- Department of Mathematics
Student Groups & Organizations
The life of the department is animated by a range of groups, teams, and activities. Get involved!
The Math Society is a student organization that involves students in mathematics beyond the classroom. Through faculty-student discussions and reviewing of articles and videos, we seek to present mathematics in a new and interesting light. The organization is a resource for forming study groups and researching career options. Recent events include a math Youtube party, a tour for prospective students, a career panel, a movie night, and a barbecue. You don't need to be a math major to participate!
The Tufts Mathematics Society names a Professor of the Year each year.
2019: Caleb Magruder
2009: Mary Glaser
The Mathematical Contest in Modeling is an annual international competition, where undergraduate students work in teams of 3 to apply mathematical modeling and computer simulation skills to real-world problems. Past problems have included modeling the effects of global warming on sea levels and the subsequent impact on coastal communities, predicting the behavior of a serial criminal, and examining the energy consequences of the rising use of cell phones over landlines. Over the span of a four-day weekend in February, MCM teams create and develop mathematical models and summarize their findings in a report, which is judged for correctness, originality, and the insight provided into the real-world questions at hand.
Tufts has entered teams in the competition every year since 2009 and always has a strong showing. In 2014, one of the Tufts teams was awarded Outstanding Winner, the highest rank in the competition— just 13 teams out of 6755 achieved this status, and Tufts was the only U.S. university to do it!
Students interested in participating in the contest should consider taking Math 87: Mathematical Modeling and Computation to learn some of the related mathematical and computational tools.
The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, a nationwide mathematics contest involving 3600 undergraduates, takes place on the first Saturday in December every year. The six-hour competition features twelve challenging mathematical problems. The following is a problem from the a recent competition:
Given that A, B, and C are noncollinear points in the plane with integer coordinates such that the distances AB, AC, and BC are integers, what is the smallest possible value of AB?
In the past, Tufts teams have performed well, including the 2005 team, which placed 14th in the nation. Tufts alum Jingjin Zhang received an honorable mention by placing in the top 70 in 2004 and 26th in 2005.
Every year, about fifteen Tufts students participate in the competition. In preparation, students conduct evening practice sessions with a faculty coach once a week during the Fall term. The practice sessions are open to all students, including those who just wish to hone their problem-solving skills. Each session usually involves one topic, such as number theory, calculus, plane geometry, or combinatorics, and the problems are solved in a cooperative atmosphere. Some students have even found the problem solving sessions more enjoyable than the Putnam competition itself!
Organization of Graduate Students in Mathematics
The Tufts Organization of Graduate Students in Mathematics (OGSM) is a Graduate Student Organization at Tufts University, founded in 2009 with the purpose of providing a representative body for graduate students in the Mathematics Department. The OGSM has bi-weekly meetings which frequently include faculty speakers giving short talks on their work.
SIAM Student Chapter
The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) student chapter exists to promote basic research in applied mathematics to the graduate and undergraduate community, to provide opportunities of research and learning, and to create a pleasant environment in which students can share scientific interests. There are bi-weekly luncheon seminars with talks from faculty and students, as well as occasional special luncheons and field trips.
AWM Student Chapter
The Tufts Student Chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics was founded in 2014 to create and foster a supportive community, thereby encouraging the participation of women in the mathematical sciences. The organization's goals extend beyond the bounds of the university -- in Fall 2014, AWM members began regular visits to local area high schools, bringing smiling faces and fun math activities to their classrooms. The Tufts AWM student chapter meets bi-weekly. Topics include outreach activities, discussion with invited female mathematicians, career-building and other resources for women (or anyone) in math. Members of any gender are welcome!
Tufts University Softball League
The department is currently a proud member of the Tufts University Softball League. We play every summer from late May to mid-August. The team, the Vector Bases, includes faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, as well as significant others. No experience is necessary and anyone that has some remote connection to the Math department is invited to join!