Kai Nip

The Yale Undergraduate Math Society is planning to launch a math journal this semester that showcases undergraduate research and math-related journalism.

The journal aims to increase interest in math and highlight work being done in the Yale Mathematics Department, according to Jackson Petty ’21, a member of YUMS who proposed the idea for the publication last semester.

“A lot of times it can be sort of daunting to just open a math journal,” Petty said. “We want to present our research and our more expository articles in a way that’s visually compelling and not just abstruse academic writing.”

According to YUMS Co-President Charles Kenney ’19, the journal will be published at least once per term and each issue will contain between five and eight articles, depending on production costs and the level of student interest.

Kenney said the journal would ideally highlight work by Yale undergraduates but could also include articles by graduate students and professors. The journal “lowers the bar of entry” for undergraduates who might find it difficult to get published in professional journals, he said. The publication will also feature topics that are “in any way related to math,” such as interesting theories, unsolved problems and even math education.

Patrick Devlin, a Yale math professor who has worked with YUMS this year, said the journal may also include math puzzles and undergraduate senior theses.

The publication will be similar to undergraduate journals like the Harvard College Mathematics Review and Princeton’s Principia, as well as other Yale publications like the Scientific Magazine. According to Kenney, the idea for an undergraduate math journal has been proposed in previous years, but it never materialized due to low interest.

This year, however, the Mathematics Department has seen a surge of interest, particularly among first years and sophomores.

In November, more than 150 students registered for the William Putnam Lowell Mathematical Competition — more than three times as many people in any year since 2009.

“That’s a really good sign that we might be able to get people ready to put in the time and write good articles for our journal,” Kenney said.

The undergraduate math lounge on the fourth floor of Dunham Laboratory has also become a more popular place this year, drawing between 20 and 30 students each weeknight. In previous years, only a handful of people would gather there on any given night, according to Kenney, while this year, more students have come to utilize the peer tutoring services offered there. YUMS also hosts problem session nights and speaking events, which have helped draw more students to the lounge and departmental programs.

Both Petty and Kenney pointed to Devlin, this year’s Math 230, 231 professor, as a “driving force” in raising interest in math and making the subject seem more accessible to prospective majors.

“I’m just happy and supportive. This journal is indicative of new ideas that students want to try, indicative of growth,” Devlin said. “It’s also an indicator that things are moving in positive directions.”

Sophie Lieberman ’21, a Math 230, 231 student, said she appreciated Devlin’s “conscious effort to maintain the population of females” and minority students in her class. Lieberman believes people would enjoy a math journal tailored to the general population, especially since many students stop taking math after introductory calculus courses.

Petty said that YUMS hopes to publish its first issue before Bulldog Days, so that prospective students can get a glimpse of the strength of Yale’s Mathematics Department.

Princeton undergraduates launched a math journal in spring 2015.

Alice Park | alice.park@yale.edu