UM assistant professor of mathematics Thái Hoàng Lê holds a gold medal in International Math Olympiad, which he won as a high school student on the Vietnam team in 1999. Photo by Megan Wolfe/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

An assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Mississippi, Thái Hoàng Lêreceived the 2021 Dr. Mike L. Edmonds New Scholar Award in the Natural Sciences và Mathematics category for the College of Liberal Arts.

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Most of his research lies in the fields of analytic & combinatorial number theory with tools from analysis such as Fourier analysis and ergodic theory. However, he views himself as a problem solver và strives khổng lồ learn new mathematics & work beyond the intersection of these fields. He has worked in other areas of combinatorics & analytic number theory such as Diophantine approximation, equidistribution theory, probabilistic combinatorics, & applications khổng lồ computer science.

Briefly describe your teaching philosophy/work. What should people know about it?

I work in Number Theory & Combinatorics. Number Theory is the study of the integers (whole numbers) và Combinatorics is the study of discrete objects. While intrinsically interesting, these areas have applications in Computer Science và in real life problems, such as how khổng lồ transmit information securely, and how khổng lồ generate highly random objects.

How did your interest in your field of study develop? What initially sparked your interest in teaching about your area?

I lượt thích my areas of research since in these areas the questions are easy to lớn understand & can be explained lớn people with basic background in mathematics, in contrast to some areas where one has lớn study years before being able to lớn understand the question.


Dr. Lê and Miu.

In reflecting on your time as a professor, what are the highlights?

I enjoy my job as a professor since it gives me great flexibility. I have freedom to work on what I lượt thích and choose my own research problems, as opposed to working in industry. Besides, I get khổng lồ teach, và it’s a joy khổng lồ impart knowledge và see students enjoy the same things as you do.

Are there specific examples of support—fellowships, mentoring, other—that helped advance your academic & professional goals?

My research has been supported by the National Science Foundation & Oak Ridge Associated Universities. The math department và Dr. Reid have also been very supportive through the years.

What do you hope students take away from your classes?

Students may or may not see the applications or importance of what they learn in the classroom, but I hope mathematics transforms their way of thinking. Problem-solving skills & logical reasoning will always be useful, regardless of their future professions.

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Do you have advice or thoughts to nói qua with students?

“Mathematics is difficult,” I was told by my PhD advisor, who is one of the greatest mathematicians in the world today. It is okay to lớn struggle, and it’s through struggling that you learn khổng lồ persevere.