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Packard Foundation Grant Supports Columbia’s Efforts to Address the Under-representation of Women in Mathematics

Ivan Corwin, Professor of Mathematics and 2014 Packard Fellow in Science and Engineering, has been awarded a $40,000 award as part of the Increasing Diversity in STEM pilot program for Packard Fellows. The award will support the “Pathways for Women into Higher Mathematics” project.

The Packard Foundation’s goal in this initiative is to support Fellows’ efforts to increase the representation and inclusion of underrepresented groups (URGs) in their departments and universities.

The Pathways for Women into Higher Mathematics project will involve two pathway activities for women interested in mathematics to help guide them towards the possibilities that lay ahead in higher mathematics: the organization of the “Sonya Kovalevsky Day” for middle school aged students and a two-day Graduate Opportunities for Women (GROW) Conference to take place in 2024 and 2025.

Named after the Russian pioneer woman mathematician, the “Sonya Kovalevsky Day” will bring primarily female middle schoolers from NYC’s under-resourced schools and their teachers to Columbia to engage in hands-on workshops led by faculty and students.

The GROW Conference will bring women (cisgender, transgender, or woman-identified) and non-binary undergraduate students, primarily from non-tier I colleges or universities, to help them envision a potential career and graduate study in mathematics or statistics. GROW has been running for about 10 years, in rotating locations, and has engaged over 1,000 students over its duration.

The Packard Foundation’s support will be complemented with financial support and extensive mentorship and organizational support from the Columbia Mathematics and Statistics departments, as well as the Irving Institute for Cancer Dynamics. Corwin summed it up, saying, “these pathway activities will add to many exciting ongoing efforts at Columbia to attract a diverse population of students to higher mathematics and retain their interest and excitement.”



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In Memoriam – Henry Pinkham

With profound sadness and grief we write to share the passing of Henry Pinkham, who recently passed away. Professor Pinkham was a beloved member of the department for nearly 50 years, and also served as the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences for 9 years. Our heartfelt condolences go out to family, friends, and colleagues. His presence in our department will be dearly missed.

In Memoriam of Professor Henry Pinkham

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Department Course Offerings for the 2020-21 Academic Year

In response to the University’s plan for a three-term academic year, students may find a tentative plan for Mathematics courses at the following link:




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COVID-19 News and updates

For current news and guidance about Columbia’s response to COVID-19, please visit:





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Michael Zhao Memorial Fund

Donations may now be made online to a fund in memory of Michael Zhao, a doctoral student in the Department who passed away on December 8, 2018.

Michael Zhao was an outstanding undergraduate at the University of Utah, graduating in 2017.  He completed Part III at the University of Cambridge and began here as a doctoral student in September 2018, only a few months before his tragic death.  He had planned to specialize in number theory.  Everyone here was devastated by the loss of such a promising young scholar.

Donations to the memorial fund may be made here:

Funds may be used for a physical memorial to Michael in the Department, for expenditures to benefit doctoral students in the Department, or both.  Please give generously.

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In Memoriam — Michael Zhao

The Department mourns the sudden and unexpected loss of its first-year doctoral student, Michael Zhao.  Michael was an outstanding undergraduate at the University of Utah.  He came here after spending a year as a Part III student in Cambridge.  Michael had made a promising start on his doctoral studies here and was planning to specialize in number theory or algebraic geometry.  He is survived by his parents, Shaoqing Song and Fuli Zhao, and by a brother, Alan Zhao.  The Department will announce a memorial gathering for him in the near future.

Funeral Arrangements have been made, as follows:


Friday, 12/21/2018 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Viewing
Saturday, 12/22/2018 12:00 – 2:00 PM – Viewing; 2:00 – 3:00 PM – Funeral Services


Larkin Sunset Gardens
950 E. Dimple Dell Road
Sandy, UT 84092


Michael Zhao

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2018 REU Presentations

Each summer the department hosts an intensive 10 week research program for Columbia undergraduates. This summer 17 undergrad students participated, working under the direction of faculty and grad student advisors. The students will give presentations of their work on Wednesday, August 1 from 1:30pm – 3:00pm in 417 Math. Each group will give a short talk (about 20 minutes). All are invited to attend.

The projects are:

Knot Floer homology, bordered algebras and double points” (faculty advisors: Akram Alishahi and Linh Truong)

  • Joseph Freund
  • Abhishek Kodumagulla
  • Max Krawczyk
  • Ayeong Lee
  • Bharatha Rankothge
  • Hsin Pei Toh

Enumerative geometry and arithmetic” (faculty advisors Jo Nelson and Ila Varma)

  • (Alex) Zhongyi Zhang – Grad Student
  • Teresa Brown
  • Quang Dao
  • Mariya Delyakova
  • Lucas Furtado
  • Evan Wickenden
  • Myeonhu Kim

Curves on surfaces over finite fields” (faculty advisors: Daniel Litt and Alex Perry)

  • Raymond Cheng – Grad Student
  • Ben Church
  • Chunying Huangdai
  • Matthew Lerner-Brecher
  • Navtej Singh
  • Ming Jing



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Profs. Andrei Okounkov and Wei Zhang to speak at 2018 International Congress of Mathematicians

Congratulations to Professors Andrei Okounkov and Wei Zhang, who have been selected to speak at the 2018 International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM). The next ICM will be held August 1 – 9, 2018 in Rio de Janeiro , Brazil. For a full list of speakers, and more details about the event, visit the ICM website:



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Simon Brendle selected as a 2017 Simons Investigator

Congratulations to Prof. Simon Brendle, who was recently selected as a 2017 Simons Investigator!

Simon Investigators are outstanding scientists who receive long-term research support from the Simons Foundation. This is intended to support the scientist during 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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Stacks Project Workshop

A week long workshop in Algebraic Geometry will be held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, from July 31 to August 4, 2017. The workshop is intended to support the ongoing Stacks Project, lead by Prof. Johan de Jong.

For more information, please visit the workshop website:


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