Entries tagged with “mathematical sciences” from College of Sciences

Prof. James Propp of the Mathematical Sciences Department has been awarded the 2011–2012 Chancellor’s Professorship in Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley.

Propp will teach a graduate course in the mathematics department while conducting research at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI). His course will focus on recent advances in the theory of random surfaces and the theory of random aggregation. Many of the researchers who contributed to this work will also be in residence at MSRI, and he is excited at the prospect of serving as a liaison between those visiting researchers and the Berkeley graduate students taking his course.

Prof. Propp also plans to organize and host an evening presentation open to the public, showcasing the visual beauty of this branch of mathematics.

Propp says he fell in love with Berkeley (the university and the city) when he did his graduate work there in the 1980s, and says he is delighted that the Math Department has invited him to return in such an honored capacity. He noted that “my kids are really excited that they'll get to go to the Exploratorium again next year.”

Prof. James Propp (Mathematical Sciences)


This image, created by Brown University mathematician Rick Kenyon, shows a random tiling of a hexagon by rhombuses in three orientations. In the 1990s, Propp and his collaborators proved the “arctic circle theorem” for these tilings, showing that if one randomizes such a tiling, the tiles in the six corners tend to align with one another while the tiles in the middle do not; the boundary between aligned and non-aligned subregions becomes increasingly circular as the size of the hexagon is increased.

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