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Welcome Incoming Class of 2016

Welcome to the 2016 cohort of graduate students! A list of our new phd students can be found at:

As a reminder, fall classes begin Tuesday, September 6.

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Prof. Emerita Joan Birman elected as Honorary Member of the London Mathematical Society

Please congratulate Prof. Joan Birman, who was recently elected as an Honorary Member of the London Mathematical Society!

According to the London Mathematical Society website:

“Each year, the Council of the Society considers the election of Honorary Members of the Society from amongst distinguished mathematicians who are not normally resident within the United Kingdom.  The election of Honorary Members is made by Council, subject to confirmation by the Society at an Ordinary Meeting.”

As one of the members of the 2015 Honorary Membership recipients, Prof. Birman’s selection was announced in a recent publication of the Bulletin of the London Mathematical Society. The full announcement is available here:


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Wei Zhang awarded the 2016 ICCM Morningside Gold Medal

Congratulations to Professor Wei Zhang, who won the Morningside Gold Medal of Mathematics at the 7th International Congress of Chinese Mathematicians (ICCM) in Beijing on August 6, 2016 for his original contributions to number theory and automorphic forms. At most two Morningside Gold Medals are awarded to outstanding mathematicians of Chinese descent at the ICCM every three years.

For more information, please visit:

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Andrei Okounkov elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Please congratulate Prof. Andrei Okounkov, who was recently elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences!

Prof. Okounkov joins a distinguished list of scholars and thinkers from a variety of fields and disciplines. As posted on the Academy’s website:

“The Academy membership encompasses over 4,600 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members and reflects the full range of disciplines and professions: mathematics, the physical and biological sciences, medicine, the social sciences and humanities, business, government, public affairs, and the arts. Among the Academy’s Fellows are more than 250 Nobel laureates and 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.”

For a complete list of the 2016 members, including Prof. Okounkov, please visit:

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2016 REU Program Application now available

Applications are now open for the annual Undergraduate Summer Research Program. For information on the program, including a link to the application materials, please visit the REU website. All continuing Columbia/Barnard undergraduates are eligible to apply.

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Welcome new students!

Welcome to the 2015 cohort of graduate students! A list of our new phd students can be found at:

As a reminder, fall classes begin Tuesday, September 8.



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Jennifer Hom awarded Sloan Fellowship

Jennifer Hom, an Assistant Professor in the Mathematics Department, was recently selected as a recipient for the prestigious Sloan Fellowship award. From the Sloan Research Fellowship website:

“The Sloan Research Fellowships seek to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise. These two-year fellowships are awarded yearly to 126 researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field.”

For more information on the fellowships, and for a complete list of recent winners, visit:

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Andrei Okounkov Selected as Simons Investigator

Congratulations to Prof. Andrei Okounkov for being selected as a Simons Investigator under the Simons Foundation Investigators Program (2014).

Simon Investigators are outstanding theoretical scientists who receive long-term research support from the Simons Foundation. This supports the scientists in their most productive years, when they are establishing creative new research directions, providing leadership to the field, and effectively mentoring junior scientists. For more information about the Simons Foundation and this award, visit their webpage.

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Robert Friedman Awarded the Mark Van Doren Teaching Award

Congratulations to Prof. Robert Friedman for winning the Mark Van Doren Teaching award! This honor is given by the Columbia College Academic Awards Committee to recognize a faculty’s humanity, devotion to truth, and inspiring leadership.

The Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching has been awarded annually since 1962 and was established in honor of Mark Van Doren GSAS ’21, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, novelist, scholar, and legendary teacher who inspired generations of Columbia students. Check out all the previous award winners here, and find out more information about Columbia College’s Academic Prizes.

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Spring 2014 Kolchin Lecture by Prof. Melvin Hochster

The Spring 2014 Kolchin Lecture by Prof. Melvin Hochster (University of Michigan) will take place on Thursday, May 1, 2014.

Prof. Hochster will deliver a talk titled:

“Bounding syzygies and the nature of subrings of polynomial rings”

Abstract: A famous theorem of Hilbert asserts that in the polynomial ring in N variables over a field K, if one repeatedly takes modules of relations (or “syzygies”), the process terminates after at most N steps. One may think of having, at each step, finitely many vectors of polynomials. At the next step one replaces them with finitely many generators for the relations among these vectors. Even if one starts with relations on individual polynomials, one must deal with vectors as one iterates. Recently, there has been a great deal of study of how many steps are needed if one starts with n polynomials of degree d but without any assumption about N. The question was raised by Michael Stillman, and the best answer is not known even for four quadrics or three cubics, nor is it known in general whether there is a bound that depends only on b, n. The talk will survey what is known and discuss recent joint work with Tigran Ananyan that shows such bounds exist in degrees 2, 3, and 4. The methods used raise fundamental questions about the nature of subrings and of ideals in polynomial rings that go far beyond the original motivation. The talk is intended for a general audience.

Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 5:30pm; Room 312 Math

*Kolchin Lecture Flyer*

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