Department of Mathematics News

Student Uses Math Model to Determine How to Reduce Vicodin Abuse

After surgery or an injury, American doctors’ go-to treatment has become the pain killer Vicodin. In fact, 99 percent of all hydrocodone, the narcotic agent in the prescription, is used in the United States. With the rise in use comes a rise in abuse. More than 2 million Americans are currently abusing the drug, research shows. Wendy Caldwell, a senior in UT’s Honors Mathematics Program, wanted to know the best way to reduce this number. Caldwell worked with students and faculty across the country and found that prevention is more successful than treatment.

Faculty News and Notes

Honors and awards for the university’s faculty and graduate students.

Epigenetics Study Receiving International Media Attention

Is homosexuality genetic? It’s a long-running debate. Now researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, say they’ve found a clue that may unlock the mystery. It lies in something called epi-genetics. The research is getting media attention worldwide.

Study Finds Epigenetics May Underlie Homosexuality

Is homosexuality genetic? It’s a long-running debate. Now researchers at UT say they’ve found a clue that may unlock the mystery. It lies in something called epi-genetics—how gene expression is regulated by temporary switches. A working group at NIMBioS used mathematical modeling that found the transmission of sex-specific epi-marks may signal homosexuality.

Four Faculty Members Named American Mathematics Society Fellows

Four members of the mathematics faculty are among the first class of American Mathematical Society Fellows. The program recognizes members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement communication, and utilization of mathematics.

High School Students Receive UT Scholarships in Math Competition

Nearly 600 students from forty-seven Tennessee high schools battled in the UT-Pro2Serve Math Contest held at UT on October 25. But only ten students were awarded $4,000 annual scholarships to UT. Scholarships are funded by UT and Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek.

High School Students Can Win Scholarships in Math Contest

There are buzzers, eliminations and fierce competition. But there is no football and certainly no calculators in this bowl. The UT-Pro2Serve Math Contest, hosted by UT, will award ten lucky and bright students $4,000 annual scholarships to the university.

Big Idea: Professor Creates Website to Aid Calculus Students


Professor Nikolay Brodskiy wasn’t satisfied with typical calculus textbooks so he came up with a big idea: create a website with more complete information to help students better understand the subject. Unsatisfied with the textbooks he’d found, Brodskiy began to write his own explanations and answers. He put them on a website to share with students and then added notes and videos from his lectures with interactive demonstrations of concepts.

Plaut Heads Math Department

Conrad Plaut

Professor Conrad Plaut has assumed the headship of the Department of Mathematics. He previously directed the Math Honors Program and served as associate department head for undergraduate programs from 2003-2005. Plaut came to UT Knoxville in 1992 after completing a doctorate in differential geometry at the University of Maryland, College Park.