Arun Jambulapati is a senior at the University of Memphis, scheduled to graduate in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematical Sciences and a minor in Economics. Arun intends to continue his studies in graduate school, and the road to his PhD has just been made a bit easier, thanks to a recently awarded three-year Fellowship from the National Science Foundation.
Arun began his collegiate career five years ago, taking a college algebra course when he was ten years old. He took that course from Dr. Ralph Faudree, at the time our university provost, and Dr. Faudree assisted Arun and his father, V.J. Jambulapati, in getting him admitted into a full-time degree program. He became a regular presence in math and science seminars and colloquia, and could often be seen on Friday afternoons in animated chalkboard discussion with tenured faculty, on topics ranging from abstruse points of deep mathematical theorems to the chemical properties of biological proteins.
After Dr. Faudree's administrative duties demanded his attention, Arun spent some time studying under Dr. Cecil Rousseau, Professor Emeritus and a recent recipient of the Paul Erdös award. Their discussions covered a wide range of unsolved math problems currently being worked on. In 2011 Arun presented a paper on a proof of a Hardy-Littlewood conjecture, certain he had solved a problem which had eluded mathematicians for nearly a century. It took some research from departmental faculty in order to determine his proof contained an implicit assumption, the proof of which is the crux of modern research on the subject.
Seeking to expand his range of problems to be working on, Arun next began working with Dr. David Dwiggins, undergraduate advisor for the math department, whose current research is on integral equations. In August 2012 Dr. Dwiggins gave a talk at the Differential Equations and Dynamical Systems conference in Waterloo, Canada, and presented some of the work Arun had done on the topic. Although the solution to that particular problem was already known, the attendees were suitably impressed by how he had used the new ideas to come up with a completely new proof of the solution. Upon returning to Memphis, Dr. Dwiggins listed Arun as co-author for a paper submitted (and accepted) as part of the conference proceedings, giving Arun his first official published result.
Arun next spent the summer of 2013 at Georgia Tech as part of an undergraduate research experience program, and he returned with another paper under preparation, this one involving new results on the folding and unfolding of prismoidal shapes. When Dr. Faudree rejoined the math faculty in Fall 2013, Arun spent that semester and the next working with him, this time on algebraic homology theory, in a class designed for students working on their PhD. As a cap to his undergraduate career, Arun took the Putnam Mathematics Competition Exam in December and received a score placing him at around number 250 out of over 4,000 participants. Visit the Department of Mathematical Sciences for the Full Article.