Currently, I am teaching the following courses at Reed College:

  • Fall 2021

    • Math 243, [Statistical Learning]
    • Math 391, [Probability]
  • Spring 2022

    • Math 141, Introduction to Probability and Statistics

Previously, I have taught the following courses:


My research lies in the intersection of Probability, Statistics, and Mathematical Physics, in the field of Random Matrix Theory—a discipline that originally arose in multivariate statistics from an interest in estimating the covariance matrix of a random vector sampled from a large population. Currently, I study the solvability of $\beta$-ensembles of random matrices for integer values of $\beta$ beyond 1, 2 and 4.

A detailed description of my research interests can be found here (and here is a not-so-detailed description).


Past Undergraduate Projects

Over the past two years, I have advised several year long senior thesis projects at Reed College.

Reed Senior THeses 2021-2022

  • “Statistical Models for Avalanche Frequency,” Ian Cates-Doglio

Reed Senior Theses 2020-2021

  • “Simulating Repeated Coalition Formation under Uncertainty,” Jonathan Li
  • “Spectral Statistics of Random Matrices,” Ali Taqi
  • “Statistical Inference on Brownian Motion with Drift”, Matthew Yancheff
  • “Inference on Latent Structure Random Graphs: Context, Theory and Applications,” Alan Moore

Reed Senior Theses 2020-2021

  • “Linearizing Quadratic Stochastic Processes for Metagame Mixing Time Analysis,” Collin Guo
  • “The Longest Increasing Subsequence as a Test Statistic,” Zeki Kazan
  • “Citation and Collaboration Behavior at the University Level in Agricultural Sciences,” Shulav Neupane

I have also advised several multi-term undergraduate reading and research projects at the University of Oregon:

UO Mathematics Department Directed Reading Program

  • “Vector calculus via differential forms,” Alex Vischer, 2019

UO Association for Women in Mathematics Undergrad Reading Program

  • “Sodoku puzzles as random matrices,” Shahden Barghouti, 2018
  • “A novel, heuristic “proof” of the celebrated Semicircle Law in random matrix theory,” Cory Risinger, 2017
  • “Pascal’s Triangle: An application of problem-solving strategies,” Shahden Barghouti, 2017
  • Calculus, at least according to Isaac Newton,” Kelsey Clausen, 2016

Recent & Upcoming Talks

Recent Invited Talks and Contributed Papers

  • “Virtual Tactile Resampling for Permutations and Bootstraps.” (Shiny App). USCOTS 2021. Posters and Beyond. June 2021

  • “Eigenvalues of random matrices.” Math Enthusiasts’ Series. University of Washington Tacoma, December 2020

  • “PrettyR Graphics with ggplot2” ERWS. Reed College, July 2020

  • “A ShortR Introduction to R” ERWS. Reed College, July 2020

  • “Hyperpfaffian descriptions of $\beta$-ensembles when $\beta$ is a perfect square.” JMM 2021, Probability Theory, Stochastic Processes and Statistics. Contributed Paper. January 2020

  • “Shuffle algebra techniques for partition functions of Selberg-type integrals in random matrix theory” Mathematics Department. Oregon State University, April 2019

  • “On the distribution of eigenvalues of a random matrix.” Mathematics Department. Reed College, February 2019


E. D. Wolff, J. M. Wells, The Partition Function of Log-Gases with Multiple Odd Charges, Submitted Summer 2021, ArXiv

J. M. Wells, On the solvability of $\beta$-ensembles when $\beta$ is a square integer, Doctoral Dissertation, supervised by C. Sinclair (2019).

R. A. Gordon and J. M. Wells, On the perimeter of integral triangles, International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics 64 (2010).


  • wellsj@reed.edu
  • Hauser Library 392, Reed College
  • Office Hours: By appointment on Zoom