Lu excels in role as leading mathematician
Statistically speaking, mathematicians of Chinese descent are well represented in research and scholarship, but few tend to occupy leadership positions in the field. UNCW’s Xin Lu has been working for more than a decade to reverse those statistics.
The professor of mathematics and statistics who was born in China is committed to expanding his leadership efforts. “As Chinese-American scholars, we can do something to better serve the academic community,” Lu said.
Since joining the faculty at UNCW, Lu has tallied an impressive record of accomplishments, many of which transcend the boundaries of his own classroom. In addition to teaching, Lu has long been interested in finding ways to serve his broader community of fellow scholars, both at UNCW and internationally. It began in 2002, when Lu volunteered to help coordinate the fourth conference of the American Institute of Mathematical Sciences, or AIMS, whose mission strives to “promote mathematical science education” and to “foster and enhance interactions among a broad spectrum of mathematicians and scientists worldwide.”
Lu secured a grant from the National Science Foundation and played various roles throughout the conference. Thanks in large part to his efforts, the 2002 AIMS conference was an unprecedented success. In fact, fellow organizers were so impressed with his contribution, they invited Lu to coordinate future conferences and to edit the conference proceedings. Today, Lu works for AIMS as an associate director.
“We do all this with very limited resources and staff,” Lu explains. “We make the conference as affordable as we can and provide as many services as possible. The goal is to serve the international mathematics community.”
Lu is coordinating the 10th AIMS conference to be held in Madrid. The 2014 conference will feature an estimated 2,000 speakers, including two winners of the esteemed Fields Medal, known as the Nobel Prize of mathematics.
In addition to the conference, Lu is also involved in academic leadership. In 2004, he became managing editor of the scholarly journal Discrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems, Series B. Within three years, the journal was entered into the Science Citation Index, which many consider to be the most relevant and reliable scholarship in the field.
In 2008, Lu helped to found a companion journal to Series B, designed around special theme issues: Discrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems, Series S. Before long, he was named editor-in-chef.
“I’m really proud of this,” Lu said, tapping the cover of Series S.
In recent years, he’s worked with Shanghai Normal University and a worldwide group of scholars to launch the new international Journal of Applied Analysis and Computation.Several of these journals have grown unusually selective in terms of content, a testament to their esteemed standing in the eyes of fellow scholars.
Editor-in-chief, conference coordinator and dedicated leader, Lu continues to expand his roles. He estimates he works more than 70 hours a week, but he deflects praise for his ever-growing efforts. To Lu, the work itself is worthwhile. “We try to do our part to build a global platform for mathematicians all over the world,” he said.