Diplomath Research Corps
The Diplomath Research Corps consist of teams of F&M students who undertake mathematical research projects with a faculty advisor. Teams usually comprise 3-4 students chosen from among all four class years, allowing upperclass students and first years alike to work on problems at the frontier of known mathematics. The projects vary from team to team and from semester to semester. See below for a list of research projects from recent semesters.
Diplomaths will learn new mathematics, learn how to work together in teams, and experience mathematics from a new vantage point as they tackle new and unsolved problems. There will also be opportunities to present their work at regional undergraduate mathematics conferences and through posters presented at on-campus research fairs.
Students who might be interested in joining the Diplomaths in the future should speak with their math professor, or with Professors Baeth or Crannell. Although having certain math courses is sometimes a plus, we’re looking largely for potential: students who have been engaged and curious and who want to play with mathematics. Watch for an application period that happens mid-semester.
Students accepted into the Diplomath Research Corps will work with one of the professors leading a research team, and will be eligible to enroll in the 0.5 credit course MAT272: Diplomath Research Seminar, a course designed to introduce students to important research skills such as literature searches, reading mathematics, writing mathematics using LaTeX, and giving mathematics talks. With instructor consent it may also be possible to enroll for an additional half-credit course.
Fall 2020 Diplomath Corps:
Divisor sequences of atoms in block monoids over finite cyclic groups (Prof. Nick Baeth)
Multiview geometry (Prof. Annalisa Crannell)
Two-slit camera images (Prof. Annalisa Crannell)
Magic squares (Prof. Alan Levine)
Squares in squares, and numbers involving triangles (Prof. Iwan Praton)
Spring 2020 Diplomath Corps:
Atoms and factorization in semigroups of 2x2 matrices (Prof. Nick Baeth) with Xuyan An '22, Winnie Chen '23, Greg Heilbrunn '23, Peter Liu '23.
Factorization in semigroups of triangular 2x2 matrices (Prof. Nick Baeth) with Santure Chen '23, Diya Dhakal '23, Tess Wallace '23, Mitchell Young '22.
Multiview geometry (Prof. Annalisa Crannell) with Muhammad Shaamyl Anwar '23, Kevin Egemba '23, Maddie Pfeifer '23, Tram Nguyen '22.
Two slit cameras (Prof. Annalisa Crannell): with OJ Abraham '23, Nithya Ramaswamy '22, Evan Shinn '22, Shen Wang '23.
Q: Is this open to all math students or just math majors?
A: We welcome ANY students who happen to like math, irrespective of major or intended major.
Q: I noticed that there is a course this fall which is called MAT272 Diplomath Research Seminar. If I want to participate in the Diplomath Corps next semester, am I required to take this class?
A: Students who are accepted into the Diplomath program should definitely avoid taking another class in that time slot if at all possible, since that's a time that they might want to meet with team members. Whether students actually enroll in this seminar should be up to them and their faculty team leader. We suggest that students take the seminar for .5 credit if at all possible and then can sign up for an additional .5 credit if they can commit to putting in enough time on the actual research project.
Q: Would this course be a full credit with the seminar?
A: The amount of credit will be up to you and your faculty research advisor. The default is 0.5 credits for registering for the Diplomath Research Seminar (DRS) and spending 3-4 hours per week meeting with your research advisor, your team members, and working on your own. With permission from their research advisor, students may opt out of the DRS and volunteer their time to the research project, earning no credit. At the other end of the spectrum, with permission from their research advisor, students may commit 6-8 hours per week, and earn an additional 0.5 credits of "independent study" for a total of 1 credit for the semester.
Q: I do have some questions about the MAT272 course. What will the course work and workload be like?
A: The answer to your question is likely to vary from student to student, and also between teams. But here's the basic idea. Every team will meet with their research professor once a week to work on their specific research project. In addition to that, you'll find it helpful to have dedicated time to think about the project away from your research professor, and so you'll meet with your teammates during our seminar time, as well. On some of those days, I'll talk about research tools (like LaTeX, or like how to give talks). You'll get a chance every once in a while to talk about your research to the other teams, and to hear from other teams what they're working on. But I won't be assigning work for you to do outside of the seminar -- that's your research professor’s job. And most of the time that we're in the seminar, it'll be just time for you to work on your own or with your team.