John Ross

Notable Achievements

The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science was active at MathFest, a national meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) in Denver, Colo., Aug. 1 4, 2018.

  • President and Professor of Mathematics Edward Burger gave the invited plenary talk, “Think. Create. Connect: To Make Meaning and Make a Difference” to Project NExT, New Experiences in Teaching, a professional-development program for new or recent Ph.D.s in the mathematical sciences.
  • Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura and Robert Lehr ’15 received the Carl B. Allendoerfer Award for expository excellence for their article “A New Perspective on Finding the Viewpoint,” published in the October 2017 issue of Mathematics Magazine.
  • Lehr won an award for his presentation “Perspective Drawing: How to Find the Immersion Point,” in the Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) student session.  He will begin his first year at the University of Texas School of Architecture this August. PME funded his attendance at the meeting.
  • Futamura copresented an expert class, the MAA Minicourse “Visualizing Projective Geometry Through Photographs and Perspective Drawings,” with Annalisa Crannell of Franklin & Marshall College.
  • Futamura was a panelist for the Project NExT panel discussion on “Building a Diverse and Inclusive Mathematics Major.” She discussed the EQUIP program and shared her experiences in cobuilding and coteaching in the program.
  • Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr presented “Hidden No More Lecture Series,” based on her minigrant from the National Science Foundation.
  • Marr coauthored “Re-Envisioning the Calculus Sequence,” based on her grant from the Associated Colleges of the South with Alex M. McAllister, of Centre College, and Joel Kilty, of Centre College.
  • Marr served as a moderator for the Town Hall “Shaping and Fostering an Equitable Community in Our Departments.” The results of this Town Hall discussion will be published in the Association for Women in Mathematics NewsletterMAA FOCUS, and Notices of the American Mathematical Society.
  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton and Emma Kathryn Groves ’17  copresented “Incorporating Biology Topics Into Mathematics Undergraduate Experiences.” Groves just completed her first year in the Mathematics graduate program at North Carolina State University. She began work on mathematical models of cholera during her HHMI-funded SCOPE in 2016 with Yinlin Dai ’16, supervised by Shelton. Shelton also shared some of her work funded under the W. M. Keck grant at Southwestern.
  • Shelton participated in a Data Science Workshop and joined a focus group of the MAA Committee on Faculty and Departments by invitation.
  • Shelton participated in events for SIMIODE, including a meeting of the coprincipal investigators of their grant from the National Science Foundation, which partly funded Shelton’s attendance.
  • Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross presented “Implementing Mastery-Based Quizzes and Tests in a Calculus Course.”


Differential Geometry, Riemannian Geometry, Geometric Analysis. Minimal surfaces, Mean Curvature Flow. The mathematics of bubbles and similar surfaces.

John Ross received his PhD in Mathematics from Johns Hopkins University in 2015 and his BA in Mathematics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2009.

  • John Ross received his PhD in Mathematics from Johns Hopkins University in 2015 and his BA in Mathematics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2009.

  • Dr. Ross’ research focuses on theory and applications of minimal surfaces and mean curvature flow. Taken together, these subjects describe how surfaces (or higher-dimensional manifolds) can evolve in time to achieve stable structures under certain constraints. The most accessible example is the creating of bubbles via soap film - a two-dimensional elastic surface that aims to minimize surface area subject to some additional structural constraint (eg. constant volume enclosure in the case of a free-floating bubble, or fixed boundary in the case of a bubble wand). The geometry of the surface with minimal surface area - or the evolution a soap film undergoes as it evolves to shrink surface area - is of broad interest to mathematicians, materials scientists, and physicists. Dr. Ross studies the differential equations that govern this process, and the connection between these equations and the underlying geometry of the surfaces.