Paolo Aluffi, Brennan Professor of Mathematics
After an extensive selection process, the first holder of the Marion Bradley Brennan Professorship in Mathematics has been chosen. The committee has combed through a list filled with many deserving candidates and chosen Professor Paolo Aluffi, who has served as a faculty member since 1991. Aluffi was chosen on the merits of his work as both a teacher and a researcher, and comes highly recommended by his colleagues and students.
Alumni Profile: Kim Ruane, Professor at Tufts University
Kim Ruane's path to FSU was an unusual one. Her undergraduate degree was from Kennesaw State University in north Georgia and it just so happened that a professor there, Chris Schaufele, had gone to graduate school with DeWitt Sumners, a professor at FSU. These two were responsible for Kim's decision to attend FSU for graduate school.
Mariel Vazquez Alumni Profile
Mariel Vazquez, who earned her Ph.D. in math at FSU, has received a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award for her research. She applies pure math to the biological mysteries of DNA, studying its entanglement as it packs tightly into living cells. Born and raised in Mexico City, Vazquez became fascinated with math and biology in high school. "I found pure mathematics to be absolutely beautiful but I didn't know how I could apply it to biology," Vazquez said. That changed when she became an undergraduate at the National Autono- mous University of Mexico and attended a series of talks about DNA topology - the application of knot theory to the study of DNA.
Faculty Research: Mike Mesterton-Gibbons
Among questions of interest to biologists who study animal behavior are these: When should an animal - for example, a fiddler crab - intervene to help a neighbor having a territorial dispute with an intruder? Does eavesdropping - for example, by green swordtail fish - increase or reduce the overall frequency of aggressive behavior in a population? How widespread in nature is mutual assessment of fighting abilities? To be sure, humans do it, but what about hermit crabs or sea anenomes? And if strength is indeed being assessed, when does it pay for a threat to be a bluff?
Faculty Profile: Phil Bowers, Professor of Mathematics
After serving as Associate Chair from August 1999 to August 2005, and as Chair from August 2005 to August 2012, Dr. Phil Bowers said he has a new appreciation for the work administrators do. Although he looks forward to getting back to his research and writing, his years spent as Chair were valuable, both to him and to the department. Even as he faced challenges such as budget concerns, Bowers was able to see many of his goals realized during his two terms as Chair.