TO: Undergraduate students in Mathematics

Join Mathematics Department Chair, Professor Mario Bonk, and Undergraduate Vice Chairs, Professors Mike Hill and Don Blasius, at a virtual town hall meeting next week on Tuesday, October 20th, 4-5:30PM Pacific Time. We know this is an unprecedented time, and there are bound to be a lot of things on your mind. This is an opportunity for Professors Bonk, Hill, and Blasius to hear from you and respond to your questions.

Please share your thoughts below. One way to provide your input and receive responses to your concerns is if you communicate them before the event.

  1. Can you describe a time you felt supported by the Department or in a math class?
  2. Can you describe a time when you felt unsupported or unheard by the Department or in a math class?
  3. What are some things you have liked about your classes or the Department?
  4. What are some things you would like to see happen/change in the Department in the next year?

If you prefer, you may also provide comments using this Google Form:

Please submit all issues, questions, concerns, and comments by Sunday, October 18th.

We appreciate your input.

Zoom Coordinates:

Topic: Math Town Hall for Undergraduates
Time: Oct 20, 2020 04:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our colleague Professor Emeritus Donald Babbitt on October 10, 2020 at the age of 84.

A short obituary was written by our colleague, Don Blasius: 

Donald (Don) Babbitt received his PhD in 1962 from the University in Michigan and then right away joined our Department as an Assistant Professor.  He was promoted steadily, becoming Professor in the early 1970s.  During his time at UCLA he served the Department as Graduate Vice Chair. From 1979 to 1985 he was  Managing Editor of the Pacific Journal of Mathematics, which was founded at UCLA. 

For the first two decades of his career, he worked in Mathematical Physics. Then, in the early 1980s he began a decade-long collaboration with UCLA colleague V.S. (Raja) Varadarajan on the classification, up to meromorphic equivalence, of meromorphic differential equations. This is a problem going back to Poincaré and they obtained many new results. At some point in the collaboration, Deligne took an interest. He suggested an approach using the methods of contemporary algebraic geometry. This  resulted in a recasting of the theory and enabled them to show that the local meromorphic equivalence classes form an analytic space.

Don left UCLA after 32 years  in 1992 to work for the AMS. He was Executive Editor for Mathematical Reviews from 1992 to 1994. According to an article published in AMS Notices in April 2002, on the occasion of his retirement, one of his last acts as Executive Director  was to “call upon the staff to create a Web prototype” of Math Reviews. The resulting product became MathSciNet,  released in 1996.  Babbitt was Publisher of the AMS from 1994 to 2002. During this period he built up the AMS’s book program, introducing  the Graduate Studies in Mathematics and the Student Mathematical Library.

After leaving the AMS, Babbitt returned to Southern California, settling in Pasadena. His intellectual interests turned to the history of mathematics and he wrote three articles on the Italian algebraic geometers Castelnuovo, Enriques, and Severi. His last article, published in 2013,  was on E.T. Bell and mathematics at Caltech between the two world wars.   Donald Babbitt is survived by his wife Berit and his son Donald, a UCLA graduate,  who is a renowned throwing coach at the University of Georgia.

Andrea Ghez, UCLA’s Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine Professor of Astrophysics, today was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics.

Ghez helped pioneer a powerful technology called adaptive optics, which corrects the distorting effects of the Earth’s atmosphere in real time and opened the center of our galaxy as a laboratory for exploring black holes and their fundamental role in the evolution of the universe.

In 1998, Ghez answered one of astronomy’s most important questions, helping to show that a supermassive black hole resides at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The question had been a subject of much debate among astronomers for more than a quarter of a century.

“Andrea is one of our most passionate and tenacious Keck users,” Keck Observatory director Hilton Lewis said, also in 2019. “Her latest groundbreaking research is the culmination of unwavering commitment over the past two decades to unlock the mysteries of the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.”

Ghez is the fourth woman to receive the physics prize, following Marie Curie in 1903, Maria Goeppert Mayer in 1963 and Donna Strickland in 2018. Ghez also encourages young students who love science to pursue their dreams and learn how to overcome obstacles. “Follow your passions,” she said, “and be persistent…. Find comfort with discomfort.”

-Excerpts from UCLA Newsroom article

To read the full UCLA Newsroom article, click here.

Other news coverage about Ghez can be found in the following articles:

Los Angeles Times

New York Times


The Washington Post

Wall Street Journal

NBC News


Associated Press