What is a Reedie, Anyway? (continued)

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Nick Salter

“A typical day studying polyhedra.”

Nick Salter


Hometown: Evanston, Illinois

Adviser: Jamie Pommersheim

Thesis: A Fourier-Analytic Approach to Polytope Euler-Maclaurin Summation

What it’s about: A polytope is a geometric object like a polygon or a polyhedron. Euler-Maclaurin summation tells you how to add up a function on the lattice points in a polytope. In my thesis, I use Fourier analysis to get a version of this.

What it’s really about: How to make change with 7-, 11-, and 13-cent pieces.

Who I was when I got to Reed: A kid from the Midwest who was genuinely excited to finally get the chance to ride his bike up a hill in the rain.

Influential books: A First Course in Modular Forms by Fred Diamond and Jerry Shurman. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.

Favorite spot: The Great Lawn is a big green slice o’ heaven.

Favorite courses: Hum 110 with Jay Dickson. Abstract algebra with Pommersheim. Summer projects with Jerry Shurman. Physics 200 with Darrell Schroeter.

Cool stuff I did: Learned why the snake lemma is awesome, how to roast my own coffee, how to operate a nuclear reactor, and how to order a beer in Hungarian. Won a crossword puzzle tournament. Got a lot out of working as a tutor in math and physics.

Random thoughts: This semester I was diagnosed with hemochromatosis, a disease that causes my body to store too much iron. The treatment for this is to give blood once a week, which is not a walk in the park for someone who used to get sick just thinking about needles. But I want those laurels too much to let it get in my way.

How Reed changed me: Reed made me a whole lot stronger in the three Rs. It gave me a love for the Talking Heads, Herodotus, dogs, and sunny days. It gave me a framework for how to live the rest of my life, and one that I’m really blessed to say that I had a chance to get.

What’s next: I’m going to the University of Chicago on a McCormick Fellowship to get my PhD in math.