REU opportunity in applied mathematics

For summer 2022 in Alaska

The summer 2022 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program in Fairbanks, Alaska will focus on the mathematical modeling of tsunami waves. Tsunamis are typically generated by either the motion of tectonic plates or landslides. Tectonic tsunamis are the most common and can cause devastating destruction. (e.g., the 2011 Japan and 2004 Sumatra events). Landslides can also generate noticeable tsunamis such as the one in Lituya Bay, Alaska in 1958 that produced a wave that surged 1,700 feet up a hillside. Tsunami waves are modeled by nonlinear partial differential equations and the most important issues are their formation, propagation, and the flooding that they cause. From the mathematical point of view, it is a very challenging equation to deal with and to analyze it a large bulk of diverse mathematics should be employed. Our approach will connect a tsunami wave and quantum mechanics and participants will be able to learn and use a variety of mathematics from different areas. This program is supported by a supplement to an NSF research grant. I intend to offer up to four two month summer scholarships. The stipend amount is competitive. Lodging and travel expenses will be covered for out-of-state participants. If the team shows outstanding progress, a field trip to watch a unique phenomenon of undular bore waves in the Turn Again Arm (Anchorage area) will be organized.

Program Requirements and application procedure

In order to be considered for the REU internship, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  2. Be an active undergraduate student majoring in mathematics or a closely related field.


  1. Active interest in the topic of the program.
  2. Active status of an undergraduate student during the program.
  3. Minimum qualifications: calculus through differential equations.
  4. Desired qualifications: previous exposure to partial differential equations, numerical analysis, and computer programming. Active knowledge of MATLAB is particularly desirable. Any other skills related to the project (e.g. background in hydrodynamics and/or physics) are also valuable.

To originate the application process, please send an email message to Dr. Alexei Rybkin at with a cover letter, your resume (which includes contact information of at least three references), and transcripts attached. Your cover letter should specifically address why the internship appeals to you, your background in mathematics and how you can be an asset to the program, and your career goals.

There is no formal deadline. Applications will be considered as they are received and offers may be extended as soon as well-qualified candidates are identified. The anticipated start of the program is mid-June but could start as early as mid May. Minority students are particularly encouraged to apply.