"Welcome to the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The departmental roots go back to the turn of the last century when it originally was the Department of Engineering Mathematics. The Department teaches thousands of students and has a major research presence in computational and physical/biological mathematics and the statistical sciences. It has 18 tenure, tenure track faculty, expanding to 20 in the next two years. In addition there are 6 full time instructors, more than 70 graduate students including approximately 40 teaching assistants, about 150 applied math majors, 100 minors and a thriving BS-MS program."

What were the highlights of teaching APPM 8600 in Spring 2015? What was challenging?

Appm 8600 is the Seminar in Computational Mathematics. This course is a mixture of outside speakers and talks given by the students in the course. The purpose is two-fold: to introduce the participants to current research in Computational Mathematics and to teach the participants how to present an effective talk. The biggest challenge is getting shy students to stand up and present their research.

You have published extensively -- over 150 articles and papers to date. What motivates you to publish?

Publishing is the way in which research is disseminated to the scientific community. It is also, in part, the way in which a successful research program is measured. Without publications, one cannot obtain funding for research. Without funding, it is difficult to establish a research program.

As both a contributor and editor of SIAM Journal, you have experienced the publishing process from both sides. What have you learned from these two perspectives?

The most important thing I have learned is how to write a paper that will be accessible to a broad segment of the computational mathematics community. There is a delicate balance between providing background motivation and providing sufficient detail. Every paper should tell a story. The story should be established in the introduction and the following results should support the story. The author should explain to the reader how each part of the paper supports the story.

What advice would you give to a student interested in Computational Mathematics?

Computational Mathematics is using mathematics to effectively use a computer. This may involve many aspects of using a computer, but primarily using a computer to simulate physical phenomena.  The successful Computational Mathematician must learn, theoretical mathematics, computational science, and  application science. It is in bridging these disciplines that the Computational Mathematician will find greatest success.

Recent Applied Math News Articles

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Jeffrey Gay, mechanical engineering major and applied math minor, won the 2015 Telemark National Championship for ski racing. This year the National Championship took place at Sunlight Mountain Resort on Sunday, March 15th. Gay grew up skiing with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club based out of the local Steamboat ski area, Howelsen Hill. He attributes much of his success in balancing his high level of ski racing with an engineering course-load to that of the Engineering Honors Program in Andrews Hall. Gay, heading into his fifth year at CU Boulder, began and will finish his CU career within the program. He attended the Championship proudly wearing an Applied Math Department hat and shirt, thus blending two of his high achievements together.

Read more about the Telemark National Championship here.



Ben Southworth, second year graduate student, has received an esteemed three-year fellowship from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in order to pursue a doctoral degree in an area of DoD interest. The fellowships are awarded to graduate students of science and engineering that have shown special aptitude for advanced training in their field. Each year only 200 fellowships are granted, and the selection process is highly competitive. The fellowship includes full payment of tuition and all mandatory fees for a school of the recipient's choosing, a monthly stipend, and medical insurance.

More information on the DoD Fellowship can be found here.


John F. Nash Jr., Math Genius Defined by a 'Beautiful Mind,' Dies at 86

By Erica Goode

John F. Nash 1928-2015


John F. Nash Jr., a mathematician who shared a Nobel Prize in 1994 for work that greatly extended the reach and power of modern economic theory and whose decades-long descent into severe mental illness and eventual recovery were the subject of a book and a 2001 film, both titled “A Beautiful Mind,” was killed, along with his wife, in a car crash on Saturday in New Jersey. He was 86.

Dr. Nash, and his wife, Alicia, 82, were in a taxi on the New Jersey Turnpike when the driver lost control while trying to pass another car and hit a guard rail and another vehicle, said Sgt. Gregory Williams of the New Jersey State Police. 

In Remembrance of Professor Emeritus John Williamson

On March 30, 2015 former CU Professor Emeritus John Alexander Williamson passed away at age eighty-two. After obtaining his Ph.D in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota and instructing at Cornell University, Williamson accepted a position with CU Boulder in 1967 and remained until his retirement in 2005. His academic work focused on probability, statistics, and mathematical biology. His many achievements include Best Paper Award from the International Genetic Epidemiology Society and high ratings from students throughout his many years teaching. The Applied Mathematics Department and Williamson's family hope to create a scholarship in the professor's name in the near future. 

Read more about the life of John Williamson here. 


To Donate to the John Williamson Memorial Fund Now Click Here.

PhD Alum Tim Chartier Combines Math and Basketball

Notable Alum Tim Chartier has garnered national recognition in the last several years for his work applying mathematics to college level basketball. He works with the Davidson Wildcats and is considered an integral part of the team along with his students. Chartier is also famous for his “March Mathness” bracket that uses math in order to create a March Madness basketball tournament brackets.

Outstanding results from the 2015 Mathematical Contest in Modeling

Each year the Department of Applied Mathematics sponsors undergraduate teams in the international Mathematical Contest in Modeling.  The contest lasted 4 days from Feb 5-Feb 9, 2015. During this time, each team of 3 students selected one of four problems, they did the research, constructed mathematical and then numerical models, and wrote a complete report. The modeling contest is essentially a mini-research project done in just 96 hours.