Honours students in the Mathematics program do work on funded research projects, says Professor Jeannette Janssen, but undergraduate research in mathematics differs from other sciences.
"In a lot of science, you need undergraduates to actually do the work. To measure the eggs or mix the chemicals or whatever. But in mathematics, that’s not the case. It’s more of a mentoring program," she explains. "They work with a professor on a problem so they get some kind of feeling for what it’s like to do research in math."
Dr. Janssen is Director of the Atlantic Association of Research in the Mathematical Sciences (AARMS). She says Atlantic Canada is a hotbed of mathematical research. Faculty and students at universities across the region often collaborate on projects.
"Ever since I have become director, I have been really impressed by all the things that are going on in the Atlantic region," she says. "There’s a lot of interaction and I think that altogether, there is a really good body of researchers and enthusiastic people here."
Student research experience
"It was easy to get that work," recalls masters student Ethan Mombourquette, talking about the research he did the summer before he started grad school.
"A simple application to NSERC (which was more work for my supervisor than for me) was all that was required."
"I learned some of the most beautiful and amazing math that I've ever seen that summer. I am in the process of publishing some of my work, together with another graduate student and an undergraduate. People who have an interest in math for its own sake should definitely seek out this kind of work. For anyone with passion about math, nothing can beat it!"