Skona Brittain has an MA in Mathematics from Princeton University,
an MSE in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and
a BA in Theoretical Physics from UCSB’s College of Creative Studies.
She has taught mathematics and/or computer science at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, SBCC and UCSB.

Since 1999, Skona has been running SB Family School, a private math enrichment program, where she coaches math teams of 4th-12th graders, mostly homeschoolers, as well as designs and teaches “creative mathematics” classes and summer camps. For the past seven years, she has also been coaching the Santa Barbara chapter of the Southern California ARML team. The Santa Barbara Math Ellipse is an extension of that group.

Skona participated in Great Circles 2009, a workshop about Math Circles sponsored by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at U.C.Berkeley in April 2009. In the Summer and Fall of 2009, Skona and SB Family School collaborated with the UCSB Department of Mathematics to start the UCSB Math Circle, for Junior High School students. As the organizer of the Santa Barbara Math Ellipses, Skona was invited to MSRI's Circle on the Road workshops in Houston in March 2011, in Puerto Rico in March 2013, and at Courant in NYC in October 2016.

Other Presenters

Eckart Meiburg received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 1985 from
the University of Karlsruhe in Germany, where he grew up.
After a post-doc at Stanford University, Eckart held professorships at
Brown University (in the Division of Applied Mathematics) and USC,
before joining the UCSB faculty in 2000.

At UCSB, Eckart has been the chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering (2003-2007) and is involved with the Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) program, a collaboration between the mathematics department
and several engineering departments. His main area of research is fluid mechanics, specifically computational fluid dynamics.

Eckart has over 100 publications and numerous awards, including some for teaching as well as research, but his main claim to fame at the Santa Barbara Math Ellipse is that he is the father of Alex.

Larry Gerstein received his PhD in Mathematics from the University of Notre Dame in 1967, having graduated from Columbia College in New York City before that. Since 1967, he has been on the UCSB faculty, and he has also had visiting faculty positions at MIT, Notre Dame, and Dartmouth.

Aside from his research papers, Larry has written two mathematics books: Introduction to Mathematical Structures and Proofs (Springer, 1996); and Basic Quadratic Forms (Amer. Math. Soc., 2008). He thinks the former text should be accessible to some members of the Santa Barbara Math Ellipse.

Larry's research area is number theory, and his outside activities include playing the violin and the trombone.

Richard Eager grew up near Washington, D.C. and attended Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, where he was a member of their high-ranking A-League ARML team all four years of high school, as well as a two-time USAMO qualifier.

After receiving a BS in Mathematics and Physics from Caltech in 2005, he is now a PhD student in high-energy Theoretical Physics at UCSB.

Richard has experience coaching for both ARML and the USAMO. He is interested in coaching members of the Santa Barbara Math Ellipse for the AIME and USAMO.

Daryl Cooper grew up in England, went to college at Cambridge University, and received his PhD at the University of Warwick in 1982. After a post-doc at Princeton University, he taught at UCSD and the University of Minnesota.

Since 1988, he has been a Mathematics Professor at UCSB, where he has already had 14 graduate students and authored a textbook, Calculus and Mathematical Reasoning for Social and Life Sciences.

Daryl enjoys sharing the beauty of mathematics with people of all ages and all levels, as well as challenging students with puzzles. His areas of specialty are topology and group theory. (And his connection to the Santa Barbara Math Ellipse will be revealed the day of his presentation.)

Max Weiss received a BA, MS and PhD in Mathematics from Yale University, Cornell University and the University of Washington, respectively. He held positions at Reed College, the University of Washington, and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, before coming to UCSB in 1964, where he was
a Professor of Mathematics until 1992, and has been a Professor Emeritus
since then.

Max was one of the founders of the College of Creative Studies at UCSB. He started its math program, taught in it for 20 years, and also served as the Provost of CCS. During this time, he wrote a couple of dozen research papers and a book, Geometry and Convexity: A Study in Mathematical Methods. His connection to the Santa Barbara Math Ellipse is that he was Skona’s favorite math professor when she was in college.

Changyaw Wang grew up in Taiwan and studied Computer Science in college. He specialized in Computer Graphics in graduate school at Indiana University, and received his Ph.D. in 1994.

He then joined Autodesk Inc., a 3D-graphics company that develops software for engineering and entertainment industries, and has been working for them ever since. Since Autodesk bought Alias, which had merged with Wavefront Technologies, a Santa Barbara company, this eventually brought him to Santa Barbara . (Coincidentally, this was shortly after Skona had created AutoLisp, a Lisp interface to graphics software, as a consultant for Wavefront.)

At Autodesk, Changyaw has worked on the development of Maya, a modeling and animation package that is the premier 3D-graphics software in the film industry. He currently works for Autodesk Consulting, helping customers with their productions; this has allowed him to interact with such interesting companies as Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic, Disney, DreamWorks, Nike and Lego.

Changyaw is directly related to the Santa Barbara Math Ellipse because he is the father of Joshua, and he is probably also indirectly related – due to Ellipse members seeing or using the film or game products created with Maya.

Christopher Ograin grew up in the San Gabriel Valley (east of LA) and attended Damien High School, where he was "lukewarm about mathematics” until he took Calculus, found it to be “an amazingly elegant and useful expression of ideas” and became “completely hooked” on math. He earned
a B.S. in Mathematics at UCLA in 1992, as well as both an M.Ed. and a teaching credential. He then returned to Damien as a math teacher, and spent a decade teaching AP Calculus and Pre-Calculus there. Then he returned to graduate school and earned a Ph.D. in Mathematics, focusing on mathematical modeling, at UC Irvine.

Currently, Chris has a joint position at UCSB with the Departments of Mathematics and Education, where he primarily teaches classes designed for math and science majors who are considering secondary school teaching careers. Chris and his wife have two sons, ages 7 and 2, who Skona hopes will grow up to attend the Santa Barbara Math Ellipse.

Anton Akhmerov grew up in Novosibirsk, Russia. In high school, he was twice a winner of the Russian Physics Olympiad, and was also a candidate for the International Physics Olympiad Russian team.

He received his bachelor's degree in Applied Physics and Mathematics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and, in May 2011, he received his PhD from Leiden University in Holland, where he is now a member of the theoretical nanophysics group. While a graduate student, he did work about graphene boundary conditions that has been cited about 100 times, and he has over 35 publications. His current research interests include topological insulators and quantum computing.

Anton has been a visitor at UCSB's Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics three times so far. During these visits, KITP provides him a rental room at the home of the Santa Barbara Math Ellipse.

Louis Kauffman grew up in a small town in New York state, received his B.S. in Mathematics from MIT, and his PhD. in Mathematics from Princeton University. He has been a Mathematics professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago ever since, with visiting professorships
in many different countries over the years.

His research areas include topology, cybernetics, and quantum physics. He is the author of four books on knot theory, the founding editor of a knot theory journal, and the developer of the theory of virtual knots and the Kauffman polynomial. Among his many awards, he is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

And, as you can tell from this Wikipedia photo, he is a fun guy, appropriately eccentric for the Santa Barbara Math Ellipse. In addition to entertaining people with rope tricks, he plays clarinet in the ChickenFat Klezmer Orchestra in Chicago.