The Math Department has a new head, a true “renaissance man.”
The College of Science recently announced a new Math Department Head had been chosen – Purdue Mathematics is now led by Gregery Buzzard. Buzzard began his term July 1 and will serve as Department Head for at least the next five years.
Buzzard received his doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1995 and has since explored various realms of mathematics. As of late, he has “focused on mathematical biology with an emphasis on analyzing dynamical systems and developing algorithms to better understand physiological processes.”
Chair of the Math Head Search Committee, Steve Bell, described Buzzard as a “charming fellow with an extraordinary skill set” and continued to sing Buzzard’s praises:
“He is a world class mathematician and educator who also happens to be a Renaissance man with interests not only in pure and applied mathematics, but in biology, computer science, music and you name it,” Bell said. “On top of all of that, he is a virtuoso violinist and a key player in the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra.”
Beyond all of his academic and musical interests, Buzzard also avidly practices the Japanese martial art aikido and has earned a black belt in his 12 years practicing the sport. Buzzard also has a “Bacon Number of 3,” which is the degree of separation an actor has from a movie Kevin Bacon has performed in. He earned this credential by taking an acting course at Ithaca College where he had a role in a small movie. He said he hopes he will still have time for his creative outlets despite his new position, but he’s well aware of his full plate.
“It’s a big responsibility; the Math Department is a large department with around 60 faculty and over 60 graduate students,” Buzzard said. “I have a lot to learn at this point.”
Buzzard has several issues to tackle this year, although he has not yet set out a long range plan as he has only been in office for seven days. One item already on his agenda is adding new faculty, which is important because the department lost a significant number last year. Buzzard will also be recruiting a “high profile professor” to fill a special professorship spot that an alumnus endowed money for.
Buzzard also plans to address online math courses, which are massive at other universities.
“We want to do it in a way that we really add something to it,” said Buzzard.
Buzzard plans to lead the department by encouraging work towards incentives. He said the Math Department is a very democratic environment where voting and voicing one’s opinion is not uncommon.
Buzzard said he is excited about learning about the department in ways that he was formerly unable to as an individual faculty member, and he is not the only one excited about his elevated position.
“I am looking forward to seeing him apply his considerable talent and energy to the running of the Math Department,” said Bell.