History of the Department


Professor Emeritus David Johnson of the University of Kentucky, a member of Sewanee’s Class of 1961, gave the Department’s 2013 Homecoming Lecture on “Topology of Multidimensional Spheres.”         

Past MAA President Paul Zorn of St. Olaf College gave the 2013-14 Sherwood Ebey Lecture, titled “Extreme Calculus,” to a broad Sewanee community audience.  He also spoke to math and computer science students and faculty about some of the mathematics he revisited during his service as Editor of Mathematics Magazine

Professor Emily Puckette served as one of five University faculty members who implemented a successful new advising system for incoming first-year students.  The goals of their work were to help students choose first-semester classes that would be excellent choices for them and to improve advising from a faculty perspective.  Preparations for the new system began in Fall 2013 with an Advising Task Force that included Mathematics and Computer Science Department Chair Doug Drinen.

The Bridge Program in Mathematics and Science, a three-week residential program for high school students interested in math and science and who could potentially bring added diversity to the Sewanee campus as college students, was held in June 2014.  Associate Professor Drinen directed its mathematics component.

The 2014 McGriff-Bruton Mathematics & Computer Science Research Internship was awarded to Peter McCarthy, a sophomore computer science major, who did research on wireless sensor networks with Associate Professor Stephen Carl.

During his sabbatical leave in the fall of 2013, Associate Professor Matthew Rudd gave talks on his research at Wake Forest University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, McGill University, and the University of Cologne.  In November 2013, he and David Hartenstine of Western Washington University spent two weeks working together at the Oberwolfach Research Institute for Mathematics.  In December, he was an invited speaker at the conference on Quasilinear Partial Differential Equations and Game Theory, held at Uppsala University at the conclusion of a semester-long program at the Institut Mittag-Leffler.  Some of the results of this research were published in a special issue of Communications on Pure and Applied Analysis devoted to emerging trends in nonlinear partial differential equations.

Professor Catherine Cavagnaro’s sabbatical work included assisting on an Air Force Office of Scientific Research project that studied the risk incurred by a variety of military strategies.  She also wrote a manuscript that detailed an application of differential equations with aircraft longitudinal stability.  Sewanee Junior Erica Dai worked with Professor Cavagnaro to develop a model for a gliding aircraft to study the optimal method of landing after engine failure.

During her spring 2013 sabbatical leave, Professor Emily Puckette developed a statistics modeling course for students in physical, natural, and social sciences that will be offered this coming spring.

Professor Joel Cunningham is chairing the MAA Committee on Departmental Review and is a member of the steering committee for the Association’s Second-Century Capital Campaign.

Associate Professor Doug Drinen and Professor Emily Puckette had leading roles in the development of a new college-wide general education curriculum that was implemented in 2013-14.

Professor Emeritus Thomas Banchoff of Brown University, who is also a Past MAA President, will serve as a Brown Foundation Fellow at Sewanee for the spring semester of 2015.  He will teach an upper-level multidimensional geometry seminar.