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Math faculty member Dr. Brad Fox joins elite research program at Brown University

By: Zoe Huffman August 29, 2023

Brad Fox 2023 Brown REUF
Dr. Brad Fox, back row, red shirt, at the Brown REUF.

From August 7-11, Dr. Brad Fox, an associate professor and assistant chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, was selected as one of only 15 participants in the Research Experience for Undergraduate Faculty (REUF) at Brown University.   

REUF, a prestigious research program, unites leading mathematicians from undergraduate institutions to collaborate on cutting-edge mathematics research. The program aims to engage undergraduate faculty and students in the advanced mathematical research explored throughout the five-day program.  

Fox specifically focused on a field involving discrete math and number theory in which he worked with a set of numbers called elated numbers.  

“[‘Happy’ numbers] are just the set of integers that when you apply this function over and over they all eventually become the number 1. We looked at a variation of those sorts of numbers called elated numbers,” Fox said. “We were using computer programming and processes that were developed for those previous sets of numbers and trying to apply them to study this new set.” 

Collaboration and guidance 

The program featured some of the top mathematicians from undergraduate institutions around the nation with whom Fox worked closely throughout the research.  

“It was great getting to meet new people from around the country, especially when we have different areas of math that are our focuses,” Fox said. “We could bring our expertise together to accomplish some cool things.”  

These experts collaborated with one another on thought-provoking mathematical issues under the guise of a mentor, who acted as a helping hand for the researchers’ small groups.  

“Our mentor was a terrific mentor as far as giving us the background we needed, giving us some ideas of where to start and letting us run with that,” Fox said. “Just helped guide us along the way as we were working through our research.”

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Dr. Brad Fox.

Bringing the research home 

This research experience has allowed Fox to explore challenging mathematical concepts that he can later implement in the classroom and among students. His ultimate goal in REUF was to use the tools and the information he was provided to continue his research with students in the mathematics program at APSU.  

“I know in years past [people] have gone on to do research projects with students that led to publication and students presenting at conferences,” Fox said. “Hopefully, I can do the same things since the project we’re working on is something accessible to students who are going through our math major. It’s definitely what the end goal in mind is. Not just to do the research and things, but to bring that research here for students to be able to work with it.” 

Fox hopes this research piques student interest and introduces them to a new world of math that they would not have experienced otherwise in their studies.  

“I want to show [students] that a lot more mathematics is out there, and there are some really interesting unsolved problems that people have yet to even investigate beyond what they see in their classroom or within their math major,” Fox said.  

Fox plans to continue this research with his small group, hoping to prepare a paper for publication eventually.  

For more information about REUF, visit the links below:  

https://icerm.brown.edu/reuf/ 

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