Applied Mathematics

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

The Department of Mathematics offers an undergraduate major in Applied Mathematics leading to the BA degree. The program provides an excellent preparation for advanced degrees in math, physical sciences, economics, and industrial engineering, as well as graduate study in business, education, law, and medicine. The program also prepares students for postbaccalaureate positions in business, technology, industry, teaching, government, and finance.

The Applied Math program provides students the opportunity to customize their learning by selecting a cluster pathway. A cluster is an approved concentration of courses in a specific field of applied mathematics. There are more than 15 approved clusters with the most popular being:

  • Actuarial Sciences 
  • Computer Sciences
  • Economics
  • Statistics

More information on approved clusters can be found here.

Admission to the Major

Students should contact a mathematics undergraduate adviser. Contact information is available on the contact tab or here.

Honors Program

In addition to completing the requirements for the major in Applied Mathematics, students in the honors program must:

  1. Earn a GPA of at least 3.5 in upper division and graduate courses in the major and at least 3.3 in all courses taken at the University.
  2. Complete either MATH 196, in which they will write a senior honors thesis, or pass two graduate mathematics courses with a grade of at least A-.
  3. Receive the recommendation of the head major adviser.

Students interested in the honors program should consult with an adviser early in their program, preferably by their junior year.

Minor Program

There is no minor program in Applied Mathematics. However, there is a minor program in Mathematics.

Other Majors and Minors Offered by the Department of Mathematics

Mathematics (Major and Minor)

Visit Department Website

Major Requirements

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill the below requirements specific to their major program.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the major requirements below must be taken for graded credit, other than courses listed which are offered on a Pass/No Pass basis only. Other exceptions to this requirement are noted as applicable.
  2. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs, with the exception of minors offered outside of the College of Letters & Science.
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 must be maintained in both upper and lower division courses used to fulfill the major requirements.

For information regarding residence requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.

Lower Division Requirements (5 courses)

and Calculus
MATH 53Multivariable Calculus4
MATH 54Linear Algebra and Differential Equations4
MATH 55Discrete Mathematics 14

For students double-majoring in Computer Science or Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, COMPSCI 70 may be substituted.

Upper Division Requirements (8 courses)

MATH 104Introduction to Analysis4
MATH 110Linear Algebra4
MATH 113Introduction to Abstract Algebra4
MATH 128ANumerical Analysis4
MATH 185Introduction to Complex Analysis4
Select three clustered electives:
A minimum of three upper-division (or graduate) elective courses to form a coherent cluster in an applied area. Courses in other departments may count toward this requirement provided they have substantial mathematical content at an appropriately advanced level and are taken for at least three units.
For sample clusters, please see the department's website.

College Requirements

Undergraduate students must fulfill the following requirements in addition to those required by their major program.

For detailed lists of courses that fulfill college requirements, please review the College of Letters & Sciences page in this Guide. For College advising appointments, please visit the L&S Advising Pages. 

University of California Requirements

Entry Level Writing

All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling the Entry Level Writing requirement. Fulfillment of this requirement is also a prerequisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses at UC Berkeley. 

American History and American Institutions

The American History and Institutions requirements are based on the principle that a US resident graduated from an American university, should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.

Berkeley Campus Requirement

American Cultures

All undergraduate students at Cal need to take and pass this course in order to graduate. The requirement offers an exciting intellectual environment centered on the study of race, ethnicity and culture of the United States. AC courses offer students opportunities to be part of research-led, highly accomplished teaching environments, grappling with the complexity of American Culture.

College of Letters & Science Essential Skills Requirements

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is designed to ensure that students graduate with basic understanding and competency in math, statistics, or computer science. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course.

Foreign Language

The Foreign Language requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work.

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing, and critical thinking the College requires two semesters of lower division work in composition in sequence. Students must complete parts A & B reading and composition courses by the end of their second semester and a second-level course by the end of their fourth semester.

College of Letters & Science 7 Course Breadth Requirements

Breadth Requirements

The undergraduate breadth requirements provide Berkeley students with a rich and varied educational experience outside of their major program. As the foundation of a liberal arts education, breadth courses give students a view into the intellectual life of the University while introducing them to a multitude of perspectives and approaches to research and scholarship. Engaging students in new disciplines and with peers from other majors, the breadth experience strengthens interdisciplinary connections and context that prepares Berkeley graduates to understand and solve the complex issues of their day.

Unit Requirements

  • 120 total units

  • Of the 120 units, 36 must be upper division units

  • Of the 36 upper division units, 6 must be taken in courses offered outside your major department
Residence Requirements

For units to be considered in "residence," you must be registered in courses on the Berkeley campus as a student in the College of Letters & Science. Most students automatically fulfill the residence requirement by attending classes here for four years. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless you go abroad for a semester or year or want to take courses at another institution or through UC Extension during your senior year. In these cases, you should make an appointment to meet an adviser to determine how you can meet the Senior Residence Requirement.

Note: Courses taken through UC Extension do not count toward residence.

Senior Residence Requirement

After you become a senior (with 90 semester units earned toward your BA degree), you must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in residence in at least two semesters. To count as residence, a semester must consist of at least 6 passed units. Intercampus Visitor, EAP, and UC Berkeley-Washington Program (UCDC) units are excluded.

You may use a Berkeley Summer Session to satisfy one semester of the Senior Residence requirement, provided that you successfully complete 6 units of course work in the Summer Session and that you have been enrolled previously in the college.

Modified Senior Residence Requirement

Participants in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP), Berkeley Summer Abroad, or the UC Berkeley Washington Program (UCDC) may meet a Modified Senior Residence requirement by completing 24 (excluding EAP) of their final 60 semester units in residence. At least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after you have completed 90 units.

Upper Division Residence Requirement

You must complete in residence a minimum of 18 units of upper division courses (excluding UCEAP units), 12 of which must satisfy the requirements for your major.

Student Learning Goals

Learning Goals for the Major

Mathematics is the language of science. In Galileo’s words:

Philosophy is written in this grand book, the universe, which stands continually open to our gaze. But the book cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and read the characters in which it is written. It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures, without which it is impossible to understand a single word of it. Without those, one is wandering in a dark labyrinth.

Mathematics majors learn the internal workings of this language, its central concepts and their interconnections. These involve structures going far beyond the geometric figures to which Galileo refers. Majors also learn to use mathematical concepts to formulate, analyze, and solve real-world problems. Their training in rigorous thought and creative problem-solving is valuable not just in science, but in all walks of life.


By the time of graduation, majors should have acquired the following knowledge and skills:

  1. Analytical skills
    • An understanding of the basic rules of logic.
    • The ability to distinguish a coherent argument from a fallacious one, both in mathematical reasoning and in everyday life.
    • An understanding of the role of axioms or assumptions.
    • The ability to abstract general principles from examples.
  2. Problem-solving and modeling skills (important for all, but especially for majors in Applied Mathematics)
    • The ability to recognize which real-world problems are subject to mathematical reasoning.
    • The ability to make vague ideas precise by representing them in mathematical notation, when appropriate.
    • Techniques for solving problems expressed in mathematical notation.
  3. Communication skills
    • The ability to formulate a mathematical statement precisely.
    • The ability to write a coherent proof.
    • The ability to present a mathematical argument verbally.
    • Majors in Mathematics with a Teaching Concentration should acquire familiarity with techniques for explaining K-12 mathematics in an accessible and mathematically correct manner.
  4. Reading and research skills
    • Sufficient experience in mathematical language and foundational material to be well-prepared to extend one’s mathematical knowledge further through independent reading.
    • Exposure to and successful experience in solving mathematical problems presenting substantial intellectual challenge.


The Math Department has a small team of undergraduate advisers who specialize in information on requirements, policies, procedures, resources, opportunities, untying bureaucratic knots, developing study plans, attending commencement, and certifying degrees and minors. Students are strongly encouraged to see an undergraduate adviser at least twice a year.

The individually assigned faculty adviser counsels students on the academic content of their mathematics major. The faculty adviser's signature is required for approval of courses that are not already preapproved to be used for the major electives. Appropriate questions for the faculty adviser include selection of electives and preparation for graduate level courses in a specific mathematical area to be used for honors in the major. Be sure and let him/her know if you are considering graduate work in or related to mathematics, and if you need to solicit help in how best to prepare.

Occasionally, the student's adviser goes on a sabbatical or is taken off the major advising list and a new official adviser will be appointed by the head major adviser. Requests to change advisers will be accommodated to the extent possible on an individual basis. Please make requests well in advance of the course enrollment period in which the change is to become effective.

We also encourage students to take advantage of the expertise of the peer advisors, who have office hours in Evans. The schedule of Peer Advising office hours will be posted here at the beginning of each semester.


Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.


Mina Aganagic, Professor. Particle physics.
Research Profile

Ian Agol, Professor. Low-dimensional topology.

David Aldous, Professor. Mathematical probability, applied probability, analysis of algorithms, phylogenetic trees, complex networks, random networks, entropy, spatial networks.
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Denis Auroux, Professor. Mirror symmetry, symplectic topology.
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Richard H. Bamler, Assistant Professor.

Richard E. Borcherds, Professor. Mathematics, lie algebras, vertex algebras, automorphic forms.
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+ F. Michael Christ, Professor. Mathematics, harmonic analysis, partial differential equations, complex analysis in several variables, spectral analysis of Schrodinger operators.
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James W. Demmel, Professor. Computer science, scientific computing, numerical analysis, linear algebra.
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Semyon Dyatlov, Assistant Professor. Microlocal analysis, scattering theory, quantum chaos, PDE.
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David Eisenbud, Professor. Mathematics, algebraic geometry, commutative algebra, computation.
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Lawrence C. Evans, Professor. Optimization theory, nonlinear partial differential equations, calculus of variations.
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Steven N. Evans, Professor. Genetics, random matrices, superprocesses and other measure-valued processes, probability on algebraic structures -particularly local fields, applications of stochastic processes to biodemography, mathematical finance, phylogenetics and historical linguistics.
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Edward Frenkel, Professor. Mathematics, representation theory, integrable systems, mathematical physics.
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Alexander B. Givental, Professor. Mathematics, mathematical physics, symplectic geometry, singularities, mirror symmetry.
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Ming Gu, Professor. Mathematics, scientific computing, numerical linear algebra, adaptive filtering, system and control theory, differential and integral equations.
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Mark D. Haiman, Professor. Mathematics, algebraic geometry, algebra, combinatorics, diagonal coinvariants, Hilbert schemes.
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Alan Hammond, Associate Professor. Statistical mechanics.

Jenny Harrison, Professor. Mathematics, geometric analysis.
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Olga V. Holtz, Professor. Numerical analysis, matrix and operator theory, approximation theory, wavelets and splines, orthogonal polynomials and special functions, analysis of algorithms and computational complexity.
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Michael Hutchings, Professor. Mathematics, low dimensional, symplectic topology, geometry.
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Michael J. Klass, Professor. Statistics, mathematics, probability theory, combinatorics independent random variables, iterated logarithm, tail probabilities, functions of sums.
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Lin Lin, Assistant Professor. Numerical analysis, computational quantum chemistry, computational materials science.

John W. Lott, Professor. Differential geometry.

Antonio Montalban, Associate Professor. Mathematical logic.
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David Nadler, Professor. Geometric representation.

Martin Olsson, Professor. Algebraic geometry, arithmetic geometry.
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Per-Olof Persson, Associate Professor. Applied mathematics, numerical methods, computational fluid and solid mechanics.
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James W. Pitman, Professor. Fragmentation, statistics, mathematics, Brownian motion, distribution theory, path transformations, stochastic processes, local time, excursions, random trees, random partitions, processes of coalescence.
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Nicolai Reshetikhin, Professor. Mathematics, representation theory, mathematical physics, low-dimensional topology.
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Fraydoun Rezakhanlou, Professor. Mathematics, probability theory, partial differential equations.
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Kenneth A. Ribet, Professor. Mathematics, algebraic geometry, algebraic number theory.
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Marc Rieffel, Professor. Mathematics, operator algebras, non-commutative geometry, non-commutative harmonic analysis, quantum geometry.
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Thomas Scanlon, Professor. Mathematics, model theory, applications to number theory.
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Vera Serganova, Professor. Mathematics, Super-representation theory.
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James A. Sethian, Professor. Mathematics, applied mathematics, partial differential equations, computational physics, level set Methods, computational fluid mechanics and materials sciences. fast marching methods.
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Chris Shannon, Professor. Economics, mathematical economics, economic theory.
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Vivek V. Shende, Assistant Professor. Geometry.

Sug Woo Shin, Associate Professor. Number theory, automorphic forms.

Pierre Simon, Assistant Professor. Mathematical Logic, Model theory.
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Theodore A. Slaman, Professor. Mathematics, recursion theory.
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Nikhil Srivastava, Assistant Professor. Theoretical computer science, random matrices, geometry of polynomials.

Zvezdelina Stankova, Teaching Professor. Algebraic geometry, representation theory, combinatorics, Olympiad problem solving, Berkeley Math Circle.
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John Strain, Professor. Mathematics, numerical analysis, applied mathematics, fast algorithms, materials science.
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Bernd Sturmfels, Professor. Mathematics, combinatorics, computational algebraic geometry.
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Song Sun, Associate Professor. Differential Geometry.
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Daniel Ioan Tataru, Professor. Mathematics, partial differential equations, nonlinear waves.
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Constantin Teleman, Professor. Lie algebras, algebraic geometry, Lie groups, topology, topological quantum field theory.
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Luca Trevisan, Professor. Computational complexity, spectral graph theory.

Dan Voiculescu, Professor. Random matrices, pperator algebras, free probability theory.
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Paul A. Vojta, Professor. Mathematics, algebraic geometry, diophantine geometry, Nevanlinna theory, Arakelov theory.
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Katrin Wehrheim, Associate Professor. Low-dimensional and symplectic topology.

Jon Wilkening, Professor. Applied mathematics, numerical analysis, computational solid and fluid mechanics.
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Lauren K. Williams, Professor. Algebraic combinatorics.
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Mariusz Wodzicki, Professor. Analysis, mathematics, Non-commutative and algebraic geometry, K-theory.
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Xinyi Yuan, Assistant Professor. Number theory.
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Maciej Zworski, Professor. Mathematics, partial differential equations, mathematical physics, mathematical aspects of quantum mechanics, scattering theory, microlocal analysis.
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Emiliano Gomez, Lecturer.

Alexander Paulin, Lecturer.

Kelli Talaska, Lecturer.

Visiting Faculty

Carolyn Abbott, Visiting Assistant Professor.

Semeon Artamonov, Visiting Assistant Professor.

Daniel Bragg, RTG Postdoc.

James Conway, Visiting Assistant Professor.

David Corwin, RTG Postdoc.

Wilfrid Gangbo, Chancellor's Professor.

Charles Hadfield, Visiting Assistant Professor.

Marina Iliopoulou, Visiting Assistant Professor.

Casey Jao, NSF Postdoc.

Tim Laux, Visiting Assistant Professor.

Koji Shimizu, Visiting Assistant Professor.

Slobodan Simic, Visiting Professor.

Dmitry Tonkonog, Visiting Assistant Professor.

Dimitry Vaintrob, Visiting Assistant Professor.

Xuwen Zhu, Visiting Assistant Professor.

Emeritus Faculty

John W. Addison, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, theory of definability, descriptive set theory, model theory, recursive function theory.
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Robert Anderson, Professor Emeritus. Finance, probability theory, mathematical economics, nonstandard analysis.
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Grigory I. Barenblatt, Professor Emeritus. Applied mathematics, Solid mechanics, Fluid mechanics, similarity methods asymptotics, mechanics of deformable solids.
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George Bergman, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, associative rings, universal algebra, category theory, counterexamples.
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Elwyn R. Berlekamp, Professor Emeritus. Computer science, electrical engineering, mathematics, combinatorial game theory, algebraic coding theory.
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Robert Bryant, Professor Emeritus. Symplectic geometry, differential geometry, Lie groups, geometric partial differential equations.
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Alexandre J. Chorin, Professor Emeritus. Applied mathematics, numerical methods, hydrodynamics, sampling and Monte Carlo methods.
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Paul Concus, Professor Emeritus. Fluid mechanics, numerical analysis, applied mathematics, capillarity.
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Heinz O. Cordes, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, classical analysis.
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F. Alberto Grunbaum, Professor Emeritus. Medical imaging, x-ray crystallography, imaging of structures of biological interest, classical and quantum random walks, matrix valued orthogonal polynomials, quasi birth-and-death processes.
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+ Ole H. Hald, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, numerical analysis.
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Leo A. Harrington, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, model theory, recursion theory, set theory.
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Robert C. Hartshorne, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, algebraic geometry.
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Morris W. Hirsch, Professor Emeritus. Game theory, dynamical systems, topology, biological models.
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Wu-Yi Hsiang, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, transformation groups, differential geometry.
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Vaughan F. R. Jones, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, Von Neumann algebras.
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William M. Kahan, Professor Emeritus. Error analysis, Numerical computations, Computers, Convexity, Large matrices, Trajectory problems.
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Robion C. Kirby, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, topology of manifolds.
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Tsit-Yuen Lam, Professor Emeritus.

R. Sherman Lehman, Professor Emeritus.

H. W. Lenstra, Professor Emeritus.

Ralph N. McKenzie, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, logic, universal algebra, general algebra, lattice theory.
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Keith Miller, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, partial differential equations, numerical methods for PDE's.
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Calvin C. Moore, Professor Emeritus. Operator algebras, ergodic theory, representations and actions of topological groups, foliations and foliated spaces, K- theory.
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John Neu, Professor Emeritus.

Andrew Ogg, Professor Emeritus.

Arthur E. Ogus, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, algebraic geometry, algebraic differential equations, log poles.
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Beresford N. Parlett, Professor Emeritus. Numerical analysis, scientific computation.

Charles C. Pugh, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, global theory of differential equations.
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John L. Rhodes, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, algebra, semigroups, automata.
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Rainer K. Sachs, Professor Emeritus. Mathematical biology.
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Isadore M. Singer, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, physics, partial differential equations, geometry.
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Stephen Smale, Professor Emeritus. Algorithms, mathematics, numerical analysis, global analysis.
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Robert M. Solovay, Professor Emeritus.

John Steel, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, descriptive set theory, set theory, fine structure.
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Peter Teichner, Professor Emeritus. Topology, quantum field theory.
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John B. Wagoner, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, dynamical systems, differential topology, algebraic K-theory.
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Alan Weinstein, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, mathematical physics, symplectic geometry.
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Joseph A. Wolf, Professor Emeritus. Harmonic analysis, differential geometry, Lie groups.
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W. Hugh Woodin, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, set theory, large cardinals.
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Hung-Hsi Wu, Professor Emeritus. Real and complex geometry, school mathematics education.
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Contact Information

Department of Mathematics

970 Evans Hall

Phone: 510-642-6650

Fax: 510-642-8204

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Professor Martin Olsson

951 Evans Hall

Phone: 510-643-9304

Vice-Chair for Undergraduate Affairs

Professor Olga Holtz

821 Evans Hall

Phone: 510-642-2122

Student Services Supervisor

Jennifer Pinney

967 Evans Hall

Phone: 510-642-2479

Undergraduate Student Adviser

Thomas Brown

965 Evans Hall

Phone: 510-643-9292

Undergraduate Student Adviser

Ana Renteria

964 Evans HAll

Phone: 510-643-4148

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