Featured Stories

Mark Motley, NSA

Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
CB 114

Public‐key cryptography is a fundamental security tool which helps insure confidentiality and authenticity of electronic communications and data storage. This talk will begin with a brief introduction to public‐key cryptography and discuss the threat to the currently deployed cryptography posed by quantum computers. We will describe some of the proposed “post‐quantum” replacement algorithms designed to be secure against a cryptanalytic attack by quantum computers. We’ll also talk about what it’s like to work at the National Security Agency and leave time for questions.

Hayden-Howard Lecture

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
Gatton College of Business, 191

Abstract: Multivariate cryptography belongs to post-quantum cryptography, which is the branch of cryptography that is supposed to remain secure even in the presence of a quantum computer. After introducing public-key cryptography and motivating the need for studying post-quantum cryptography, I will discuss the role played by commutative algebra techniques in multivariate cryptography. The security of multivariate cryptographic primitive relies on the hardness of computing the solutions of multivariate polynomial systems over finite fields. Since we can compute the solutions of a polynomial system from this Gröbner basis, bounds on the complexity of Gröbner bases computations provide bounds on the security of the corresponding multivariate cryptographic primitives. In this talk, I will introduce and discuss some algebraic invariants which play a role in these security estimates and motivate they importance in this applied setting.

Elisa Gorla, A native of Genoa Italy, received her Ph.D. in Mathematics in 2004 from the University of Notre Dame, USA, under the supervision of Juan Migliore. She became a Swiss National Science Foundation Professor at the University of Basel, Switzerland in 2009, and since 2012 she has been a Professor at the Mathematics Institute of the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, of which she is currently the Director.

Gorla’s research interests include coding theory, cryptography, Gröbner bases, as well as topics in commutative algebra and algebraic geometry. Since 2018, she has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Swiss Mathematical Society. She has been on the Advisory Boards of MEGA (Effective Methods in Algebraic Geometry) since 2015 and serves on various Editorial Boards, such as for SIAM Journal on Applied Algebra and Geometry and the Journal of algebra, Combinatorics, Discrete Structures, and Applications. She was an invited research member at the Institute for Computation and Experimental Research in Mathematics (Providence, RI, USA), the Mathematical Science Research Institute (Berkeley, CA, USA), the Mittag-Leffler Institute (Stockholm Sweden), and the Max-Planck-Institute for Mathematics (Bonn, Germany).

Alumni Day Mathematics 2022

Friday, April 1, 2022 - 2:00pm to 5:30pm
White Hall Classroom Building (CB 122)
Type of Event (for grouping events):

Mathematics Alumni Day at the University of Kentucky brings together students, faculty, alumni, and friends of the Department of Mathematics to celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni.

Date and location

Date: Friday, April 1, 2022

Location: CB 122

Time: 2:00 – 5:30 p.m.

Speakers / Presenters

Liam Solus, Kristen Barnard, Stephen Sturgeon


Three UK Math Department alumni will return to UK to share their journey with current faculty, math graduate students, and undergraduate students.


Name: Liam Solus, KTH Stockholm (Zoom)

Title: On the Road to Tenure in Research Academics 

Abstract: A Ph.D. in mathmatics opens up a variety of different career paths in today's society, including lucrative industry positions, professorships in undergraduate teaching fucused-collges as well as professorships in Ph.D.-granting programs. While each of these career-paths naturally intersects with the others, success in one direction often means prioritizing certain activities during your time as a Ph.D. Student. I will refect on my experience and the choices I made as I pursued a tenure-track position within a Ph.D. granting mathematics program, starting from my time as a Ph.D. student at the University of Kentucky. We will discuss the importance of networking, grant writing, leadership and teaching experience, how one might approach these different tasks both before and after finding a tenure-track position, and how one might cope with the stresses these tasks induce. I will also compare and contrast how these key aspects play a role in pursuing such a position in Europe as opposed to one in the USA.


Name: Kristen Barnard, Berea College (in-person)

Title: Working In Reverse: Insights Gained from Being in Academia Before My PhD

Abstract: My path through graduate school at UK was certainly not the traditional path.  While I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, I wouldn’t change a thing, and I have had opportunities that not many people could say they have had in just five years after earning their PhD.  During my sixteen years at Berea I have learned a lot about teaching and a lot about what it means to be a professor and community member at a small liberal arts college.  In my talk I will briefly share about my journey through graduate school while teaching full time, some highlights from what I have learned as a teacher, and some insights on what you can start doing now to get noticed, get hired, and get tenured at a liberal arts institution.  


Name: Stephen Sturgeon, Linquest Corporation (in-person)

Title: Good Enough for Goverment Work - Mathematics Across the DoD 

Abstract: From PDEs to simple regressions to massive linear programs, the US Department of Defense is the country’s largest business employing a wide range of mathematical methods. In this talk I will present a sampling of the experiences I’ve had working on these problems. PDEs play a critical role in research related to radiation exposure. Rapid analytical methods to pull meaning from the numbers at the speed of relevance is critical in a combat situation. Linear programs embedded in simulation software dominate the landscape of the analysis supporting the multi-billion-dollar defense budget. Working in industry also provides the experience with working 

on (and sometimes leading) cross-discipline teams. Join me as we walk through a sampling of what a mathematics career in the DoD has to offer.