In this collaborative project funded by the Americas Program of the Office of International Science and Engineering, M. Helena Noronha of California State University Northridge and Carlos Tomei of the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) will initiate a pilot International REU/RET site in Brazil. Under the guidance of faculty at both PUC-Rio and the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), U.S. undergraduate students and high-school teachers will work on problems in applied and industrial mathematics, differential geometry, probability, and statistics. This pilot program will start with a small number of students and teachers in two summer institutes held at these Brazilian universities. Mathematical topics to be covered include cellular communication systems, optimal hydrothermal operation, simulations in computer graphics, and techniques in soliton theory. Among the enrichment activities planned are field trips to research centers in both government and industrial laboratories.
In the course of this project, U.S. students and teachers will interact with Brazilian undergraduates and teachers in research activities that will enhance their education and introduce them to the excitement of discovery. The international dimension will also have a great impact on the cultural attitudes of these students as well as on their career choices. This project will provide two undergraduate students who have had previous research experiences the opportunity to work as a tutor, a learning experience not only for the person receiving the tutoring, but also for the person providing the tutoring. Students will be encouraged to publish their work and make presentations at professional meetings. The organizers will recruit students from under-represented groups. Brazilian participants will have their expenses covered by Brazilian agencies.