SIAM Chapter Notes

November 16, 2010

Photo by Susan Whitehouse.

In recent years, as Jim Crowley reports in the accompanying article, newly formed SIAM sections have been located exclusively outside North America. The much more numerous student chapters, by contrast, continue to crop up worldwide, although 9 of the total of 83 active chapters are outside North America.

Brief reports from a few of the nine:

The Colombia chapter at Universidad Nacional de Colombia actually preceded the new SIAM section in Colombia; Gerard Olivar Tost, leader of the effort to form the section, is the faculty adviser.

Representing the Edinburgh chapter (Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh) at the student breakfast in Pittsburgh during this year's SIAM Annual Meeting, chapter vice president Bubacarr Bah (pictured) described the group's inaugural conference, where student talks were interspersed with talks by high-profile speakers from the UK. Bah gave talks both at the student conference ("Random Matrix Theory in Compressed Sensing") and, as a recipient of a SIAM Student Paper Prize, at the SIAM meeting ("Improved Restricted Isometry Bounds for Gaussian Matrices," with co-author Jared Tanner, a faculty adviser of the chapter).

In a piece titled "Expand Your Professional-skills Training," Science magazine offered online career advice to young professionals, identifying the SIAM chapter at Oxford University as an example of "progams that foster initiative."

Interviewed for the piece, chapter president Hermes Gadelha, a doctoral student in mathematical biology, described the group's fund-raising efforts. In approaching prospective industrial sponsors, he said, the students have learned to emphasize benefits to the sponsors, including opportunities to gain exposure and be linked to the university. Mainly, he pointed out, sponsors are looking for "the chance to recruit students." The students' insights paid off: They recently secured more than $6000 from industry, supplementing contributions from the Mathematical Institute at Oxford and from SIAM.

Gadelha, who plans on an academic career, said that "the chapter is important for my research connections." As a result of his experience in managing chapter activities, he concluded, he felt "much more prepared for an interview for a job."

Finally, as predicted by David Keyes, KAUST, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, in Saudi Arabia, is the home of a (brand new) SIAM chapter.

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