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Nash Ward Receives 2024 PME Speaker Award

ice scalesNash Ward has always wanted to visit all seven continents.  So, in high school when he saw that Professor Ken Golden made trips to Antarctica as part of his research on sea ice, he reached out to see if he could be a part of the team.  Little did he know this would lead to four years of research about sea ice and a genuine fascination with the mathematics that shows up in sea ice research.  And while he won’t be visiting Antarctica anytime soon, he will be part of a trip to the Arctic this spring.

Nash’s undergraduate research on sea ice began his first semester as a freshman at the University of Utah.  Under Golden’s mentorship he has been working in mathematical geophysics, looking at the fractal dimension of the sea ice pack, with a primary focus on the brine microstructure.  He also looks at how these brine pathways are formed and what the fractal properties have to do with that.  On a larger scale, he looks at ice floes in the sea ice pack and how that geometry is formed.  The brine microstructure is responsible for a lot of the physical properties of sea ice, including electromagnetic, thermal, and fluid transport properties.  On a larger scale, the orientation of ice floes helps to protect the ice pack from surface waves that would break up the pack.  Understanding these structures is an important component in modeling the role sea ice plays in the bigger picture of climate change.

Nash WardNash had the opportunity to present his research at the Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM) held in San Francisco, CA in January 2024.  There were over 5,500 participants registered, making this the world’s largest mathematics gathering.  Nash received a JMM 2024 Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) Speaker Award for his presentation there.  This award recognizes outstanding student speakers in the PME Paper Sessions.

Nash plans to become a professor one day.  He is excited to continue researching and is also interested in mentoring the next generation of scientists and researchers.  He’ll take the first step toward becoming a professor this fall when he begins a graduate program in Applied Mathematics. 

Nash would advise any undergraduate who wants to get involved in research to start by sending emails.  He suggests finding a professor who is doing cool work, reading a few of their papers, and then emailing them to ask about it.  From there, he says, see if you can meet up to talk about what they’ve been working on.

It’s worked for him, and it should work for you!  You might even end up checking something off your bucket list . . . like traveling to the Arctic ice cap.

by Angie Gardiner

Last Updated: 2/6/24