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The Impact of Mathematics

February 4, 2021

Imagine a world without math. There would be no medicine, clean water, smartphones, video games, and other essentials that today’s world has come to expect.

On January 28, high school students interested in pursuing an education in math attended the Applied and Computational Mathematics Evening, where faculty and students from New York Tech’s Department of Mathematics shared insight on how math can change the world. The event featured presentations from Assistant Professors of Mathematics Vitaly Katsnelson, Ph.D., Eduardo Corona, Ph.D., and Pejman Sanaei, Ph.D., along with several current New York Tech students.

The faculty panelists spoke about their courses, distilling complex theories and findings on topics such as medical imaging, simulated reality, and astrological connections to modern day science.

Katsnelson discussed one of his course projects, “Creating an Algorithm that Translates X-rays to Medical Images.” He explained how light passes through parts of the body differently and is then reflected in the X-ray scan. Using the algorithm that New York Tech students learn in class, the scan is turned into an image that helps doctors have more conclusive depictions of what is going on inside the body.

Corona focused on how numerical methods help to simulate reality. He related the methodology to the first analog computer, the Antikythera mechanism, which was used in ancient Greece. In his class, which uses new and old techniques alike, students learn to design a self-driving car, find the next smart nano-material, or build the engine behind a free-world video game.

Sanaei’s courses include lessons on meteorites, droplets, filtration, and land degradation. He explained the astrological importance of these topics and how they can help to determine everything from the life of membrane filters in vacuum cleaners to why meteorites are stable when moving and the impact of erosion in nature.

Student speakers included Samantha Rivera, (B.S. ’21), a mechanical engineering major minoring in mathematics, who is assisting Corona in his research on adaptive time-stepping for dense, viscous suspensions, and Hamad ElKahza (B.S. ’21), an electrical and computer engineering student, who is working with Sanaei on research regarding membrane filtration, erosion, and sedimentation processes.

Other student participants included electrical and computer engineering students Mikhail Smirnov (B.S. ’22) and Dave Persaud (B.S. ’23), and computer science major Zeyu Xu (B.S. ’21).