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January 25, 2011

Joshua Pfeffer Intel Finalist Mentored in Mathematics by Dr. Marques

Joshua Pfeffer
Joshua Pfeffer

Farmingdale State College is pleased to announce that Joshua Pfeffer, a student from North Shore Hebrew Academy in Great Neck, mentored in mathematics by Professor Carlos Marques, was a 2010 finalist in both the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search (“Intel STS”) and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (“Intel ISEF”). As part of the final Intel STS competition, students usually meet the President and their local senators and representatives in Washington, DC. 

Dr. Marques, a resident of Little Neck, has been mentoring Pfeffer since he was in fifth grade and has been solely responsible for Pfeffer's mathematics education since Pfeffer entered high school.

Dr. Marques began by teaching Pfeffer mathematics as a mathematician would understand it and shared his intuition and philosophy of the subject, as well as the correct abstract point of view. Dr. Marques’ instruction began with algebra based on a book by the esteemed mathematician Israel Gelfand. Other materials included a trigonometry text by Gelfand, and an advanced college text on Euclidean geometry book by Harold Coxeter. Before Pfeffer entered high school, Dr. Marques taught him college mathematics at a mathematics-major level, including Abstract Algebra and other courses at Farmingdale State, where Pfeffer excelled at the top of the class. Next, Dr. Marques mentored Pfeffer in the calculus sequence, real analysis, topology, multivariable calculus, and calculus on manifolds as an introduction to differential geometry.

During the summer of 2009, Pfeffer worked with a physicist at Stony Brook University, where he applied the mathematics he learned in calculus on manifolds to complete his research project, “Super Kähler-Ricci Flow,” for the Intel competition.

Pfeffer was accepted to all three colleges to which he applied and will attend Harvard in the fall.

Joshua’s father, Daniel Pfeffer, said, “Joshua’s national recognition is very gratifying, and it could not have come without Dr. Carlos Marques, a mathematician whose patience and academic brilliance has contributed so much to Joshua’s success.”

“While I’m not surprised by the level of dedication demonstrated by Professor Marques, I congratulate him on the fantastic work he has done with Joshua Pfeffer. It is the great reward of a teacher and mentor to see his/her work manifested in the accomplishments of students.  And Joshua and his father leave no doubt that Professor Marques has been a great influence upon Joshua’s inordinate accomplishments,” said Farmingdale State College President Hubert Keen.

Farmingdale State’s Department of Mathematics is part of the College’s School of Arts & Sciences, which enrolls more than 1,170 students. The Department of Mathematics offers a Bachelor of Science degree. Graduates of the program possess the skills to enter careers in business, telecommunications, finance, actuarial science, operations research, transportation and education. The Department of Mathematics also offers an academic minor in applied mathematics.