Professor, Alum Win Top Math Research Award
A Westmont professor and recent graduate won the Carl B. Allendoerfer Award from the Mathematical Association of America, the world’s largest community of mathematicians, students, and enthusiasts. David J. Hunter, professor of mathematics, and Chisondi Warioba ’21, born in Tanzania and a triple major in chemistry, physics and biology, were honored for their paper, “Segregation Surfaces,” which uses mathematics, open source software and data to reveal trends and patterns of segregation in U.S. cities.
“We describe how to summarize population data in terms of smooth, two-dimensional surfaces,” Hunter says. “These surfaces give us ways of identifying neighborhood boundaries and visualizing segregation patterns. Our hope is that this work will inspire other mathematical investigations into topics that address important questions.”
“As someone who speaks English as a second language, the ability to describe the world we live in with such universal descriptors will always take my breath away,” Warioba says. “It’s an honor to contribute to this field and an even greater honor to be recognized as a recipient of this year’s Allendoerfer Award.”
The research offers several approaches to measuring segregation using ideas developed by social scientists and concepts from multivariable calculus. The article highlights how undergraduate data analysis and mathematical techniques can lend insight into how we quantify segregation patterns.
Hunter, who joined the Westmont faculty in 2000, graduated from the University of Illinois and earned a Master of Science and a doctorate in mathematics at the University of Virginia.
Warioba, a second-year doctoral student in medical physics at the University of Chicago, uses his love for math in the statistical analysis of a study that examines resting state functional connectivity in MRI stroke models. After earning a doctorate, he plans to pursue either a clinical career or one in academia.