium "Presenting Your Work and Yourself to the World: A Focus on
Writ ten Communications," organized by Linda R. Petzold (University of
California, Santa Barbara). The author must clearly display the relevance
of technical work, even of excellent technical work. How to write journal
articles and grant proposals was also discussed.
Petzold is currently Professor in the
Departments of Computer Science and Mechanical and Environmental Engineering
and Director of the Computational Science and Engineering Program at Santa
Barbara. She spoke on "Overcoming Proposal Phobia." Although writing
a proposal may seem overwhelming, it is an opportunity to clarify, plan and
prepare for your future research, to communicate your excitement and to explain
the importance of your work. Applying for a grant involves selling your project
and yourself, being a salesperson. Some questions to ask yourself: What do you
want to do? Why? What good is it? (Talk to others about it and convince them,
and then you will convince yourself.) Are there problems that could be solved
better as a result of this work? To get over the initial writer's block, use a
successful proposal for a model. Some don'ts: Don't use a small font to fit
your proposal into the page limits. Don't be overly pedantic. Don't forget to
mention other's work. Don't be too negative about the potential difficulties.
Petzold, who received her Ph.D. in Computer
Science in 1978 from the University of Illinois, was awarded the Wilkinson
Prize for Numerical Software in 1991. She has served as SIAM Vice President for
Publications since 1993 and as Editor in Chief of the SIAM Journal on
Scientific Computing, 1989-1993. Her research interests include numerical
ordinary differential equations, differential- algebraic equations, partial
differential equations, numerical optimization, parameter estimation and
optimal control for PDE systems, mathematical software, parallel computing and
Lloyd (Nick) Trefethen, now associated with
Oxford, spoke on "How I Write"; he has always loved to write and
finds it to be one of the pleasures of academic life. Trefethen's talk was
amusing, sprinkled with little poems by Piet Hein, a Danish poet well-known for
his "grooks," for example: "If no thought/ your mind does visit/
make your speech/ not too explicit."
Trefethen especially emphasized his habit of
endlessly polishing his papers. He described the iterative procedure of taking
a draft, using a red pen, and producing an improved draft "you keep going
until f(x)=x." But he admitted that he "can't rest until it's utterly
simple and utterly clear," that he wants the "best theorem and the
best proof." This never quite happens, so his projects take a long time.
(His students once made a point of presenting him with a large box of red
Trefethen has worked on various problems in
applied mathematics and numerical analysis. In 1988 he married Anne Daman, from
England, also a Ph.D. in numerical analysis. In 1985 he won the first Fox Prize
in Numerical Analysis, and in 1986 he received a Presidential Young
Investigator Award. More recently his work concerns eigenvalue problems and
their applications in fluid mechanics and other fields.
Margaret Wright's title, "Writing: A
String that Makes the Necklace," came from a quote of Gustave Flaubert:
"Ideas are the pearls/ But writing/ Is the string that makes/ The
necklace." Wright, who is at Bell Labs, emphasized the importance of
writing skills for almost every successful career, although she cautioned that
there is no single magic formula for writing well. Some of the general
principles she mentioned were similar to advice she has given for delivering
research talks: (1) Practice, practice, practice! (2) The content matters but
isn't enough. (3) Know you're in charge; know what you want to say and make
sure you say it. She also mentioned revising endlessly and suggested consulting
references for grammar and style.
After receiving her Ph.D. from Stanford
University, Wright remained there for twelve years in the Department of
Operations Research. From 1988 to the present, she has been at Bell Labs.
Wright, who served as President of SIAM in 1995-96, is interested in
optimization, linear algebra, numerical analysis, and scientific computing.
Deborah Lockhart and
Deborah Lockhart spoke in the Writing
Minisymposium on "Preparation of Research Grant Proposals,"
particularly for the National Science Foundation, where she has been a program
director for nine years. Lockhart earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute in the area of continuum mechanics. In her talk, she
included suggestions for the effective presentation of ideas as well as
proposal development, preparation, format, and style. Her main points were: (1)
Have a great idea, (2) Know your audience, (3) Follow instructions, and (4) Ask
for help. She emphasized particularly that you should know the ground rules,
the scope and mission of the funding source, and how they evaluate and that you
should talk to the program officer. Key questions to ask yourself: What do you
intend to do? Why is this research important? What has already been done? (Give
the background and list all relevant research.) How are you going to do the
work? Al Thaler, also at NSF and in the audience, also stressed calling the
program officer; you can get candid information.
Later on Monday in the panel discussion on
funding and research, Lockhart described several relevant NSF programs,
including the POWRE program (Professional Opportunities for Women in Research
and Education), Postdoctoral Research Fellowships, the Faculty Early Career
Development program, the Research in Undergraduate Institution (RUI) program,
and Research Opportunity Awards submission, as well as the regular program.
As examples of research opportunities, Fadil
Santosa, the associate director of the Minnesota Center for Industrial
Mathematics, described three workshops at the IMA of possible interest to
participants: Dynamical Systems, Mathematics and Biology, and Reactive Flows.
He also mentioned opportunities for rewarding collaborative research with
industry. Santosa, who also oversees the graduate degree program in Industrial
Mathematics offered at Minnesota's School of Mathematics, received his Ph.D.
from the University of Illinois in 1980; he works in several areas of applied
mathematics including inverse problems, imaging, optimization, wave propagation
and nondestructive evaluations.
The funding panel:
Deborah Lockhart, Suzanne Lenhart (moderator), Fadil Santosa, and John
John Tague of the Office of Naval Research
spoke on winning grantsmanship. Tague emphasized that along with writing an
effective proposal, it is important to develop a good working relationship with
the program officer and stay in touch with the program officer after the award
has been received. In Tague's opinion, "star" performers are those
who deliver what they promise and take the initiative in finding out what
problems the program officer wants solved. They are active participants in the
program, communicate with the program officer regularly, and send paper
pre-prints and slides describing the objectives and results of the project.
Suzanne Lenhart, the Organizer of this work
shop, received her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Kentucky.
Lenhart has also kindly agreed to organize the SIAM Workshop to be held in
Toronto in 1998. In addition to her faculty position at the University of
Tennessee, Lenhart has been a part-time employee of Oak Ridge National
Laboratory since 1987. She was the Sonia Kovalevski Guest Professor at the
University of Kaiserslautern, Germany, in the spring of 1994 and gave an AWM
invited lecture at the MAA meeting in Atlanta in August of 1997.
Lenhart's research area is partial
differential equations and optimal control. Her current emphasis is on
environmental and population models. Her application areas have ranged from
robotics to managing beaver populations to optimal nutrient delivery strategies
for bioreactor models for hazardous waste remediation. Her work on optimal
control for chemotherapy strategies for AIDS models is the first work on
optimal control in AIDS biological-mathematical research. She has done research
in the areas of optimal control of competitive population models and viscosity
solutions for systems. Lenhart, who directs a Research Experiences for
Undergraduates (REU) summer program and has organized AWM Sonia Kovalevsky High
School Days and Post-doc and Graduate Student Workshops, is a former president
of the local Association for Women in Science chapter.
A driving force behind previous AWM/SIAM
workshops, Joyce McLaughlin, who has been Ford Foundation Professor of
Mathematics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute since 1992, not only organized
the workshops, but she also prepared the successful proposals which provided
the funding. McLaughlin, who earned her Ph.D. from the University of
California, Riverside, describes her main research interests as inverse
problems and optimization; she studies the use of spectral data in design and
identification. This work requires defining special data sets which yield
well-posed problems and for which accurate algorithms can be obtained. The
problems are nonlinear and have a wide range of application in nondestructive
testing, manufacturing, and geophysics.
McLaughlin has recently given seven major
invited addresses, including the Plenary Lecture at the SIAM 1996 annual
meeting. McLaughlin's professional activities include her position as Chair of
the SIAM Board of Trustees (1996-present) and her positions on several
editorial boards, including serving as Associate Editor for the Journal of
Mathematical Analysis and Applications.
Deborah Lockhart (NSF),
Margaret Wright (Bell Labs), Martha Siegel (Towson State), John Guckenheimer
(SIAM President; Cornell), and Al Thaler (NSF)
Copyright ©1998 Association for Women in Mathematics. All