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NSF grant helps math department host conference

Ramjee Sharma NSF math grant
Dr. Ramjee Sharma, assistant professor of mathematics at UNG, is leading the university's efforts in hosting the 38th annual Southeastern-Atlantic Regional Conference on Differential Equations. UNG received a $24,000 National Science Foundation grant to help with the costs of the conference.

NSF grant helps math department host conference

The University of North Georgia (UNG) has received a $24,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to aid its efforts in hosting the 38th annual Southeastern-Atlantic Regional Conference on Differential Equations.

Set for Oct. 6-7, the conference in the Martha T. Nesbitt Academic Building on UNG’s Gainesville Campus will seek to connect the field's experts and its newer members.

Dr. Ramjee Sharma, assistant professor of mathematics at UNG, was the principal investigator for the grant. Sharma said this is the first conference of its kind the Department of Mathematics has hosted on the Gainesville Campus. The grant will cover travel expenses for participants.

"This grant is going to be very helpful in supporting and making this conference successful," Sharma said.

Dr. Irene M. Gamba from the University of Texas, Dr. Peter Constantin from Princeton University, and Dr. Ratnasingham Shivaji from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro are the plenary speakers who will present for an hour each. Other attendees will present at 20-minute parallel sessions during the two-day conference. A forum discussing open problems in differential equations is also scheduled.

"Experts, beginning researchers and graduate students will be brought together to share their research and develop a research network," Sharma said.

Gamba's talk will focus on numerical computations of differential equations, while Constantin will discuss non-linearity in fluid dynamics, and Shivaji will speak about the differential equations related to nonlinear heat generation and ecology.

Scott Sims, a UNG graduate student in computational science and engineering from Clarkesville, Georgia, will present at one of the 20-minute sessions. His presentation is on numerical solutions of the 2-D KdV-Burgers equation, which models the amplitude of a liquid wave with a known viscosity and dispersion. He is looking forward to making connections while sharing his work.

"It's a way to build your reputation and show what you're capable of doing," Sims said.

He is also looking forward to hearing from speakers about ongoing but unpublished research.

"You get to see the cutting edge of what's going on in the field," Sims said.

Dr. Ryan Thompson, assistant professor of mathematics at UNG and co-principal investigator on the NSF grant, said those connections will be invaluable for the graduate students.

"They can talk to the experts," said Thompson, a 2009 mathematics graduate from UNG who earned his master's and doctoral degrees at Notre Dame. "They can see how experts in the field present their research."

Sharma, Thompson and other mathematics faculty are encouraging their students to attend.

Jerry Graveman, associate department head and associate professor of mathematics, said having experts in the field will provide a great resource for beginning researchers and graduate students.

"It's a chance for them to meet with other people in their same situation and work with the more established faculty members," Graveman said.

The conference also will allow UNG faculty members to share their research with some of their colleagues from across the region, Sharma said. About 100 people from across the U.S. and 25 from overseas are registered for the conference.

If the event goes well, Thompson said it could open the door for other mathematics, physics, biology, or chemistry conferences to come to UNG in the future.

"It's certainly going to put UNG on the map," Thompson said.

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