Author: Damir Dzhafarov

In Memoriam: Professor Emeritus Murray Wachman

Murray Wachman

Professor Emeritus Murray Wachman passed away on September 29, 2021, after a serious illness of several weeks duration. His funeral was held on October 1 at 9 a.m. at the Weinstein Mortuary at 640 Farmington Avenue in Hartford. He was 90 years old.

Murray was born on February 1, 1931 in Tel Aviv which then lay in the (League of Nations) Mandate of Palestine administered by Great Britain. In 1941, his family moved to Brooklyn, New York. As an undergrad, he studied at Brooklyn College where he received his B.A. in 1953. Like most American men of that era, he served in the Army from 1953 till 1955.

Murray did his graduate work at the Mathematics Institute of New York University. The Institute had a defining presence in American applied mathematics and welcomed many refugee mathematicians before and after the Second World War. It was renamed for its founder and is now called the Courant Institute of the Mathematical Sciences.

His masters degree was granted in 1956. He then worked as a mathematical analyst and programmer at Republic Aircraft from 1957 to 1959 and, from 1959 to 1967, as a group leader in the General Electric Space Science Laboratory. Those industrial jobs overlapped with his doctoral study.

Murray received his doctorate in 1961. His doctoral supervisor was Fritz John who had been a student of Courant in Göttingen. Murray’s research there concerned the isolated non-removable (essential) singularities of linear elliptic partial differential equations (PDEs). He then moved to applications in celestial mechanics, gas mechanics and, later, biological systems. Along the way, he worked on numeric solutions of PDEs and generalized series solutions of elliptic PDEs in finite dimensions. He described his area of interest as generalized complex variables.

At UConn, Murray played a key role in introducing applied mathematics as a significant research area in the mathematics department. He supervised the graduate program during the period when doctoral study matured from one producing an occasional graduate to one much like the one we now have. He recognized the opportunity provided by the influx, into American academia, of students from China whose studies had been interrupted by the Cultural Revolution; that period is often dated as occurring from 1966 till 1976.

Murray was a warm, caring colleague and friend. He will be missed by those of us who were fortunate enough to know him.

Welcoming New Students and New Faculty

Monteith

Welcome back, Huskies!

Welcome to the Fall 2021 semester, and to a new academic year!

This semester, we are joined by a class of 10 new PhD students and 10 new MS students!

We are very pleased to welcome new faculty joining our ranks! These include Julia Bernatska (Lecturer), Andreas Malmendier (Associate Professor), and Andrew Niedzielski (Lecturer, Actuarial Science).

We wish everyone a happy, safe, and productive semester!

Professor Cardetti Receives NSF Grant to Help Develop Mathematics Teacher Leaders for Connecticut

Cardetti

Professor Fabiana Cardetti has been awarded an NSF grant to support the project Developing Mathematics Teacher Leaders for Connecticut Alliance School Districts with Co-PIs Megan Staples and Gladis Kersaint from the Neag School of Education and in partnership with the State Department of Education. The project aims to serve the national interest by developing highly effective mathematics teacher leaders who can address the mathematics-specific instructional needs of high-needs and low-performing school districts in Connecticut. The 5-year mathematics leadership development program is bolstered by, and advances, the growing body of research on teacher leadership and its impact on supporting equitable outcomes in mathematics education.

Image caption: Fabian Cardetti.

Professor Cardetti Receives Grant to Study Mental Health and Math Learning in Children

Cardetti and Hoeft

Professor Fabiana Cardetti has been awarded a CLAS grant in collaboration with Professor Fumiko Hoeft (Professor of Neuroscience, Director of BIRC) to conduct the interdisciplinary research study The influence of mental health and socio-economic disparities on children with learning disabilities – a math intervention study. The funds help provide equitable educational opportunities in reading and math for Connecticut children with disabilities and financial hardship, while also supporting the investigation of the impact of variations in psycho-social factors as well as mental health and math achievement changes over time. Beyond the theoretical and clinical significance of the research, this project expands the engagement of the Department of Mathematics with the community by applying its scholarship to positively impact the welfare of Connecticut.

Image caption: Fabian Cardetti (left) and Fumiko Hoeft.