On Tuesday November 18, the second annual Howard County Math Festival was held at Centennial High School in Maryland. Members of the SIAM Student Chapter at UMBC (Samuel Khuvis, Jonathan Graf and Sarah Swatski) volunteered to have a table at the event to demonstrate the real-world applications of mathematics. We also were able to promote mathematics by sharing our experiences as young mathematicians in a *Math Related Majors for College Students *session.

We created a display board to showcase the SIAM “Math Matters, Apply It!” posters, showing the diverse fields to which mathematics can be applied from special effects to vaccination. These posters were very popular, and many students and parents spent considerable time reading these posters and discussing the applications with us. It was a pleasure to attend and we enjoyed discussing mathematics with attendees of all ages. The event had over 1,000 attendees and students were able to see that math is more than just manipulating numbers in the classroom.

]]>What makes cholesterol good or bad? High-density lipoprotein, or “good cholesterol” is believed to play an important role in lowering cardiovascular disease risk. But how and why does it do so, and does raising the level of good cholesterol reduce one’s risk of heart disease? To answer this and other questions about cholesterol, Norman Mazer of Roche Innovation Center in Basel uses mathematical models to represent the different biological processes involved in cholesterol metabolism. Using this model of lipoprotein metabolism and kinetics, Dr. Mazer’s group is attempting to understand the link between cholesterol and heart disease. Watch the video to learn more!

]]>From the AMERICAN MATHEMATICAL SOCIETY:

Providence, RI—Emmanuel Candès will be awarded the 2015 AMS-SIAM George David Birkhoff Prize in Applied Mathematics. Candès holds the Barnum-Simons Chair in Mathematics and Statistics and is a professor of electrical engineering (by courtesy) and a member of the Institute of Computational and Mathematical Engineering at Stanford University. The Birkhoff Prize, jointly sponsored by the American Mathematical Society and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, will be awarded at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in January in San Antonio, Texas.

Candès is honored “for his work on compressed sensing that has revolutionized signal processing and medical imaging and his related work on computational harmonic analysis, statistics and scientific computing.”

Compressed sensing is a mathematical technique that has led to dramatic advances in the efficiency and accuracy of data collection and analysis. A prime example comes from medicine, particularly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI machine collects data about the body part analyzed, and then an algorithm uses that data to create a picture of the body part. The machine should intelligently collect just the right number of data points, and the algorithm should use those points to reliably reconstruct a high-quality image. When working with doctors on the problem of reducing artifacts in MRI images, Candès and his post-doc Justin Romberg experimented with one particular reconstruction algorithm that worked with an unusually small number of data points. They noticed something strange: when tested, the algorithm reconstructed the image *exactly*, every time. Candès then realized they were on to something new.Together with collaborators Justin Romberg and Terence Tao, Candès went on to develop the technique that is now known as compressed sensing. This technique gains its power by meshing two different representations of the data, so that very few data points yield a highly accurate reconstruction. Their surprising results, together with those of David Donoho, sparked huge interest among mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists, and engineers. The technique was rapidly taken up in such applications as the design of MRI systems and analog-to-digital converters. One group of engineers pushed compressed sensing to the limit and developed a digital camera that has just one pixel! Candès has continued to successfully apply the ideas growing out of this work to a variety of other theoretical and applied problems such as the theory of matrix completion.

In his PhD thesis, Candès developed “curvelets”, a new variant on the technique of data representation known as wavelets. He described this work in “What is a curvelet?”, which appeared in the *Notices of the AMS* in December 2003 (freely available at http://www.ams.org/notices/200311/what-is.pdf). For a compelling description of Candès’s work, see the entry in Timothy Gowers’s blog, “ICM2014 — Emmanuel Candès plenary lecture” (http://gowers.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/icm2014-emmanuel-cands-plenary-lecture/).

Presented every three years, the Birkhoff Prize is awarded for an outstanding contribution to applied mathematics in the highest and broadest sense. The prize will be awarded at the Joint Mathematics Meetings, Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 4:25 PM, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Find out more about AMS prizes and awards at http://ams.org/prizes-awards/prizes.

A photograph of Candès is available on request to paoffice@ams.org.

* * * * *

*About the American Mathematical Society*

Founded in 1888 to further mathematical research and scholarship, today the nearly 30,000 member American Mathematical Society fulfills its mission through programs and services that promote mathematical research and its uses, strengthen mathematical education, and foster awareness and appreciation of mathematics and its connections to other disciplines and to everyday life.

*About the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics *

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an international society of over 14,000 individual members, including applied and computational mathematicians and computer scientists, as well as other scientists and engineers. Members from 85 countries are researchers, educators, students, and practitioners in industry, government, laboratories, and academia. The Society, which also includes nearly 500 academic and corporate institutional members, serves and advances the disciplines of applied mathematics and computational science by publishing a variety of books and prestigious peer-reviewed research journals, by conducting conferences, and by hosting activity groups in various areas of mathematics. SIAM provides many opportunities for students including regional sections and student chapters. Further information is available at www.siam.org.

]]>Philadelphia, PA—James M. Crowley has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for a distinguished record as a scientific administrator in the U.S. Air Force and for the past two decades of outstanding leadership as executive director of SIAM, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

With Crowley at the helm, SIAM has grown and expanded over the last 20 years through conferences, activity groups and publications that spotlight new areas and cutting edge research, prizes and awards that recognize outstanding work in the field, and a range of projects aimed at improving mathematics education and increasing the impact of the mathematical sciences for the society at large.

Prior to SIAM, Crowley served in positions in the US Air Force, including Assistant Chief Scientist at the Air Force Systems Command. He was a program manager for applied and computational mathematics at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and served as the directorate head for Mathematics and Information Sciences at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He was also a tenured associate professor at the US Air Force Academy. He received his PhD in Applied Mathematics from Brown University.

The AAAS has awarded Fellows distinction to 401 of its members this year. These individuals have been elevated to this rank because of their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Saturday, 14 February, at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Jose, California.

For more information on the nomination process, visit http://www.aaas.org/aboutaaas/fellows/.

A database of current AAAS Fellows, which does not include Fellows who have not maintained their AAAS membership, is available at http://membercentral.aaas.org/fellows.

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**About SIAM
**The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an international society of over 14,000 individual members, including applied and computational mathematicians and computer scientists, as well as other scientists and engineers. Members from 85 countries are researchers, educators, students, and practitioners in industry, government, laboratories, and academia. The Society, which also includes nearly 500 academic and corporate institutional members, serves and advances the disciplines of applied mathematics and computational science by publishing a variety of books and prestigious peer-reviewed research journals, by conducting conferences, and by hosting activity groups in various areas of mathematics. SIAM provides many opportunities for students including regional sections and student chapters. Further information is available at www.siam.org.

**Philadelphia, PA—**The control of certain childhood diseases is difficult, despite high vaccination coverage in many countries. One of the possible reasons for this is “imperfect vaccines,” that is, vaccines that fail either due to “leakiness,” lack of effectiveness on certain individuals in a population, or shorter duration of potency.

In a paper publishing today in the *SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics*, authors Felicia Magpantay, Maria Riolo, Matthieu Domenech de Celles, Aaron King, and Pejman Rohani use a mathematical model to determine the consequences of vaccine failure and resulting disease dynamics.

“We examined the effects of individual-level vaccine failure on the propagation of a disease through a population,” says author Felicia Magpantay. “Specifically, we took into account different ways in which vaccines may fail. We distinguished between vaccine-induced immunity that is ‘leaky’, whereby vaccination reduces the probability of infection upon exposure but does not eliminate it; ‘all-or-nothing’, which leads to perfect protection in some individuals, but none in others; and ‘waning’, which reflects transient protection—or some combination of all three.”

While leakiness, degree and duration of coverage have direct effects at the individual level, the protection from imperfect vaccines and reduced disease transmission at the population level is not easy to determine. “By carefully ensuring a like-with-like comparison of the differences in the mechanism of vaccine failure, we identified distinct epidemiological signatures at the population-level and explored their implications for disease control,” Magpantay explains.

The group of professional applied mathematicians considers a systematic analysis based on the “susceptible-infectious-recovered” model used in epidemiological studies. This model allows one to calculate the number of susceptible, infectious and recovered individuals in a population, factoring in infection and recovery rates as well as contact between susceptible and infected individuals. The authors adapt this model with an added vaccine component to compare the dynamics of the three aforementioned types of imperfect vaccines.

The critical proportion of the model population that needs to be vaccinated in order to drive the disease to extinction is seen to be the same in all three cases. When vaccination coverage is maintained below the critical ratio, the disease remains endemic in the population at a higher level for leaky vaccines, compared to the other two imperfect vaccines. “Among vaccines that exhibit the same level of individual-level effectiveness, the purely leaky vaccine always leads to the highest prevalence of infection in the long run. The purely all-or-nothing and purely waning vaccines lead to the same levels of prevalence,” Magpantay elaborates.

The authors then extend their ordinary differential equation model to account for age distribution in the population using a system of partial differential equations for age-specific transmission. “The age distribution of the infected class depends on the type of vaccine failure, the age-specific contact rates and the vaccine coverage. In the cases that we have considered, the waning vaccine leads to the highest mean age of first infection,” Magpantay says.

The authors also show that the three imperfect vaccines have distinct transient dynamics following the initiation of vaccination in a population. “Numerical simulations suggest that vaccination with leaky and waning vaccines can bring about a long honeymoon period: a temporary period of low disease prevalence after the onset of mass vaccination,” Magpantay explains. “This provides an alternative explanation for the observed resurgence of some diseases like pertussis in regions that maintain high vaccination coverage.” All-or-nothing vaccines appear to show a more stable transition.

Topics for future work include examining the role of seasonality on transmission rates as well as the effect of a vaccine on infectiousness of an individual.

Source Article:

Epidemiological Consequences of Imperfect Vaccines for Immunizing Infections

[The above link is not active till the paper is published – please contact karthika@siam.org if you would like to view the full paper]

*SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics*, 74 (6), 1810-1830 (Online publish date: November 20, 2014, 4:00 pm)

About the authors:

Felicia Magpantay, Maria Riolo, and Matthieu Domenech de Celles are postdoctoral fellows in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan. Aaron King is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Department of Mathematics and the Center for the Study of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan. Pejman Rohani is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Department of Epidemiology and Center for the Study of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan.

*If you would like to schedule a direct interview with the paper’s authors, please email **karthika@siam.org**.*

*Via Lewis-Burke Associates LLC*

The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has announced an Open House on December 9-10 for its Open Campus Initiative launched earlier this year. The Open House will allow the external research community to engage with ARL scientists and familiarize themselves with the Open Campus Initiative. ARL created the Open Campus Initiative earlier this year to increase its collaborations with universities and other external research stakeholders. Collaborations will center around staff exchanges between campus and ARL scientists around ARL research areas, including materials, computational and information sciences, weapons and vehicle platforms, and human sciences. In addition to working with researchers at ARL’s main campus in Maryland, Open Campus participants will work at ARL facilities in North Carolina, Florida, and New Mexico. While the initiative will initially focus on staff exchanges, this venture represents an opportunity for universities to increase their relationships with ARL which could lead to joint research funding down the road.

Computational Sciences is a primary research area and the open house may therefore be of interest to many members of the mathematical sciences community.

Registration for the December Open House, which will be held near ARL’s main site in Adelphi, Maryland outside of Washington, D.C., has not yet opened. Interested parties should send their contact information (name, organization, and email address) to opencampus@arl.army.mil in order to receive updates about registration and the event. More information about the Open House Initiative is located here.

]]>*From the NSF: *

The Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS), within the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, National Science Foundation (NSF), announces a nationwide search for mathematical sciences professionals to fill Program Director positions. Formal consideration of interested applications will begin on November 18, 2014 and will continue until selections are made.

NSF Program Directors bear the primary responsibility for carrying out the Agency’s overall mission. To discharge this responsibility requires not only knowledge in the appropriate disciplines, but also a commitment to high standards, a considerable breadth of interest and receptivity to new ideas, a strong sense of fairness, good judgment, and a high degree of personal integrity.

For full details, view the announcement on the NSF site.

]]>How do bacteria move? Can we turn to math and physics for answers? Jasmine Nirody, a graduate student at UC-Berkeley, has been fascinated with how organisms move since she was a little kid. Now she is using that passion to study how tiny organisms like bacteria move despite the large frictional and viscous forces acting against them in their environments. Using principles from applied mathematics and theoretical biophysics, Nirody is studying how flagellar forces help bacteria move via mechanistic models of the bacterial flagellar motor.

Watch the video to learn more!

]]>*Sophia Coban and Chris Mower of the University of Manchester SIAM Student Chapter write about their chapter’s involvement in PostGraduate Open Day at the university:*

The PostGraduate Open Day is an event held in the School of Mathematics once a year for the prospective students to meet the current postgraduates, and get a feel of studying or researching at The University of Manchester. This meant an opportunity for us to introduce ourselves and our community to the prospective students — not just for the Manchester Chapter, but for SIAM in general!

The Chapter was represented by Chris Mower (Vice President), Mario Berljafa (Treasurer) and Zehui Jin (Secretary) at the open day on the 22nd of October. We had a great day talking to prospective students and current PhD researchers at the University. It was pleasing to hear that many of the current MSc students at the University had already signed up to SIAM and the Chapter!

]]>How do the basics of what goes on in our tissues during normal development give us a better understanding of what happens when things go awry in the malignant disease state? In this clip, Arthur Lander of the University of California, Irvine, speaks about how biological systems use control and regulation to achieve or maintain desired outcomes in growth and development. Controlled growth is not only essential for biological development, but also plays an important role in preventing the kinds of out-of-control growth we see in certain cancers. Lander’s group builds mathematical models that mimic real tissues in order to understand normal growth control. Using such models, his lab is determining how morphogenesis is achieved by turning growth on and off in certain desired locations via regulated feedback between growing cells and those that produce tissues.

Watch the video to learn more!

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