Friday, November 13, 2009

Janusz R. Prajs

Janusz R. Prajs, associate professor in the mathematics and statistics department,recieved the President's Award for Research and Creative Activity on in the University Union Foothill Suite.Prajs is the 21st recipient of the award, winning it for his wide-ranging research and publication in the mathematical area known as topology.The President's Award for Research and Creative Activity was established in 1989 and is given every year to a member of the Sacramento State faculty whose extraordinary research and creative activity has made significant contributions to his or her discipline in the past five years.Nominees, who are selected for the award by a subcommittee of the Faculty Senate, must be within their first 10 years of service at Sac State.His lecture at the event, titled "The Nature of Mathematical Discovery," focused on introducing the study of pure mathematics in an informal and personal manner accessible to non-mathematicians and non-specialists.Accompanied by a slideshow of diagrams, the lecture was divided into two parts. The first half aimed at conveying a general understanding of what pure mathematics embodies, mathematical research processes and the problems associated with the field.Defining mathematics, Prajs said it is "the study of what our mind can produce and develops creatively."Prajs also said that the definition of research in mathematics is very different from research in other academic areas because results in mathematics are highly unpredictable.The second half of Prajs' lecture zeroed in on his specific research in topology and the discussion of a few of his research results on homogeneous spaces.According to the lecture program, topology is defined as a branch of mathematics that studies properties of a space preserved under continuous deformations and those that describe how a space is assembled. Prajs produced 45 major-referred publications in the field of topology. His research is known both nationally and internationally in the mathematical community. In 2008, Prajs held three speaking events at the Summer Topology Conference in Mexico City.He has also received a National Science Foundation research grant for a project known as "Homogeneous continua in 3-space."If you consider the responsibilities of teaching, alongside with research, it's pretty amazing that (he) could do something like that," said Chris Fioritto, graduate student in the mathematics department who was one of about 60 others to attend the lecture and the reception that followed.