VIGRE: Undergraduate, Graduate, and Postdoctoral Education in Mathematics at the Courant Institute

  • Hofer, Helmut H.H. (PI)
  • Kohn, Robert R.V. (CoPI)
  • Newman, Charles C.M. (CoPI)
  • McLaughlin, David (CoPI)

Project Details


The Mathematics Department in the Courant Institute of New York University

will provide significant opportunities for research and graduate education

through its academic programs, under the support of the VIGRE program of

the National Science Foundation. This support will be used to integrate

the postdoctoral and Ph.D. programs at the Courant Institute, together

with research experiences for honors undergraduates in mathematics. This

integration will be founded upon focused research groups at the Courant

Institute, which exist in disciplinary mathematics -- such as differential

geometry, symplectic geometry, geometric and topological analysis, the

analysis of partial differential equations, dynamical systems theory,

probability theory and mathematical physics, computational science and

numerical analysis, and applied mathematics; as well as in

interdisciplinary science -- such as neural science, vision, biophysics,

computational biology, plasma physics, multimedia technology, materials

science, condensed matter physics, fluid mechanics, atmosphere/ocean

science, and financial mathematics. Each of these research groups uses

advanced graduate courses, seminars, working seminars, and workshops to

foster interactions and to exchange knowledge. Mathematicians from

neighboring academic institutions, industrial laboratories and from Wall

Street, often interact with and contribute to these groups. Interactions

between members of the faculty, postdocs, Ph.D. students, and advanced

undergraduates will be developed through active membership in these

research groups. Junior scientists will be trained and encouraged to

advance a view in which artificial boundaries between pure and applied

mathematics do not exist, and in which interdisciplinary research is the


The Courant Institute's VIGRE Program will provide support for 9 postdoctoral scientists and 24 graduate students each year. Postdoctoral participants will gain breadth and depth through the Courant Institute's uniquely interdisciplinary environment. Each will be encouraged to develop his or her own scientific personality and vision over the course of a three-year appointment. In addition, each postdoc will gain classroom skill and experience by teaching one course per semester, with supervision by an expert in pedagogy as well as by a member of the faculty. Graduate students will be drawn quickly into the scientific life of the Institute through participation in various research groups. They will be encouraged to do internships in nonacademic environments such as industrial and government research labs, to gain added scope and perspective. They will learn communication skills through a variety of mechanisms, including supervised classroom experience. Undergraduate math majors will be encouraged to participate in an enriched honors program, featuring diverse research experience opportunities. The honors program will help draw

talented undergraduates into quantitative careers, by communicating the

many opportunities and great excitement available in mathematics and

interdisciplinary science. Some specific developments associated with this

VIGRE project include: (i) the creation of undergraduate research

opportunities within research groups at the Courant Institute; (ii) the

formalization of internship opportunities in industrial and government

laboratories and in nearby medical schools, for undergraduate and graduate

students; (iii) systematic supervision of graduate student and postdoc

teaching, by professionals in pedagogy as well as by members of the

mathematics faculty; (iv) more active recruitment of US citizen and

permanent resident candidates for graduate and postdoctoral support, with

special emphasis on women and other underrepresented groups.

Funding for this award is provided by the Division of Mathematical Sciences and the MPS Directorate's Office of Multidisciplinary Activities.

Effective start/end date1/06/0031/05/07


  • National Science Foundation: $3,896,881.00


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