Wanchun (Rosie) Shen awarded 2020 Jessie W.H. Zou Memorial Award

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Wanchun (Rosie) Shen, a pure mathematics major at the University of Waterloo, has been awarded a 2020 Jessie W.H. Zou Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research. Shen has focused much of her work on the multifractal analysis of self-similar measures of finite type.

“I first met Rosie when she attended a fourth year/graduate course I taught a few years ago,” said Professor Kathryn Hare. “Rosie had the best work on the first assignment, but was not registered for the course. When I asked her about this, Rosie advised that she was only in 1B and thus could not take the course for credit.”

Shen went on to do all the work in the class, including the final exam. If she had taken it for credit, she would have received the top mark in the class. Shen went on to do some work with Professor Matthew Satriano on a project that involved algebra and combinatorics.

Wanchun Shen by a frozen river
Hare, along with collaborator Professor Kevin Hare, worked on three projects with Shen. On their first project on Garsia entropy, Shen added another section to the paper they had already started, advancing the problem in a new direction. This paper has been accepted by Acta Math Hungarica. Another paper has been submitted to Asian J. Mathematics that provided a theoretical explanation for examples of Bernoulli convolutions with Pisot contractions and convolutions of Cantor measures.

“What distinguishes Rosie from other outstanding students is her amazing talent for research,” commented Professor Kevin Hare. “As with other brilliant mathematicians, she can quickly identify and understand the core ideas of technically difficult mathematics, and she has fascinating ideas for new directions to pursue. Rosie also has a tremendous work ethic.”

That work ethic led to Shen undertaking a study of the almost sure Assouad behaviour of random graph-like measures and drafting a sole-authored preprint now on the ArXiv.

Shen plans on going to graduate school in the fall. She accepted an offer from Harvard University.

The Jessie W.H. Zou Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research recognizes the research excellence of an undergraduate student in the Faculty of Mathematics.