Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hello everyone, my name is Nathan, and I am a mathematics major at Western Kentucky University. I've lived in Kentucky my whole life, and I have 5 siblings. I like to read and play games outside, but I absolutely love ping pong. (I really hope that some of you will be willing to play.)
I think this will be a great summer, and I can't wait to get to Asheville and meet everyone!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A little more info

Howdy again...this semester's been busy busy busy, so I've not yet had a chance to get on and post the post I promised at the inception of this blog.

But here I am now, and I'm glad to see that a few of you have taken it upon yourselves to offer up some sort of introduction. I hope the others will soon follow.

Let me just tell you a little bit about who I am and what my background is.

I was born and raised in Helena, Montana, a small town (despite being the state capital) about a half hour east of the Continental Divide in the Montana Rockies. After high school I went to the University of Denver and majored in mathematics. Sadly, I never had a chance to take part in an REU while I was an undergrad, I don't think my advisers were all that aware of the sorts of opportunities available to talented undergrads like y'all. I did take part in my first research projects while I was an undergrad at DU, though, working on some problems from the theory of lattices.

After getting a couple of degrees from DU, my wife and I moved to Tennessee to attend graduate school at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. We were there for four years, and though I began working on lattice theory and lattice-ordered groups, it wasn't long before I drifted into combinatorial and geometric group theory. I wrote a few papers and a dissertation on Coxeter groups, analyzing their geometric and combinatorial properties by examining them from a mostly combinatorial perspective.

From there we went to Illinois, where I postdocked (postdoced?) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. I continued my work on group theory and began looking at some graph theoretical problems that would form the basis of my first few papers in graph theory once I moved to UNC Asheville. I also had my first involvement with an REU, assisting my colleague Kim Whittlesey with her REU based at UIUC. I was mentor to several smart students, and it gave me great experience and made me sure I'd eventually want to start my own REU, wherever I ended up.

Well, I've ended up here, in the middle of the mountains of Southern Appalachia. Asheville's been a great place to teach and learn, and indeed I've learned a great deal from my wonderful colleagues and students here, and from the participants in the past two years of our REU program. Most of my work is either graph theoretical with a group theory flavor, generally with a dash or two of geometry. Occasionally number theory and order theory work their way in, as those are two other fields dear to my heart.

When I'm not mathing, I love to run, read, bowl, and experiment with vegetarian cookery (right now I've got a pot of miso soup simmering on the stove...I've got to get to it in a minute before it boils down too far). Asheville's a great place to do all of the above, and I hope you all have a chance to take advantage of our ideal location to play as hard as you'll work.

I'm looking forward to meeting you all!

Friday, April 17, 2009

An Introduction

Hello! My name is Chelsie Batten. I’m currently a junior at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. Of course, I’m a math major, but I am also receiving a minor in Chemical Physics. I’ve lived in a small town in the eastern part of North Carolina my whole life. I have an older brother and a younger sister making me – the middle child.

I enjoy a lot of things. These days it seems that being a student is a full-time job, next to tutoring on and off campus and working for the Math department. I do manage to walk an hour a day, sleep eight hours a day, and hang out with friends & shop once a week.

Last summer I studied abroad in London – for the most part – and I spent some time in Dublin and Edinburgh, as well as a few other places in England. It was an amazing experience. As much as I will miss being abroad this summer, I am very excited about the REU program at UNCA and feel that it will be as beneficial for me as my previous summer experience. I think Asheville is going to be a wonderful place to spend the summer!

I'm excited to meet all of you!


Hi all - my name's Matt. I'm currently a junior at Tufts (in Boston) and I'm studying math and computer science (but mostly math ;] ). I've had a few former lives, but none have been as interesting or as fun as this one. As for right now, I can't wait for these finals to be over so I can get down to Asheville. I'll be driving there a bit early, and hopefully doing some hiking on the way. Which reminds me:

Q: What do you get if you cross a mosquito with a mountain climber?

A: can't cross a vector with a scalar.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009



I hope this evening (or at some other time very soon) to write a bit more robust of a post in order to let you all know a little bit about me, but for the time being I encourage all of the program participants to log in using the e-mail address indicated in the invitation that I sent you and say something by way of introduction.

The program begins two months from today, and preparations on our end are well underway. I hope you too are starting to think about this coming summer, and that you'll let me know if you have any questions as you get ready to trek on down to Asheville.