WBU math professor earns doctorate

PLAINVIEW – Scott Franklin is a new man with a renewed spring in his step and newly romanticized view of the world around him.

“The sky is bluer, the grass is greener and life is a little sweeter,” he said.

An assistant professor of mathematics at Wayland Baptist University, Franklin was just short of shouting from the rooftops after defense of his doctoral dissertation Tuesday afternoon in Lubbock, completing requirements to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics.

A quick glance at Franklin’s 134-page dissertation entitled “A Computational Three-Field Methodology for Non-Conforming Finite Elements Over Partitioned Domains” and one can understand why he was feeling the stress of completing his research over the last few weeks prior to his defense.

In a very basic nutshell, Franklin’s research looks at how particles diffuse themselves around objects. Franklin said these problems, called partial differential equations, are complicated and “most of them don’t have a nice, easy solution.”

“They model things like ground water flow, heat conduction or mechanical or structural dynamics on an airplane wing or aircraft,” Franklin said. “The problems are so large that you have to simplify them.”

Franklin explained that simplifying the problems generally means breaking them into smaller pieces. Once the smaller pieces are solved, they must be combined to find the solution to the large equation. Combining the smaller solutions is what Franklin’s research deals with.

“You try to solve the problem on each sub-piece. Since what happens on the [an airplane] wing affects what happens on the fuselage, you have to stitch the two solutions together somehow,” Franklin said. “My research was on one particular way of stitching the pieces together.”

Although Franklin has finished his dissertation, which was accepted by his committee without requiring any revisions or changes, his work on the project is far from over. Franklin has spoken at two seminars about his research already and is scheduled to speak at three more throughout the summer, including a trip to London where he will speak at an engineering and sciences seminar at the University of Greenwich. He has also co-authored an article that has been accepted for publication by Stochastic Analysis and Applications, a math and statistics journal.

Franklin will participate in Texas Tech’s graduation ceremonies on May 14. He received a master’s degree in mathematics from Tech in 2000 and holds a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and bachelor of arts degree in religion from Wayland. Franklin joined the WBU faculty in 2000. Seventy-five percent of Wayland’s faculty members hold the highest attainable degree in their field.