Math degree and research add up

Sep 8, 2006

A 2006 Kettering graduate majoring in Applied Mathematics has been accepted into the Mathematical Sciences Ph.D. program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

It's been a whirlwind summer for Matt Causley '06, of Bay City, Mich., who is wrapping up his undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics to graduate in September, has an academic research paper on the numerical solution of heat transfer being published in the "Applied Mathematics and Computation" professional journal, 2007 edition and was accepted into the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) as a Ph.D. candidate in the school's Mathematical Sciences program.

Causley created a little stir as an undergraduate at Kettering University when he solved the issue of heat transfer created when using a pulsing laser. Not many undergraduates develop a numerical solution to solve a real world engineering problem that could impact industry, but, with a little help from Dr. Brian McCartin, professor of Applied Mathematics at Kettering, Causley was able to develop the "Numerical Solution of the Hyperbolic Heat Conduction Equations by the Method of Angled Derivatives."

"The problem with the traditional laws of physics as they relate to heat conduction," said Causley, "is that they don't work when you are looking at a sharp burst of heat or cold applied to a metal object. To fully understand this phenomenon we had to more accurately account for the laws of Physics."

The traditional method used to calculate heat transfer has an infinite speed of propagation (movement) and is adequate for many applications, but is not adequate for some emerging technologies like: laser pulses, according to Causley.

The "Numerical Solution of the Hyperbolic Heat Conduction Equations by the Method of Angled Derivatives," solves the problem by "taking a smaller time scale snap shot" of the heat transfer created when using a pulsing laser, he said.

What may sound like gibberish to the non-mathematical is really an extremely precise set of equations. The equations developed by Causley and McCartin take into account the trillionth of a second combined with the Method of Angled Derivatives (MAD) developed by McCartin, resulting in smaller time scale snapshots that shows exactly what happens during heat transfer using pulsed lasers.

With his published work at the printer and his thesis requirement at Kettering fulfilled, Causley will enter NJIT in August as part of the President's Fellowship program at the school. He was recommended for the fellowship by Dr. Gregory A. Kriegsmann, Foundation chair of Mathematical Sciences and distinguished professor at NJIT, based on his research in heat transfer.

As for exactly what area of Mathematics he will pursue as Ph.D., Causley is still deciding. "The Ph.D. program is entitled Mathematical Sciences," he said, "so I will probably work on some sort of differential equation or modeling problem with a physics or engineering background. Needless to say, I have an interest in heat conduction now, but I also am interested in quantum mechanics and wave equations," he added.

His long term goal is to emulate his role model Dr. Brian McCartin and become a professor of Mathematics. "I would very much like to get my doctorate and move back to Michigan to teach in the Saginaw or Flint," said Causley, "there are quite a few schools in the area, and home is important to me."

Other long term plans include marrying his long-time girlfriend Anjulie, "probably sometime in the next decade," he said, "we both agree that marriage can wait until both of us are financially stable."

He seems to calculate ALL the angles.

Written by Dawn Hibbard