University News

Applied math finds new home

Chalkboard walls, seminar rooms increase opportunity for discourse among faculty, students

Contributing Writer
Friday, October 9, 2015

The new building for the Division of Applied Mathematics opened recently on 170 Hope St. after 10 months of construction. Faculty members and graduate students appreciate the facility’s improved collaborative spaces.

Graduate students and faculty members have moved into the Division of Applied Mathematics’ new and improved building on 170 Hope St. The move marks the conclusion of nearly a year of construction.

The new three-story building features chalkboard walls, allowing students to solve problems wherever they go, said Madeline Brewster, administration assistant for the building.

The space also contains several seminar rooms as well as a kitchen and common area on each floor, promoting collaboration between students and faculty members, said Björn Sandstede, professor of applied mathematics and chair of the division.

While the new building would ideally be larger, the architects did the best they could under the budgetary constraints, Sandstede said.

170 Hope St. replaces offices located at 37 Manning St. and 333 Brook St., which are being torn down to make room for new engineering facilities, Sanstede said. The construction process lasted about 10 months, and the architects designed the building with input from Sandstede, other applied mathematics faculty members and Facilities Management, he added. 

Anthony Cruz ’18, an applied math and computer science concentrator, said he appreciates that the applied math offices are now centralized rather than scattered around campus. The modernity of the new building is also a major draw, he added.

While other applied math buildings were converted from residences and were limited in their ability to house offices and classrooms, “the new building is designed to be an academic department,” Sandstede said. “It’s a huge advantage over what we had.”

“It’s much more flexible,” he said. “You can sit down at a table to work, or you can just as easily get up, go anywhere and do math on the chalkboards.”   

Tong Qin GS and Guo-Jhen Wu GS, both graduate students in applied mathematics, relocated to 170 Hope St. from 182 George St. — the only applied math building that will not be torn down. They are already enjoying their new workspace, Wu said.

“Our (previous) office was underground, with no sunlight and no air,” Qin said.

Though the majority of their applied math classes are still located in other buildings, some undergraduates are already planning to make use of 170 Hope St.

Emma Byrne ’17, president of the Applied Mathematics Departmental Undergraduate Group, said she hopes to use the space to host DUG meetings and activities and foster community within the applied math division.

“You more naturally interact with faculty and graduate students when you’re in this collaborative workspace,” Byrne said.


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