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Hal Parks standing outside in front of a flower bush.

30th Annual Lonseth Lecture

The Department of Mathematics held its 30th Annual Lonseth Lecture on May 12. Prior to the lecture, the department celebrated the achievements of undergraduates, graduates, and faculty with the annual Mathematics awards ceremony.

30th Annual Lonseth Lecture

Dr. Harold R. Parks, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at OSU, presented the 2015 Lonseth Lecture, “Plateau's Problem and the Geometry of Soap Films.” Plateau's problem is to show the existence of a minimal surface with a given boundary. The problem, which dates back to 1873, turned out to be quite challenging, and inspired some beautiful mathematics. The problem is also sufficiently open to interpretation and generalization that the 1936 awarding of a Fields Medal for its solution did not end the story. Dr. Parks discussed the history of Plateau's problem, its solution, and the people involved in solving it.

Professor Parks received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1974. After a post-doc position at Brown University, he came to Oregon State University in 1977. At OSU, he taught courses at all levels, from freshman to graduate. In 2004, he received the University Honors College Outstanding Professor award. At various times, Dr. Parks served the Mathematics Department as Assistant Chair, Associate Chair, and Chair. In 2013, he was named a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society. Dr. Parks is the author of seven books, the most recent of which, A Mathematical Odyssey: Journey from the Real to the Complex (co-authored with his long-time collaborator Steven G. Krantz), was published in 2014.

The Lonseth lecture series was established in 1985 to honor Arvid T. Lonseth, Professor Emeritus and former chair of the OSU Mathematics Department. Dr. Lonseth was a superb and devoted scholar and teacher of mathematics. His research was principally in integral equations, the calculus of variations, and computational methods. He joined the OSU Mathematics Department in 1948 at the invitation of department chair W. E. Milne and was promoted to full professor three years later. During his tenure as department chair from 1954 to 1968, Dr. Lonseth set the department firmly and successfully on its present course: a department with wide expertise, with a special interest in mathematics of the world around us, and with a dedication to undergraduate education. He retired in 1978, but his interest in teaching and learning never waned. Dr. Lonseth attended virtually all of the Lonseth lectures until his death in April 2002. The lecture series is a continuing testimony to Arvid's strong interest and commitment to the mathematical education of students, especially undergraduates.

Department of Mathematics Awards

The Department of Mathematics awards ceremony featured awards to undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty. Undergraduate and graduate awards are presented each year to students who demonstrate outstanding work and dedication, while graduate and faculty awards recognize excellence in teaching and research. The award recipients are listed below.

2015 Gary L. Musser Award
In recognition of outstanding mathematical achievement for a prospective elementary or middle school teacher

  • Jessica Yukawa

2015 Edward H. Stockwell Award for excellence in mathematics
For outstanding work in mathematics

  • Benjamin Asay
  • Josephine Sechrist

2015 WIC Award
For outstanding mathematical writing in a writing intensive course

  • Peter Killgore

2015 Botand Gabor Eross Math Memorial Scholarship
For outstanding work in mathematics

  • Cameron Bowie
  • Samuel Kowash
  • John Baldwin
  • Brian Livingston
  • Marianna You

2015 Joel Davis Award for excellence in mathematics
For outstanding work in mathematics.

  • Connor Bice

2015 Joel Davis Faculty Excellence Award
For demonstrated excellence in teaching and research focused on Numerical Analysis

  • Robert Higdon

2015 Actuarial Science Award
For excellence in mathematics

  • Jordan Kroger
  • Torrance Lopez
  • Jonathan Burgess
  • Tyler Mendes
  • Cheuk Man “Simon” Chiu
  • William Reynolds

2015 William F. Burger Graduate Teaching Award
For outstanding mathematics teaching

  • Jeff Monroe

2015 Graduate Student Academic Achievement Award
For academic excellence in mathematics

  • Sooie-Hoe Loke
  • Duncan McGregor

2015 Graduate Student Faculty Award
For excellence in teaching and mentoring graduate students

  • Elaine Cozzi

2015 William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition
OSU Top Scorer

  • James Rekow