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Faculty of the Month - Sigger, Mark Halvor

           After receiving a PhD in Mathematics from Emory University in Atlanta, and doing post doctorates in Canada and the Czech Republic, Professor Siggers began looking for a job that would make life more comfortable for his Korean wife and their daughter. He finally found a position at Kyungpook National University, and made his first step toward building a life in Korea.


Professor Siggers has had an exciting professional career. As a result of one of his papers, several people have started to name a certain function of algebras after him: the Siggers Polymorphism.  However, according to Prof. Siggers, the most memorable moment of his career was, in fact, a failure.


During his first post-doc position, he believed he had proved Hedetniemi's Conjecture, a statement in graph theory concerning the connection between  a product of graphs and their chromatic numbers. Siggers and several respected mathematicians were convinced for weeks that they had solved it, until one day they found an error in his proof. “It was a very exciting couple of weeks” he recalls; “Though, I didn’t prove the conjecture, the techniques I used in my failed proof have been instrumental in several of the papers I have written since.  So even though it is punctuated with failure, it is a fond memory.”


             Professor Siggers admits that balancing research and teaching takes some getting used to. However, he is having a great time, and as a professor, he enjoys his students’ enthusiasm.  He states, “There is a lot of basic math to learn as an undergrad, and when you do not have the time to play with it properly, it can seem boring.  However, even the most basic class has extremely beautiful ideas.  To show these to students and to see them appreciate them is very rewarding.”  


As a researcher, he enjoys having the freedom to choose problems that interest him and to work on them as he likes.  He elaborates: “Between semesters, I can lock myself in my office for a week with only my whiteboards, a pot of coffee, and a stream of depressing music.  Sometimes it yields only that jittery feeling that drinking too much coffee yields, but occasionally it yields a new result.  Either way though, it is invigorating.”


             Outside the classroom or the office, Professor Siggers spends his days off with his daughter and his wife.  When he can, he volunteers at the local animal shelter and reads poetry to cats.  At the end of his day, he often goes for a run along the Shinchon River.


             If he were to give any advice, Professor Siggers recommends students and teachers to slow down and enjoy the present. “For an academic, there are always problems to think about and papers to be written.  But if we spend too much time worrying about our results, we start to hate the thing that got us into this.”


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No. Title File Date Hit
39 Student of the Month - Hubert Grotkowski  2014.11.26 8476
38 KNU Student of the Month - Yujung Han  2014.06.19 9157
37 Student of the Month - Nelli Böhm  2014.06.18 7408
36 Faculty of the Month - William Hunsaker  2013.12.02 14755
35 Student of the Month - Simonas Kabasinskas  2013.11.15 15567
34 Faculty of the Month - Andrew Finch  2013.11.13 15155
33 Faculty of the Month - Rammohan Mallipeddi  2013.10.11 15933
32 Student of the Month - Alexey Volkov  2013.10.07 15299
31 Student of the Month - Natalia Anna Michalak  2013.08.05 16680
30 Faculty of the Month - Eric di Luccio  2013.08.05 16190
29 KNU Student of the Month - Chanhwan Choi  2013.07.30 15546
28 KNU Student of the Month - Geummi Lee  2013.06.20 15398
Faculty of the Month - Sigger, Mark Halvor  2013.06.17 15343
26 Student of the Month - Aileen Anthony  2013.06.03 15461
25 Faculty of the Month - Aaron M. French  2013.05.02 25319
24 Student of the Month - Antons Esaulenko  2013.04.30 24827
23 KNU student of the Month - Gayoung Joung  2013.04.29 25375
22 Faculty of the Month - Vyacheslav Tuzlukov  2013.03.27 61813
21 Student of the Month - Li Ying  2013.03.26 36873
20 KNU student of the Month - Daekeun Chae  2013.03.21 32107
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