Gregory Funchess

Undergraduate Researcher: Gregory Funchess

About Me

Gregory FunchessI am currently a junior at the University of Houston. I love math. I like to compete in the Putnam math competition. The Putnam consists of twelve very hard problems that need out-of-the-box thinking to be solved. It’s so much fun! Currently, I do fairly applied math research on a phenomenon -- anomalous localized resonance. This has applications ranging from superlensing to cloaking. I’ve recently gained interest in topological data analysis as this method seems to flip data analysis on its head, and I think it will really change how a lot of businesses operate.

How did you get started with research?
I talked with one of my professors and then I applied for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. SURF is a cool program at the University of Houston that funds students for 10 weeks of research. I was lucky to get selected for a SURF and learn the joys of math research. SURF also comes with the added of benefit of presenting at UH Undergraduate Research Day. Everyone has posters displaying their research, and it’s really interesting to see everything that’s going on. This semester I’m doing a Provost’s Undergraduate Research Scholarship (PURS), so I will get to present more research. Presenting research is a whole lot of fun.

What type of research have you conducted/are conducting?
Currently, we are investigating anomalous localized resonance. This phenomenon occurs when a charge is placed close enough to a negative index material. Mathematically, this phenomenon is related to techniques for active cloaking. This is the next area my research will entail.

What have you learned from your experiences?
Math research is awesome. I’ve also learned that work doesn’t seem like work if it’s something you love doing. Math has always fascinated me, and I think about it a lot, so being paid to do this doesn’t even seem like work. I’ve learned math research is a sustainably stimulating career path. From my experience with SURF and UH Undergraduate Research Day, I’ve learned that presenting research is fun, and I look forward to presenting again through the PURS program at UH.

How does your research translate to the outside world?
My research is in applied math, so naturally, it has many applications to the outside world. The possibility of superlensing -- seeing finer detail than the wavelength -- is one such possibility. Another possibility is active cloaking, which is useful in noise cancellation and many other areas.

Should other students conduct research, and if yes why?
If you’re a curious person, yes! Find a topic you’re interested in and try doing research in that direction. You will learn so much just by having a research experience. Being a researcher is a pretty cool career option that you may not have considered. You may find you don’t like research and that’s fine, but you may also find that research is much more interesting and stimulating that you previously thought. Doing some undergrad research is great as it expands your horizons.


-Ton La, Jr.