It All Adds Up in the Math Department
“Math is beautiful,”
said Dr. Carlos Marques, chair, Department of Mathematics.
“Math is beautiful,” said Anthony Ercolano (Applied Math, '19), echoing Marques’ mantra.
“Mathematics has beauty and romance,” says Joseph Bunster (Applied Math, '18), quoting British mathematician Marcus du Sautoy.
But to many of us—who don’t know trigonometry from geometry, or an isosceles triangle from a square root—it’s a mystery how anyone can be so enamored with a subject that has confounded millions of students for thousands of years.
And yet, the number of those who love math at Farmingdale is, well, multiplying.
“I have to thank the Mathematics Department and my close relationships with professors like Dr. Marques, for helping shape my understanding of the universe while encouraging me to be my very best,” Bunster said.
Bunster was at his best last summer, at the U.S. National Collegiate Mathematics Championship in Denver, placing third among the nation’s brightest math students. He won the right to compete by solving the most problems in a month posed by the math faculty at FSC. In 2013, Farmingdale student Javier Garcia took first place in the competition, besting dozens of finalists representing more than 600 colleges and universities across the U.S.
Much of the success of the math students can be attributed to the department faculty, starting with Marques who has been a professor at Farmingdale since 1989, developing a reputation for infecting students with his passion for numbers, equations, and formulas. He has also mentored high school students’ prestigious national mathematics competitions in such topics as calculus sequence, real analysis, topology, multivariable calculus, and calculus on manifolds as an introduction to differential geometry.
“Math is more than just a subject, it’s a way of life,” Ercolano says. “I might be a bit radical, but it’s like becoming a monk. I don’t know how other mathematicians are, except Dr. Marques. He certainly is a monk as well.”
“I love teaching at Farmingdale,” Marques says, “and even more, I like being chair, because I am happy giving direction. I like making an impact with the ideas I have. Whatever is in my mind, I’m glad I can share it.”
Based on her long list of achievements as an all-star math student, one might be able to say the same about Tunisia Solomon (Applied Math, '18), a multi math- award winner who interned twice at the prestigious Brookhaven National Laboratory, and was a regular mathematics conference presenter while at FSC.
For instance, at the 2018 CSTEP Conference, she and a fellow student took first place in the math/physics/computer science category for their poster presentation. Very impressive, when you consider that the pair was up against more than 650 students representing more than 50 institutions.
Bunster sums it all up by once again quoting philosopher du Sautoy: “It’s not a boring place to be, the mathematical world. It’s an extraordinary place; it’s worth spending time there.”