Closer Ties for Mathematics and Computation at Post-Katrina Tulane

March 24, 2006

On January 17, five months after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Tulane University reopened its doors to faculty, students, and staff for the regular spring semester. Approximately 90% of registered students are back in class, and undergraduate applications for the fall of 2006 are running ahead of 2005 levels.

The Mathematics Department has resumed full operation. All faculty and most undergraduate and graduate students are back on campus, and all of the department's academic programs and research activities remain intact. The number of applications for graduate study, however, is down, in part because of the impossibility of mounting a timely recruitment campaign and in part because of misinformation in the popular media about the status of Tulane.

As the largest private employer in New Orleans, Tulane moved quickly after the hurricane to effect a renewal plan that includes a substantial restructuring of academic and administrative programs. Under the restructuring, the Mathematics Department will join the newly created School of Science and Engineering, as part of the Division of Mathematics and Compu-tational Science, in July 2006. This unit will administer the degree programs in mathematics, including the PhD in mathematics with concentration in applied mathematics, scientific computation, numerical analysis, and modeling.

Tulane's Center for Computational Science will also be part of the new School of Science and Engineering. Since its creation in 2001, CCS has operated under the direction of Don Gaver of the Biomedical Engineering Department, and Lisa Fauci and Ricardo Cortez of the Mathematics Department. External funding for CCS has come mainly from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and current projects are in the biological and biomedical sciences; project themes include multiscale modeling and computation of pulmonary, bone, cardiac, and biomathematical phenomena. With the math department and CCS in the same administrative unit, it is expected that interdisciplinary study will increase.

The Mathematics Department is currently accepting applications from prospective graduate students for the fall of 2006. The SIAM community can help bring Tulane to a new level by making colleagues and students aware of these opportunities. The Mathematics Department offers NSF fellowships and teaching assistantships to incoming graduate students.

The Division of Mathematics and Computational Science will continue to offer research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students during the summer. NSF recently announced funding for Tulane's REU and VIGRE programs, and support for such activities is also available through individual-investigator grants. VIGRE postdocs, along with postdocs sponsored by Tulane or by individual grants, will also be part of the division.

During the most unsettling time, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the mathematical sciences community was extremely generous with offers to welcome New Orleans graduate students and faculty into their programs and departments. Tulane mathematics faculty are sincerely grateful to all who offered and provided help and support.

Additional post-Katrina information can be found in video format at or at the department's main Web site:

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