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The Jack Byrne Scholars Program: Research Activities
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Byrne Scholars can be involved with research in a variety of ways

presented work at the Joint Mathematics Meetings and Combinatorial and Additive Number Theory conferences

“Getting to see a real-life application of my learning was extraordinarily satisfying”
— Maggie

traveled to London with music Professor Michael Casey for research on computational creativity

“To me, the conference wasn't just about the technical nitty-gritty of cutting edge research, but also the greater role mathematics plays in society”
— Herbert

analyzed plasma instabilities in Professor Barrett Rogers’ space physics research lab and continued at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab

“I felt very lucky to not just attend, but also contribute, at arguably the coolest conferences in mathematics”
— Herbert

completed a research internship in evolutionary genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Leipzig, Germany

“I am grateful for the opportunity to learn how many mathematicians all over the country are redefining and expanding the field of mathematics”
— Anirudh

  • Study among a faculty of professors who are committed to using applied mathematics to build solutions to complex problems
  • Perform high-level research addressing major global challenges
  • Collaborate with researchers at the Department of Computer Science and the Tuck School of Business on cross-disciplinary projects
  • Attend prominent conferences and present research findings
  • Network with a group of like-minded scholars and provide mentorship both in and out of the classroom
  • Participate in research exchanges abroad

Recent Scholar experiences

Modeling the spread of wildfires at INRA Avignon

February 05, 2020

During Fall term Byrne Scholar Hugo Nam ’21 spent four months at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Avignon, France. During his internship at INRA’s Biostatistics and Spatial Processes center, Hugo studied the application of Hawkes processes in developing statistical models related to the spread of wildfires in various European regions and wrote code to model such phenomena.

Byrne Scholar Summer 2019 technology internships

January 08, 2020

Supported by the Byrne gift, Byrne Scholars Aadil Islam ’21 and Raymond Chen ’22 participated in summer 2019 internships. Aadil interned in a JHU APL data science camp working on models to detect fake news, and Raymond developed quality control code as a cloud applications intern at an American multinational corporation. “It was very rewarding to be able to apply what I learned in both Computer Science and Mathematics courses at Dartmouth,” says Raymond.

Research in molecular and evolutionary biology

December 12, 2019

Byrne Scholar Jacob Fyda ’22 spent eight weeks this summer in the Integrative Physiology of Mammalian Energy Metabolism research group at the Wenner-Gren Institute. “I had the incredible opportunity to experience a foreign country and actively participate in a productive, high-impact lab.” Jacob’s work involved the analysis and annotation of the genomes of several hundred representative animal species, as well as phylogenetic analysis, selection pressure analysis, and the construction of evolutionary trees.

Byrne Scholar research project in biomathematics

November 07, 2019

Byrne Scholar Connor Spencer ’22, second from left, conducted research on the genetics of thermogenesis of eutherian mammals at the Wenner-Gren Institute this summer. Connor is especially interested in the intersection of computer science and applied mathematics. “My research this summer at the Wenner-Gren Institute at Stockholm University offered me with a truly life-changing experience,” he says. “I am really glad to have taken part in this research and worked with some of the best thinkers in this field.”

Geometry activities at MoMath’s NYC Math Festival

October 23, 2019

Instructor Bjoern Muetzel and Byrne Scholar Hugo Nam ’21 participated in the fourth annual NYC Math Festival where they led geometry activities with children. Using solids built from Geometiles® and mirrors attached to the inside faces they created a new type of kaleidoscope with which to view New York City postcards at the festival.

At MathFest 2019 in Cincinnati

October 18, 2019

Byrne Scholar Kayla Hamann ’22 (standing, fifth from left) recently attended MAA MathFest, where she attended talks on topics ranging from recreational mathematics to math in social justice. She also attended a mentoring workshop for women where she learned from other undergrads, graduate students, professors, and professionals. “I came away from MAA MathFest with a wealth of resources,” she says. Kayla is an aspiring math major and on the executive board of the student chapter of the AWM.

At the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge

September 20, 2019

Thanks to the generous Byrne gift, Byrne Scholar Archita Harathi ’22 recently traveled to the U.K. to conduct research under the guidance of Marie Curie Fellow Irena Vankova at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge. “My experience working at the British Antarctic Survey was full of learning and exploring the potential of mathematics in a variety of applications. I am forever grateful for experience and the memories I made along with it!”

Biomathematics research project in Stockholm

August 21, 2019

Byrne Scholars Connor Spencer ’22 and Jacob Fyda ’22 conducted an undergraduate research project in biomathematics at the Wenner-Gren Institute in Stockholm, Sweden this summer. Martin Jastroch and Michael Gaudry, the project’s supervisors, study mitochondria and cellular energy metabolisms. Instructor Bjoern Muetzel facilitated this exchange. From left: Martin Jastroch, Bjoern Muetzel, Connor Spencer, and Michael Gaudry.

At the National Math Festival

July 17, 2019

Instructor Bjoern Muetzel (right), Byrne Scholar Hugo Hyung Ju Nam ’21, and Math major Ty Fierce Metteba ’20 recently traveled to the National Math Festival in Washington, D.C. where they led geometry activities with children. Muetzel’s research interests include low dimensional geometry and topology, systolic geometry, and harmonic forms on surfaces.

Summer research internships in Germany

October 04, 2018

Byrne scholars Anuraag Bukkuri, Megan Green, and Kyle Bensink did summer research internships at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, working in the genetic diversity, bioinformatics, and genome research groups. From left: Kyle Bensink, Anuraag Bukkuri, Bjoern Muetzel, Ben Peter, and Kay Pruefer.

2019 experiences

I used my Byrne funds to travel to the United Kingdom and do research with Marie Curie Fellow Irena Vankova at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge. For four weeks, I was able to experience living and working in a different country through biking to work every day and having lunch with the PhD students at the survey.

My research involved looking at Irena’s data from moorings located near a shelf near a fjord in Greenland. Her data comprised of ocean temperature, salinity, and other properties. Using MATLAB, I looked at two different models with the same locations as Irena’s moorings. I extracted different features of the models and compared one of the models to the specific data Irena gathered at the mooring locations. I then played around with the models and the data to find similar characteristics. I filtered both the model and the data and also created a variety of different plots such as the power spectra and temperature vs salinity. I also created composite arithmetic means of the data by choosing a specific pattern in the temperature data through constraints and seeing the resulting shape formed in the salinity and velocity plots to identify correlations. I learned an incredible amount of MATLAB and underwent the thought processes of using mathematical logic to produce tangible results.

My experience working at the British Antarctic Survey was full of learning and exploring the potential of mathematics in a variety of applications. I am forever grateful for experience and the memories I made along with it!
— Archita Harathi ’22

I traveled with Professor Bjoern Muetzel to a Math Fair in New York City (hosted by MoMath) to present geometric activities to children and other visitors. It was a wonderful opportunity to share my passion for math with children at the fair, and I also had the opportunity to view other presentations by the other volunteers at the fair.
— Hugo Nam ’21

Through the Jack Byrne scholarship, I had a life changing experience spending 10 weeks as a research intern at the Institute for Imaging Technology at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences in Germany. During my internship, I was responsible for the development of algorithms to automate the measurement and analysis of opaque surfaces’ reflective properties. The goal was to study the spectral data of different surfaces to improve the accuracy of rendering algorithms. As a result of my research and analysis, we were able to create lighting situations in augmented and virtual realities that automatically adjusted the virtual lighting condition to the real lighting condition. Thus, virtual objects could be rendered more realistically, increasing the “realness” and immersiveness of the artificial environment. Given my interests in both Computer Science and German Studies, I was able to combine these two passions and improve my programming skills as well as learn to speak technical German.
— Brett Kidman ’20

I traveled with Professor Bjoern Muetzel and another student to a National Math Fair in Washington D.C. for a weekend to present geometric activities to children and other visitors. In addition to presenting this math activity to the visitors, this activity was an excellent opportunity for me to view other presentations at the event, through which I was exposed to many different faces of mathematics. While in D.C., I was also able to meet a few Dartmouth alumni (who had studied math) and it was enlightening to see the paths they'd taken after graduating from the college.
— Hugo Nam ’21

Thanks to generous funding from the Byrne Scholars program, I spent 19W working at the National Museum of Mathematics in New York. MoMath, as it’s called, is the only museum dedicated to mathematics in the United States. Founded seven years ago by alumni from quantitative hedge funds who retired and dedicated themselves to mathematics education, it’s an incredibly unique and engaging workplace. I split my time between several roles, getting a real feel for all aspects of the institution. The first several weeks of my time, I worked the floor of the museum. I engaged with visitors every day, ranging from elementary school students through professors of mathematics. The museum is comprised of over 40 large, interactive exhibits, which we allowed visitors to explore, answering questions and guiding them along in their discovery of the concepts within.

Having gotten a feel for the museum’s operations, I spent the next part of the term working on the exhibits. Firstly, I worked with the mathematicians and engineers at the museum to maintain and improve existing exhibits. In addition to the permanent exhibits, a gallery function of the museum cycles through shorter lasting exhibitions. Bob Mankoff, the prolific cartoon editor of the New Yorker for the last twenty years, had curated a selection of comics about the humor in mathematics about halfway through my time. This was coupled with longer term projects on new exhibitions the museum was developing concurrently, requiring a variety of input to understand how to best explain key concepts.

Lastly, I spent several weeks working for the events teams. In addition to consistent programming at the museum including talks from mathematicians, musical performances, and social events, I worked on events away from the museum such as large scale fundraisers and tournaments for students around New York City. All in all, it was an incredibly rewarding experience better understanding an institution with such an important mission, such impressive institutional support, and such a variety of perspectives on communicating mathematics. I’d highly recommend taking a term to work there.
— Sahil Abbi ’20

2018 experiences

Thanks to the generosity of the Byrne Scholars Program and the support of the Dartmouth Math Department, I was able to spend 18F as an analyst intern at Cinven, a private equity investor across a variety of sectors. I worked on active deals using a variety of quantitative research methods to build financial, operational, and competitive models to predict a company's performance and price its assets. I also spent time working with existing portfolio companies that are leaders in the healthcare data space.
— Sahil Abbi ’20

I completed a research internship at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Leipzig, Germany. Specifically, I worked as the mathematician in the department of evolutionary genetics (genetic diversity through space and time) with Dr. Ben Peter.

The main project I worked on involved expanding the scope of the F statistic, a statistic that measures shared genetic drift among sets of populations and can be used to test various admixture hypotheses, and the D statistic, a statistic used to detect a deviation from a strict bifurcating evolutionary history, to more realistic and complicated evolutionary scenarios. Previously, these statistics were only developed in the context of genetic drift. Using mathematical techniques such as diffusion equations, numerical analysis, Moran models, and stochastic PDEs, our work was successfully able to extend these statistics to scenarios of additive selection, random fluctuation of selection intensities, and selection with mutation. These results may have a profound impact in the use of these statistics in theoretical population genetics.

None of this would be possible without the Byrne funds provided by Jack and Dorothy Byrne; I am greatly indebted to them for their great generosity and will continue to make the most of the funds during my time at Dartmouth to reach my goal of becoming a physician-scientist, practicing as a medical oncologist and conducting research in mathematical oncology to help find better treatments for cancer.
— Anuraag Bukkuri

During the summer of 2018, I had the opportunity to learn to perform various biological assays on the plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Following experiments on the ethylene pathways of these plants with the addition of previously synthesized peptides, we performed statistical analyses on the resulting growth of Arabidopsis.

In addition, I started learning to use molecular docking programs DOCK Blaster and Dock 6, which conducts virtual screening of chemical libraries and attaches mathematical values to how “well” the ligand binds to the protein in question.
— Hugo Nam ’21

2017 experiences

The Byrne Scholars Program has provided me great curricular support and indispensable funding for my ongoing research projects, which include:

  • Acoustic Synthesis (3 conference papers, NSF I-Corps sponsored, patent filed with Music Prof. Spencer Topel)
  • Co-diffusion of Innovations with Evolutionary Game Theory (Senior Thesis advised by Prof. Feng Fu)
  • Amnesiac Lookback Option (Math Finance Paper-in-progress advised by Prof. Seema Nanda)
  • A sci-fi/fantasy novel that embeds mathematical concepts, examining aesthetic intersections of math, music, and literature (Senior Fellowship advised by Prof. Alexander Chee)

Past projects also include “Brainwave” music, neural network music composition, and literary text analysis. The math major brings the flexibility to work across fields, as even within the arts, mathematics is not just an analogy but can be a precise, structural description. The welcoming Byrne Community has been integral to my Dartmouth life, and beyond graduation I hope to use mathematics as an ontological foundation to engage with creativity and issues in society.
— Ho-Chun Herbert Chang ’18