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"Wikimedia Commons Statue of Geijer in front of Uppsala University" by Fingerskiva, is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

Coffee to go, Swedish style: math student Colin Desmarais enters PhD program at prestigious Uppsala University

May 25, 2017 — 

Colin Desmarais, MSc Mathematics student

Famed mathematician Paul Erdỗs once said “a mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.” If that’s true, Mathematics MSc student Colin Desmarais will be drinking lots of the brew over his next five years in Sweden. Desmarais has been accepted into the PhD program at storied Uppsala University, founded in Sweden in 1477.  A research university, Uppsala is ranked as one of the world’s 100 Best Universities by the three largest international rankings: Times Higher Education (THE), QS World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU/Shanghai).

Sweden will be a big change for the Manitoba born and bred Desmarais, who began his MSc studies here at the University of Manitoba in Fall 2015. Under the supervision of Mathematics Assistant Professor Dr. David Gunderson, Desmarais studied extremal graph theory, which asks such questions as “What is the maximum number of edges in a graph without a certain sub-graph?”

Currently completing his MSc thesis, which is a survey on partition regularity, Desmarais is due to defend on July 30th. After that, it’s off to Uppsala to study probabilistic combinatorics with Dr. Cecilia Holmgren, who collaborated previously with Dr. Karen Gunderson, Assistant Professor of Mathematics (incidentally, the spouse of Dr. David Gunderson).

When asked his plans after his time at Uppsala is done, Desmarais says he isn’t sure.  He knows one thing for certain, though:  “I’m going to study combinatorics for the rest of my career!”

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