The Benedict Freedman Prize for Mathematical Promise
Previous Promise Prize Winners
Winner of the 2012 Promise Prize
The 2012 Benedict Freedman Prize for Mathematical Promise was awarded to mathematics junior JACOB ORTEGA-GINGRICH. His work was on investigating and improving a mathematical model for cinematic box-office dynamics, known as the Edwards-Buckmire Model (EBM). He initially did this work as a rising sophomore during a 10-week summer research program supported by the Howards Hughes Medical Institute and Undergraduate Research Center at Occidental College in 2010. Jacob made significant modifications to the EBM and has been researching several different aspects of the modified EBM and other associated problems since then. This research is an interesting combination of applied mathematics and economics. A summary of some of his joint work with Profs. David Edwards (University of Delaware) and Ron Buckmire (Occidental College) has been submitted for publication. Jacob is an accomplished musician and intends to go to graduate school in the near future.
Winner of the 2011 Promise Prize
The 2011 Benedict Freedman Prize for Mathematical Promise was awarded to mathematics junior NOAM GOLDBERG. His work was on minor minimal intrinsically knotted graphs in S^3. He did this work as a rising sophomore during a 10-week summer research program supported by URC at Occidental College. He gave a presentation on his work at a National Council on Undergraduate Research annual conference. Noam's joint work with Profs. Thomas Mattman (CSU Chico) and Ramin Naimi (Occidental College) will be submitted for publication in the near future. Noam is in the 3-2 program and will spend his last two years of studies at Columbia University in New York.
Winner of the 2010 Promise Prize
The 2010 Benedict Freedman Prize for Mathematical Promise was awarded to math senior ZHENGYI ZHOU. Her honors senior thesis centered on ordinary differential equation modeling of traffic flow. She began that work in a summer research experience and had gone on to present parts of that work at various regional and national meetings, including the conference by the National Council on Undergraduate Research. Zhengyi was born and raised in Chengdu, China and came to Oxy after attending Raffles Junior College (for high school) in Singapore. Zhengyi double majored in Mathematics and Economics and earned honors in both fields. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Applied Mathematics at Cornell University.
Winners of the 2005 Promise Prize
The 2005 Benedict Freedman Prize for Mathematical Promise was shared by math seniors DAVID COLLINS and PATRICK DIXON. Both did undergraduate research during the summer of 2005 (supported by Occidental's Undergraduate Research Center). Patrick's work was in applied mathematics (Epidemiological Modeling of STDs in Adolescent Populations Using Graph Theory, faculty mentor: Ramin Naimi), while David's work was in pure mathematics (Winning Strategies and Other Properties of the Game of 3-Pile Euclid, faculty mentor: Tamas Lengyel).
David and Patrick each received a $250 prize, awarded at a ceremony in the spring of 2006. Following the ceremony, each gave a talk on their work.
Winner of the 2004 Promise Prize
Junior Mathematics major DAVID COLLINS of Bakersfield received the 2004 Freedman Prize for Mathematical Promise. His research (Variations on a Theme of Euclid, faculty mentor: Tamas Lengyel) falls within a branch of mathematics known as combinatorial game theory. Collins’ work on developing winning strategies for variations of the game Euclid was published in INTEGERS, the Electronic Journal of Combinatorial Number Theory.
Collins plans to teach mathematics at the college or university level.
Winner of the 2003 Promise Prize
Senior RADOSLAV M. KIROV of Sofia, Bulgaria, received the 2003 Freedman Prize for Mathematical Promise. Radoslav, a double-major in Mathematics and Physics, did two summer research projects at Occidental College with Ramin Naimi -- one on elliptic curves, number theory, and triangles with rational sides; the other on list-coloring in k-choosable and k-monophilic graphs.
Rado was also impressive in his performance in the Putnam mathematics contest: he ranked 314th out of 2954 contestants!
Winner of the 2002 Promise Prize
Junior Mathematics major JOSEF TOBISKA of Santa Ana was the recipient of the institution's 2002 Freedman Prize for Mathematical Promise. Tobiska was being honored for his work on combinatorics. His submitted work, Integer Partitions and their Application to Quantum Physics, was done with the help of his professor and mentor, Prof. Jennifer Quinn, who describes him as a student with a real knack for problem solving.
Specifically, Tobiska's research centers on integer partitions, in which whole numbers can be broken into a sum of other whole numbers. The integer partitions of three, for example, are 1+1+1, 2+1 and three. This simple idea can lead to many exciting mathematical problems that have far-reaching implications in such fields as physics, computer science and economics. Specifically, their work allowed them to formulate and prove a new theorem regarding the composite Fermion model of the Fractional Quantum Hall Effect.
Tobiska received his $500 prize at a Jan. 30, 2003 ceremony in which he also gave a 45-minute presentation on his research. He was selected for the Freedman Prize by a committee of Occidental mathematics faculty. Receiving honorable mentions were junior Daniel Ionita of Bucharest, Romania, and senior Radoslav Kirov of Sofia, Bulgaria.
Winner of the 2001 Promise Prize
ROBERTO CARLOS PELAYO is the winner of the first annual Benedict Freedman Prize for Mathematical Promise.
Professor Emeritus Benedict Freedman awarded the prize to ROBERTO CARLOS PELAYO '02 on Thursday, November 15, 2001 on the Branca Patio of the Johnson Student Center. Following the awarding of the prize, Bob made a brief presentation of his work.
Bob was awarded the prize for his investigation of probabilistic problems arising in the area called "graph colorings." One of the problems can be described informally as follows: Every student in a class is given two specific numbers (which may or may not be the same for each student) and is asked to randomly pick one of them. For a given seating arrangement and assignment of number choices to students, there is a certain probability that neighboring students will choose the same number. Working with Professor Ramin Naimi, Bob developed methods to find exceptional examples where, surprisingly, the probability can be larger than the case where all students are given the same two numbers.
Even for situations with ten or fewer students, the number of cases to check an example can tax the capacity of currently available computers. Bob developed a deep understanding of the problem and was able to choose instances which allowed him and his advisor to develop a necessary and sufficient condition for the seating arrangements where the surprising exceptions cannot occur.
Roberto Pelayo is a Los Angeles native and a graduate of Loyola High School where, among his many activities, he was President of the Math Club. Bob entered Occidental College in 1998 with forty Advanced Placement credits. Bob is now attending graduate school in Mathematics at Caltech with a 5 year James Irvine Fellowship.
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