**The
Quaternion**

*The Newsletter of the Department of Mathematics,
USF-Tampa*

Volume 19: Number 1 Fall, 2004

**The Ultimate
Machinery of Life**

*by** Greg McColm & Richard
Stark*

Among the great accomplishments of the Twentieth Century were
the discoveries of the basic mechanisms of life. Before, scientists had searched for a
ghostlike *essence* that made things
alive; now we see ordinary atoms constructed into complex machines – proteins –
able to construct, dismember, manipulate, or move other molecules around. One kind is designed to precisely fit
around a nutritious molecule and chop a specific piece of it; just one tool for
the small intestine’s toolbox.
Another changes shape when hit by a photon. A third, zipper-like,
opens up DNA. All living
organisms are made of vast arrays of these little machines.

But we do not reduce to mere assemblies of these machines: it is out of their interactions that
life arises. These assemblies are
vast: there are vastly more such
machines in a fly than there are stars in the local super-cluster of
galaxies. The identification,
classification, and study of these machines, and their communities, are the
business of *bioinformatics*, a field
that ranges from data mining (to identify bio-molecules) to topology (to model
the structure of bio-molecules) to thermodynamics (to model their
interactions).

The Department of Mathematics joined the Departments of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, of Computer Science & Engineering, of Biomedical Engineering, of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, and of Information Systems and Decision Sciences to launch an interdisciplinary program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. It is now a Master’s program, designed to supplement the graduate education of students in these three departments. However, with the growth of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries (and the related nanotechnology industries), the program is certain to expand.

The Mathematics Department offers three of the nine core courses in the program, one in combinatorics (to understand the mathematical structures used to model bio-molecules), probability (to understand the random processes that underlie bio-molecule interaction) and the mathematical theory of bioinformatics itself. This deep involvement of mathematics is not surprising: in any science, once the basic mechanisms have been identified and characterized, the tools needed to study them are often mathematical.

Most bioinformatics students are now working towards a career in pharmaceutical research, which involves not only the complicated business of identifying and studying genes and proteins, but also of designing chemicals to have (medically) desirable properties. Others will pursue the fundamental molecular processes of the cell, which will lead us to a greater understanding of life and its origins … and its frailties and what to do about them.

**In
Memoriam: Jack
Britton**

Jack Britton was born in 1908, and
was salutatorian at Worcestor High. He got an A.B. from

In 1967, he joined USF.

At USF, he was involved in the calculus program, and continued his
publication of textbooks. He was a
very popular teacher, and also served in positions at levels ranging from the
department to national professional organizations.

He was also very helpful in coming up with practical applications to
problems mathematicians (and other scientists) brought to him.

Upon his retirement, he was appointed a Professor Emeritus. He is survived by his wife, Janie, three daughters, and many grandchildren.

**In
Memoriam: Al
Goodman**

Professor Al Goodman passed away on

Al Goodman was born on

After the war, he received his Ph.D. degree in Mathematics
from

Al Goodman then spent two years at Rutgers University as an instructor
and then fifteen years at the University of Kentucky as an Associate and later
Full professor. In 1964 he moved to the

Professor Goodman published over seventy research papers – mostly in
geometric function theory but also in set theory, number theory, and graph
theory. In 1948, he published a mathematical conjecture on coefficients of *p*-valent
functions which remains open in spite of many efforts. In 1983, he published his two-volume
work *Univalent Functions*. Despite his
frequent contention that he spent his life studying the unit circle, his most
popular work probably is his lower bound on the number of monochromatic
triangles in a 2-colored complete graph, one of the classic results of Ramsey
theory.

Al Goodman also wrote twelve elementary textbooks, including *Analytic Geometry and the Calculus*,
which went through four editions. In 2001/02 he published a five-volume work *Algebra from A to
Z*, on high school and college algebra.

**Mathematics
Education**

The mathematics education faculty welcomes a new faculty
member, **Helen Gerretson**, as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Education. Dr. Gerretson received her Ph.D. from
the

The Mathematics Education program is launching a new Master of Arts in
Teaching Middle Grades Mathematics (5-9) program this fall. This program, which
leads to initial certification to teach mathematics in the middle grades, is
designed for individuals who are entering teaching after working in some other
area or receiving a non-education degree.

**Student
News**

This year we awarded four
Ph.D.s: Ahmed Yousef Farah Abdallah, (under Y. You, *Global Dynamics of Damped Boussinesq Equations*), Hasan
Husni Al-Najjar, (under B.
Curtin, *Tridiagonal** Pairs in Representation Theory*), Zhao
Chen, (under A. N. V. Rao, *Bayesian and
Empirical Bayes Approches to
Power Law Process and Microarray Analysis*), Kalpana Mahalingam, (under
*Involution Codes: With Application To DNA **Strand** Design*).

And eighteen masters: Aaron A. Anderson, Gokarna Raj Aryal, Sayanti Banerjee, Nathan Nguyen Chau,
Elliot Martin Findley, Armando Hoare, Maheshwar Kaladar, Jayasheela Karnala, O’Neil Lynch, Mario Vantroy Marshall, Branko Miladinovic, Inna Petrova Nikolova, Nishant D. Patel, Dmitri Prokhorov, Chad J. Smudde, Elenica Stojanovski, Christopher R. Trent, and Elena Vasileva Valkanova.

And thirty-two bachelors: in
Fall, 2003, Lisa Borzewski (cum laude), Nathan Chau (cum laude), Christina Hamlet, Lisa Hughes, Min Jeong, Alexis Johndrow, Erika
Johnson (summa cum laude), Bonnie Plesco, Andrew
Purcell, Marion Riggs, Jaime Robinson Gray (magna cum laude), Melanie Schlager; in Spring, 2004: Alvaro Blanco, Marie Bosley, Richard Decker, Cheryl Fernandes, June Pak, Wilson Perez, Josue Pierre-Louis, Harold Polhill, Paula Ralph (cum laude), James Reynolds (magna cum
laude), Xay Salavong, Leisha Spinosa, and in Summer,
2004: Hashir Ali Ahmed (cum laude), Judi Michelle
Charley-Sale, Brian C. Frasier, Alex Jorge Guevara (cum laude), Jessica Simm Halsell, Tanya Anne Jones,
E'Leon Rashad Mills, Daryl
Lenier Williams.

**Transitions**

The department is in the process of launching an independent
Statistics Institute, housing statisticians from all over campus to better serve
the university community.

One of our new statisticians, **Saralees**** Nadarajah**,
who had received his Ph.D. from the University of Sheffield in 1994, and had
worked in England, California and New Zealand before coming to USF, left us last
fall. An author of six books and
over seventy articles, he is now at the

We welcome **George Yanev**, who received a Ph.D. in mathematics from the

**Center for
Mathematical Services**

The 2004 Summer Program in Mathematics, Computers and Science
for Gifted and High Achieving Students ran from June 4 through July 9 with 31
students, who studied mathematics (taught by **M. Manougian** and **K. Pothoven**), as well as environmental
science, computer programming, and conflict resolution. The program was funded
primarily by student fees of $600 per student, with additional funding from the
Honors College of USF and the

This was also the last year the Center was directed by **Ken Pothoven**, who has stepped down
after ten years. His successor is
**Jogi**** Ratti**.

**Student
Clubs**

The USF math club consists of the USF Chapter of the
Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the Florida Epsilon Chapter of PI
Mu Epsilon, the national Math Honor Society. They met thirteen times last year, with
invited speakers and discussion topics ranging from math education and actuarial
sciences to applications of mathematics to cryptography and membrane computing.
Pi Mu
Epsilon hosted the Fall and Spring Hillsborough County
Math Bowls: all 23 High Schools
attended the Bowls, each sending four teams of four students each; Plant High
was the overall winner.

Eleven new Pi Mu Epsilon members were inducted
last Spring, and Osman Amin
and Jaime L. Gray, were co-winners of the 2004 Florida Epsilon Chapter
Outstanding Scholar Award.

**We’d Like to Hear from
YOU!**

The Department of Mathematics would like to hear from alumni,
friends, collaborators, members of the community, and fellow explorers of and
guides to the world of mathematics.

Contact us at: 974-2643, or
fax 974-2700. E-mail
<mathdept@math.usf.edu>. We
have a web-page at <http://www.math.usf.edu/>. Snail-mail address is Department of
Mathematics,

**The Continuing
Crisis**

The budget crisis – which may be a bit chronic to call a
crisis – continues to constrict the department’s operations. There will be no Nagle Lecture again
this year, and the Institute for Constructive Mathematics remains dormant. Meanwhile, the Associate Chair is
scrambling to find graders for undergraduate courses, and (as usual) many lower
division sections are being taught by adjuncts.

USF in general, and the Mathematics Department
in particular, can use all the help it can get. Contact the USF Alumni Association or
the Department of Mathematics if you have any stray change.