St. Olaf College | News

Math professor earns NSF grant to host international symposium

Professor of Mathematics Paul Humke received a National Science Foundation grant to support the International Summer Symposium in Real Analysis.

St. Olaf College Professor of Mathematics Paul Humke has received a National Science Foundation grant to support the 39th International Summer Symposium in Real Analysis.

The annual symposium includes lectures about research progress and discoveries by various academics from around the world. Among this year’s presenters are mathematics professors Marianna Csörnyei from the University of Chicago, Alexander Olevskii from the University of Tel Aviv in Israel, and Miklós Laczkovich from Eötvös Lorand University in Hungary.

The more than 50 researchers attending the symposium hail from 13 countries, and all work in an area of mathematics known as real analysis, a branch of mathematical analysis dealing with the real numbers and real-valued functions of a real variable.

The St. Olaf Mathematics Department has an active group of researchers focused on analysis. Humke is the current editor-in-chief of the Real Analysis Exchange Journal. Professor of Mathematics Paul Zorn, whose professional interests include complex analysis and mathematical exposition, has written a book titled Understanding Real Analysis.

The St. Olaf mathematics program is recognized nationally for innovative and effective teaching. The program was cited as an example of a successful undergraduate mathematics program by the Mathematical Association of America, and St. Olaf consistently ranks as a top producer of students who go on to complete Ph.D.s in the mathematical sciences.

Humke says the Summer Symposium in Real Analysis can show students what a research community looks like and how it operates. Moreover, he added, students can see firsthand the nature of an international research community and how it connects individuals.

“It’s good for students to see that mathematics is not something that you learn out of books in class alone. As a science, it is alive, and there are people behind it,” Humke says.

This is the first time St. Olaf has hosted the symposium since 1984.