by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson
Marc Besson ’15 is a state judo champion with an absurdist sense of humor that would make Douglas Adams proud. He’s also a John Dickinson Scholar, student researcher and Hemingway fan who studied advanced mathematics in Hungary last spring. Soon, he will co-publish a research paper and will present at a professional conference. He also recently shared his original work with his peers via Dickinson's math and computer-science discussion series and plans to become a math professor someday—if the sheep don’t lure him away.
Not many people know it, but I am a Colorado state champion in judo.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
[Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy Brett] Pearson. I took quantum mechanics with him, and I was amazed by how clear his explanations were. He genuinely cares about his students and has a masterful grasp of his subject. Plus, he’s hilarious.
Favorite place on campus:
The rocky spot between Morgan and Allison.
Favorite Dining Hall food:
Sriracha chicken. The grilled cheese is also good, but overrated.
On studying abroad:
I spent the spring semester of my junior year studying in Budapest, Hungary. The program was entirely devoted to mathematics, and it was difficult coursework, but it was incredibly fun. I learned so much. The highlights were my travels in Europe (especially Greece and Italy).
I plan to go to graduate school for mathematics and eventually become a math professor. (If I fail, I’ll settle for being a shepherd in the Pyrenees.)
As a kid, I wanted to be …
… (in sequential order:) a firefighter, astronaut, illustrator of airplanes and castles, lawyer (after reading how Dumbledore dismantled the opposition in Harry Potter v. Ministry of Magic), physicist and mathematician.
On research internships:
Last summer I completed research with Professor [of Mathematics Barry] Tesman on T-Coloring Wheel Digraphs. We submitted a paper to an academic journal, and I will be presenting our results at the Joint Math Meetings in San Antonio this January. The paper was a great deal of work, and it had its ups and downs. It's something that I can be proud of, and it confirmed that I want to do math for the rest of my life. I love being able to work on a new, challenging problem and then get solid results.
If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …
… Ernest Hemingway. We’ll be at his Caribbean beach house, he’ll cook me swordfish, I’ll compliment his facial hair. And there’s a great chance that something absolutely insane will happen, so I’ll have stories for later.
Published January 8, 2015