Talented students plus quality programs equates to impressive research results.
Vincent Blevins is a senior in the mathematics department at Missouri State University. He was recently accepted into the 2021 Park City Mathematics Institute (PCMI) Undergraduate Summer School.
The program serves as a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS).
Blevins shares how the experience will lead him to form connections in his research, as well as with others in the field.
The function of theories in shaping results
Blevins will study number theory in the PCMI program.
The branch of mathematics relates to the properties of whole numbers called integers.
“Many questions in number theory ask whether a given equation has solutions in the integers,” Blevins said. “My summer work will focus on the general theory behind a special class of functions that gives rise to such equations.”
Number theory may seem abstract to non-mathematicians.
But it plays a pivotal role, Blevins shares, in something we all use: technology.
“These principles are the backbone behind cryptographic algorithms,” he said. “Such algorithms keep our data safe when transmitted over the internet.”
New exposure, new knowledge
The program will expose Blevins to new insight in math rarely available to undergraduate students.
“I’ll have the opportunity to work with world class experts in the field,” Blevins said. “I will also extend my network to include professors and peers from across the country.”
Such collaboration can be key to success in the math field.
This is because combining shared passions can fuel more positive solutions, Blevins explains.
“Math is often thought of as a solitary activity,” he said. “But it’s been my experience that the field is most exciting when you can bounce ideas off other people and work through problems together.”
Dr. Steven Senger, associate professor of mathematics, is Blevins’ advisor.
He looks forward to seeing all Blevins will achieve in the prestigious PCMI program.
“Vincent is sure to make connections and gain experience that will greatly benefit him throughout his professional and personal life,” Senger said. “Vincent is an untiring powerhouse of mathematics, with a rare balance of exceptional intelligence, humility and a thirst for more understanding. He deserves such a great opportunity.”