Radu earns Fulbright to conduct math in Ireland

May 8th, 2012 | By | Category: 2012, April 26, Employee News, Issue

Petronela Radu, assistant professor of mathematics, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to teach and conduct research during the spring 2013 semester at Trinity College in Ireland.

Radu will depart for Dublin in January and will work alongside Trinity College’s Paschalis Karageorgis, an expert in the field of nonlinear wave equations. Together, they will examine two areas of high interest in hyperbolic differential equations: instability and existence and uniqueness of solutions. The study of instability is of great importance to engineers and applied mathematicians because all the experimental information that is collected and used for analysis comes with a degree of error. The goal of stability theory is to establish how this degree of error affects the behavior of the system in the long run. Their work will also focus on fourth order wave equations that appear as models for suspension bridges. The understanding of these systems from a mathematical point of view is still in its early stages.

In recent years Radu developed the course Math in the City at UNL. As part of this interdisciplinary program, which receives support from the National Science Foundation, students create and analyze mathematical models in collaboration with local businesses and research centers. Strong evidence supports the idea that such instruction combined with hands-on learning opportunities offer an excellent way to prepare students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics — collectively called STEM — fields. Radu said she is looking forward to discussing these educational aspects with other STEM faculty members across Europe.

“This is an excellent opportunity for my career development and I am extremely grateful to the Fulbright Foundation for selecting me as a scholar for Ireland next spring,” Radu said. “I plan to share my experience with my colleagues and students upon returning to UNL.”

– Jean Ortiz Jones, University Communications

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