If one wants to know how encrypted messages were sent between Allied forces during World War II and how those encrypted messages were often intercepted and decoded by the opposing side, Dr. Rick Klima just may be your man.
Think Alan Turing during World War II. Or Benedict Cumberbatch playing Alan Turing in 2014. Klima’s students recently worked on the construction of an electromechanical device that replicates the operation of an Enigma Cryptographic machine.
A professor and assistant chair in Appalachian’s Department of Mathematical Sciences, Klima’s main area of scholarship is in applications of linear and abstract algebra, primarily in cryptology and error correcting codes. But, in his role as faculty and academic mentor in The Honors College for all honors STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors, his teaching takes any number of directions. During the recent highdrama election cycle, he taught Math and Fairness in Democratic Elections, wherein one of the student projects involved creating hypothetical models for alternative elections. Another interdisciplinary course involved the creation of a new cryptographic method that uses music in the encryption and decryption of information.
“I love studying areas in which mathematics overlaps with other disciplines and with popular culture,” he said. “Teaching honors courses gives me an avenue for exploring some of these areas with talented students who otherwise may never be exposed to how mathematics is relevant in their everyday lives.”
Klima recently attended his second National Collegiate Honors Council meeting, solidifying his commitment to honors students at Appalachian and beyond. “I am keenly aware of my good fortune to be at Appalachian,” he said. “I am able every day to engage a talented, diverse and versatile student body in small classes with what I find most interesting about mathematics, the most fascinating subject in the world.”
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About the Department of Mathematical Sciences
The Department of Mathematical Sciences offers undergraduate degrees in actuarial science and mathematics, with concentrations in business, computation, life sciences, physical sciences, secondary teaching and statistics, plus a general, self-designed concentration. The department also offers the Master of Arts in mathematics, with concentrations in college teaching and secondary teaching. Learn more at https://mathsci.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, one stand-alone academic program, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. There are approximately 6,100 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.