Math Department Current Events



Welcome!


Visit this page often to hear about activities in the Mathematics Department.






Lafayette-Lehigh Geometry and Topology Seminar Day

Saturday, March 29 starting at 9:30 on the second floor of Pardee Hall

The Lafayette-Lehigh Geometry and Topology Seminar this semester will be concentrated into a single day event, on Saturday March 29, at Lafayette College. Talks begin at 10:00 am. Titles and abstracts can be found here; also, here is a printable flier.






Game "Hour"!


Game Hour is a great way to head into the weekend, a time to learn and play games like chess, bridge, go, backgammon, Scrabble, etc. Everyone is welcome!


Meet Friday afternoons starting around 4:00pm in Pardee Hall, Room 218.


Bring boards and game pieces along if you have them, or show up empty-handed. Refreshments will be served. Sponsored by the Mathematics Club.


Contact Math Club president Jinjin Qian for more information.





Drop by the Math Common Room, Pardee 218


Pardee 218 has become a departmental common for the year! Everyone is welcome to drop by at any time. Please leave comments/suggestions as you have them.




Recent Events



Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, March 21, at noon in Pardee Hall, Room 201
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


The Square Peg Problem


A talk by
Professor John McCleary
Vassar College


Abstract: Given a curve in the plane, are there four points on the curve that form the vertices of a square? This talk will recount how I got into this problem, some solutions with conditions, and how my co-authors (Jason Cantarella and Elizabeth Denne) are approaching the full case, which is still unsolved.

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome.






Lafayette-Lehigh Geometry and Topology Seminar Day


Saturday, March 24, starting at 9:30 on the second floor of Pardee Hall



The Lafayette-Lehigh Geometry and Topology Seminar this semester will be concentrated into a single day event, on Saturday March 24, at Lafayette College. Talks begin at 9:30am. Titles and abstracts can be found here; also, here is a printable flier.






Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, March 7, at noon in Pardee Hall, Room 201
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Everybody Loves Pi


A talk by
Professor Ethan Berkove
Lafayette College


Here's the flier for the talk.

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome.






Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, November 1, at 12:10 in Pardee Hall, Room 201
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents



A talk by
Professor Cliff Reiter
Lafayette College


Apollonian Circle Packings

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome.





African Influence in the Field of Mathematics


a talk by Professor Martin Sternstein
Ithaca College
Tuesday, October 31 at 7 PM in Room 224, Oechsle Hall


Human beings from across the globe and from across time have made contributions to innovative mathematical thinking. In particular, mathematical ideas found in sub-Saharan Africa have a richness that challenges the usual Eurocentric discourses on the origins of mathematics. Sophisticated mathematical concepts can be found embedded in everyday cultural activities as well as in academic mathematics texts, and so math should not be discussed in isolation from social studies, language arts, fine arts, and science. This talk will be accessible and should be of interest to everyone, regardless of math background!


Co-sponsors: Math Department, ACACIA, MSE, History Department, and McKelvy Scholars Program.





Actuarial Information Session


Monday, October 23 at 7 PM in Room 217, Pardee Hall


This session is being presented by Betsy (Bassett) DePaolo '93 with St. Paul Travelers Insurance.


Contact Professor Fisher for more information.





WITS: What I did This Summer


Mathematics students talk about their recent summer experiences on Friday, October 13, starting at 12:10 in Pardee 201


This Friday, the Math Club is sponsoring the third WITS lunchtime meeting of the semester. Shiliang Cui '09 searched for the origin of vertebrae, Aydin Gerek '07 investigated the combinatorial symmetries of the 24-cell, and Amy Quan '09 did both EXCEL research and an internship.

Everyone is welcome! A light lunch will be served.


Contact Professor Smith for more information.






Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, October 4, at 12:10 in Pardee Hall, Room 201
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents



A talk by
Professor Louis Zulli
Lafayette College


Abstract: I will introduce the famous number triangles of Pascal and Euler, and present some magical methods (see fliers around the 2nd floor of Pardee Hall) for calculating sums of powers of consecutive integers. This talk should be accessible to all.

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome.





WITS: What I did This Summer


Mathematics students talk about their recent summer experiences on Monday, October 2, at 12:10 in Pardee 201


This Monday, the Math Club is sponsoring the second WITS lunchtime meeting of the semester. Brian Kronenthal '07 did EXCEL research on paradoxical dice, Kristen Mazur '08 worked with an REU group at Lafayette to combine differential equations and biology, and Haotian Wu '07 did EXCEL research on geometric flows and general relativity.

Everyone is welcome! A light lunch will be served.


Contact Professor Smith for more information.





WITS: What I did This Summer


Mathematics students talk about their recent summer experiences on Friday, September 29, starting at 12:05 in Pardee 201


This Friday, the Math Club is sponsoring the first WITS lunchtime meeting of the semester. George Armah '08 researched fish locomotion at Lafayette, Jordan Tirrell '08 participated in the MASS program at Penn State, and Tim Zirkel '08 did EXCEL research on fluid dynamics at Lafayette.

Everyone is welcome! A light lunch will be served.


Contact Professor Smith for more information.





Mission Impossible: Learning What Cannot be Done


a talk by Professor Jon McCammond
University of California, Santa Barbara
4:10pm on Monday, September 18, in Hugel 100


Being able to prove that something is impossible is one of the things that distinguishes mathematics from many disciplines, and it is a skill that mathematicians use a lot. Several famous open problems in mathematics were finally resolved when someone came along and proved, once and for all, that they simply could not be done. This talk will survey some of these instances.

Sponsored by Sigma Xi. Light refreshments will follow.





The Lafayette Problem Group


This fall, the Lafayette Problem Group meets weekly on Thursday afternoons at 4:10 in Pardee 218.


Everyone is welcome! Old problems and other information about the group can be found here. Copies of problem sets are available online and outside of Pardee 224.


Contact Professor Smith for more information.





Isoperimetric Problems: Introduction and Challenge


a presentation by Professor Frank Morgan (Williams College)
Thursday, June 8, at 10am in Pardee 217


The isoperimetric problem seeks the least-perimeter way to enclose given area or volume. In the plane the solution is a circle (200 BC), in R^n a sphere (1935). We'll explore other spaces, including the torus, in preparation for my talk Friday at Lehigh on "Isoperimetric Problems, Including Open Problems for Mathematicians and Undergraduates." There has been lots of recent progress, including work by undergraduates, and there are still lots of open questions.

Contact Professor Gordon for more information.





Student Thesis Presentations


from 3:30 until 5:00 in Pardee 217


At 3:30, Kevin Ehly will speak on "Topology of the Reflection Poset"; at 4:00, Stacey Altrichter will speak on "Hamiltonian Dynamics of a Mechanical Example of Coupled Nonlinear Oscillators"; and at 4:30, Jordan Tirrell will speak on a topic to be announced.

Light refreshments will be provided. You are welcome to attend individual talks, or attend them all! Contact Professor Corvino for more information.





Student Thesis Presentations


from 3:30 until 5:30 in Pardee 217


At 3:30, Ekaterina Jager will speak on "Space-Time Block Codes"; at 4:00, Maureen Jackson will speak on "The Mathematics Behind the Game of Set"; and at 4:30 Kari Barkley and Jenna Bratz will speak on "Modeling Disease with Delays Due to Maturation and Partial Immunity".

Light refreshments will be provided. You are welcome to attend individual talks, or attend them all! Contact Professor Corvino for more information.





The Lafayette Problem Group


This spring, the Lafayette Problem Group meets weekly on Thursday afternoons at 4:15 in Pardee 227.


Everyone is welcome! Old problems and other information about the group can be found here. Copies of problem sets are available online and outside of Pardee 224.


Contact Professor Smith for more information.





The Team Barge competition solutions are due on Fridays



Make a team of three and solve weekly problems! Prizes are given at the end of each semester: $750 for first place, $600 for second, and $450 for third.


For more information, visit this page or contact Professor Berkove.






Game "Hour"!


Game Hour is a great way to head into the weekend, a time to learn and play games like chess, bridge, go, backgammon, Scrabble, etc. Everyone is welcome!


Meet Friday afternoons starting around 4:00pm in Pardee Hall, Room 216.


Bring boards and game pieces along if you have them, or show up empty-handed. Refreshments will be served. Sponsored by the Mathematics Club.


Contact Math Club president Brian Kronenthal for more information.






The 101st Annual Math Bowl!


Wednesday, April 26, at Noon in some room on the 2nd floor of Pardee Hall


Here¹s how we run the show: There are four teams with 4 people on each team. Like college bowl tournaments, there will be a buzzer system that lets you buzz in to answer the question. Toss-up questions will be worth 10 points, bonuses are worth more. Your team gets a crack at a bonus if they answered the toss-up correctly. It's like Team Jeopardy, but with math questions!

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome.


Contact Professor Gordon for more information.






The Individual Barge Exam


Saturday, April 29, from 9am until noon in Pardee Hall, Room 217


This math contest is open to first and second year students. Cash prizes are available: $500 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place.

No preregistration is required! Refreshments will be provided.


Contact Professor Corvino for more information.






Preview Fall Special Topics Courses


Tuesday, April 11, at 12:20 in Pardee Hall, Room 227


Professors Lu, Reiter, and Smith will each speak about their respective courses and answer students' questions.

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome. Sponsored by the Math Club.






Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, April 12, at noon in Pardee Hall, Room 217
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Playing With Chips


A talk by
Steve Tedford
Franklin and Marshall College


Suppose a line of alternating red and blue poker chips is on the table in front of you. How many moves will it take to change chips so that the blue chips are all to the left of the red chips? I will attempt to answer this question and show how this problem arose. Additionally, I will introduce some interesting combinatorics. This talk is accessible to any student with an interest in mathematics.

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome.






Thursday, March 2, at 8pm in Oechsle Hall, Room 224


Mathematics in the 21st Century: Problems and Prospects


Ronald Graham
University of California, San Diego
Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar


There are a variety of problems from different mathematical areas which are, for the most part, quite easy to state, and yet still continue to resist efforts to solve them. What is the potential impact that computers of the future might have in contributing to the solutions of these challenging problems?

Co-sponsors: Phi Beta Kappa, Mathematics Department, Provost's Office.






Friday, March 3, at noon in Pardee Hall, Room 421


"N Is a Number" and "Working with Paul Erdos"


Ronald Graham
University of California, San Diego
Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar


Paul Erdos was the most prolific mathematician of the 20th century. After an abbreviated showing of "N Is a Number", a documentary about Paul Erdos, hear from one of his closest friends about what it was like to work with him.

Lunch will be provided. Co-sponsors: Phi Beta Kappa, Mathematics Department, Provost's Office.






Mathematics Opportunities for Summer 2006


Tuesday, January 31, starting at 12:10 in Pardee Hall, Room 218
Sponsored by the Math Club and the Office of Career Services


Students interested in mathematics have many summer opportunities to consider! Many of these have application deadlines before the middle of February. On Tuesday, January 31, Rachel Moeller of Career Services and mathematics faculty members will help students survey the many experiences available in Summer 2006.
Everyone is welcome to attend, including first-year students! Light refreshments will be served, or bring your own lunch. For more information, contact Professor Smith.






Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, February 1, at 12:05 in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Hidden Markov Models for Language (and Other Time Series)


A talk by
Ann K. Stehney
Moravian College


Markov chains and hidden Markov models provide a framework for analyzing sequential data such as natural language, digital speech, communications signals, and other time series. We will describe the ideas behind these models, algorithms for exploiting them, theoretical considerations, and an array of applications. Recalling Markov¹s original 2-state analysis of Russian text, our illustrations will be drawn from problems associated with written texts, including unsolved ciphers.

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome.






Mathematics Opportunities for Summer 2006


Wednesday, December 7, starting at 12:10 in Pardee Hall, Room 227
Sponsored by the Math Club and the Office of Career Services


Students interested in mathematics have many summer opportunities to consider! Some of these have application deadlines as early as the middle of December. On Wednesday, December 7, Rachel Moeller of Career Services and mathematics faculty members will help students survey the many experiences available in Summer 2006.
Everyone is welcome to attend! Light refreshments will be served, or bring your own lunch. For more information, contact Professor Smith.






Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, November 30, at 12:05 in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Better Medical Imaging Through Math:
Separating Water from Fat in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)


A talk by
Angel Pineda '95
Radiology Department, Stanford University


Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) allows us to visualize the interior of our body by carefully controlling a large magnetic field and measuring the magnetic properties of the protons in the tissue. From an MRI perspective tissue can be thought of consisting mostly of water and fat. Most of the diagnostic information is contained by the images of the water component. The signal from the fat can mimic pathology in the water image. Because of this, there is a plethora of techniques to suppress the fat signal before imaging. In this talk, we will show how to propagate the imperfections in the magnet into our estimate of the water images and use this understanding to improve the images of where water and fat meet, like in the imaging of knees. The mathematics and statistics used include linear algebra, Monte Carlo simulations, maximum likelihood estimation and Cramer-Rao bounds for nonlinear inverse problems. Amazingly all this theory was verified in medical images!

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome.






Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, November 16, at 12:05 in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Option Price Models


A talk by
Qin Lu
Lafayette College


These days people are excited about the application of quantitative methods in finance. This talk will introduce the Black-Scholes option price model. The talk will focus on numerical methods because analytical methods have limitations. In general, there are three different kinds of numerical methods to price the option, namely the Binomial (Trinomial) tree, the Simulation and the numerical methods related to the Black-Scholes partial differential equations. The speaker will illustrate the tree method and the simulation method with simple and interesting examples. The audience will see real mathematics (undergraduate calculus and probability) applied in real world problems.

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome.





Spring Special Topics Courses Preview


Starting at noon on Monday, October 31, in Pardee 227, Professors Corvino, Root, and Salwach will preview their special topics courses for Spring 2006. Abstracts for these courses can be found under Special topics and seminars.


Contact Math Club president Brian Kronenthal for more information.





Lafayette teams take 3 of 4 top spots in recent LVAIC exam


See this press release.


Contact Professor Gordon for more information.





WITS: What I did This Summer


Mathematics students talk about their recent summer experiences on Monday, September 26, at 12:05 in Pardee 227


This semester, there will be several student presentations as part of the "What I did This Summer" (WITS) series! The theme for this Monday is research: Jordan Tirrell '08 worked with Professor Reiter on a variant of the perfect cuboid problem, Kevin Ehly '06 worked with Professor Gordon on a combinatorial approach to symmetries of the icosahedron via matroids, and Ibrahima Bah '06 studied string theory in an REU program at the University of Iowa.

Everyone is welcome! Light refreshments will be served. Pardee 227.


Contact Professor Smith for more information.





WITS: What I did This Summer


Mathematics students talk about their recent summer experiences on Wednesday, September 21, at 12:05 in Pardee 227


This semester, there will be several student presentations as part of the "What I did This Summer" (WITS) series! The theme for this Wednesday is research at Lafayette: Stacey Altrichter '06 and Ryan McCall '07 worked with Professor Root on a project related to the question of why vertebrae formed in fish, and Jenna Bratz '06 worked with Professor McMahon on a study of certain properties of Cayley graphs.

Everyone is welcome! Light refreshments will be served. Pardee 227.


Contact Professor Smith for more information.





WITS: What I did This Summer


Mathematics students talk about their recent summer experiences on Wednesday, September 14, at 12:05 in Pardee 227


This semester, there will be several student presentations as part of the "What I did This Summer" (WITS) series! The theme for this Friday is research: Kari Barkley '06 participated in an REU Program at the University of Illinois; Jacob Carson '06 participated in an REU program at Wabash College; and Ekaterina Jager '06 participated in the program for Women and Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study.

Everyone is welcome! Light refreshments will be served. Pardee 227.


Contact Professor Smith for more information.






Jobs, Internships, and Graduate School


On Monday, September 12, starting at 12:10 in Pardee 227, an informal orientation session will be held to discuss many career opportunities for mathematics students. Rachel Moeller from Career Services will discuss specific employment opportunities for mathematics students in anticipation of the Lafayette Career Fair, which will be held the following week; and math department faculty members will outline opportunities for graduate study in mathematics and related fields.


All students are welcome to attend! Light refreshments will be served.


Contact Professor Smith for more information.






Prepare for the GRE Advanced Math Subject Exam


This fall, from 6:00pm until 7:30pm on Sunday evenings in Pardee 227, join others interested in mathematics graduate school to prepare for the GRE Math Subject Exam. Sessions begin on September 18 and run for seven weeks, excluding Fall Break.


Everyone is welcome to attend! For more information on how to obtain the study guides used for the sessions at a reduced price, contact Professor Smith.





WITS: What I did This Summer


Mathematics students talk about their recent summer experiences on Friday, September 9, at 12:05 in Pardee 227


This semester, there will be several student presentations as part of the "What I did This Summer" (WITS) series! The theme for this Friday is teaching: Cassandra Schettino '06 and Maureen Jackson '06 will talk about their experiences in the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth program, and Erica Morabito '06 will discuss her work for Sylvan Learning Centers.

Everyone is welcome! Light refreshments will be served. Pardee 227.


Contact Professor Smith for more information.





The Lafayette Problem Group


This fall, the Lafayette Problem Group meets on Thursdays at 4:15 in Pardee Hall, Room 227.


Everyone is welcome! Old problems and other information about the group can be found here. Copies of problem sets are available online and outside of Pardee 224.


Contact Professor Smith for more information.






Congratulations to students participating in recent national mathematics competitions!


MCM Team submission is awarded "Meritorious" ranking, and the Putnam Team is in the top 15% for the 4th time in 5 years.


The Mathematical Contest in Modeling, sponsored by COMAP, was held during February 3-7. Two teams of three students worked around the clock to come up with the best solution they could to a posted problem. The team of Farhan Ahmed, Jinjin Qian, and Haotian Wu was designated "Meritorious Winner." The only category above "Meritorious Winner" is "Outstanding Winner," and there were only 10 teams out of approximately 700 in that category, so this is a significant accomplishment.  Also representing Lafayette was the team of Aydin Gerek, Teruhisa Haruguchi, and Ko Ko Maung.

For the results of the recent Putnam Exam, see the press release.

For more information about the MCM, contact Professor Berkove; for the Putnam Exam, contact Professor Smith.





Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, April 27, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Math Bowl 2005 lwoB htaM



How quickly can you answer questions like:

What is the smallest 4-digit prime number?
Who is the author of the calculus book used in Math 161, 162, and 263?
Which math department professor has a last name that can be rearranged to spell "SETS ON FIRE"?

Come to Math Bowl and watch four teams of four students battle it out for the title of "Best Group of Four Students Who Can Answer Questions Like These."

Lunch will be provided.


For more information, please contact Professor Gordon.





2005 Individual Barge Mathematics Contest


Saturday, April 30, from 9:30am to Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 201


Cash Prizes! Free Lunch!
No preregistration required.



The Individual Barge Mathematics Contest is open to all first and second year students. The problems vary in difficulty; most emphasize insight and ingenuity rather than specific knowledge or computational skill.

Prize amounts: $500 for first, $300 for second, and $200 for third.

Example problem: Find the 2005th digit to the right of the decimal point in 0.102030405060708090100110120130140...


For more information, please contact Professor Lu.






Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Friday, April 15, at 12:05 in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


How to Always Win at Limbo, or

You can sum some of the series some of the time, and some of the series none of the time... but can you sum some of the series ALL of the time?


A talk by
Edward B. Burger
Williams College


Have you ever gone out with someone for a while and asked yourself: "How close are we?" This presentation will answer that question by answering: What does it mean for two things to be close to one another? We'll take a strange look infinite series, dare to mention a calculus student's fantasy, and momentarily consider transcendental meditation. In fact, we'll even attempt to build some very exotic series that can be used if you ever have to flee the country in a hurry: we'll either succeed or fail... you'll have to come to the talk to find out. Will you be at the edge of your seats? Perhaps; but if not, then you'll probably fall asleep and either way, after the talk, you'll feel refreshed. No matter what, you'll learn a sneaky way to always win at Limbo.

This presentation is open to all math fans--young and old alike. A familiarity with infinite series is helpful. If you've ever heard of the words "triangle inequality", then this is the talk for you!

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome.






Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, April 6, at 12:05 in Pardee Hall, Room 217
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Conguences for Combinatorial Sequences


A talk by
Bruce Sagan
Michigan State University


We derive congruences for various sequences involving binomial coefficients. In particular, we are able to prove some conjectures of Benoit Cloitre. Surprisingly, the Thue-Morse sequence (from the theory of combinatorics on words) makes an appearance.

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome; no mathematical background is assumed.






Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, March 23, at 12:05 in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Structure of Gene Expression Networks


A talk by
Ashish Bhan '91
Institute of Genomics and Bioinformatics
University of California, Irvine


There has been a great deal of interest in the structure of "small-world" networks like the Internet and the World Wide Web in the last few years. An influential model of network growth based on preferential attachment (the rich get richer) has been proposed to explain their properties. We propose another model of network growth based on gene duplication, and show that it is able to duplicate several properties which are common in real networks and cannot be duplicated using preferential attachment.

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome; no mathematical background is assumed.







Wednesday, March 9, at 12:05 in Pardee Hall, Room 216


A preview of "Advanced Multivariate Calculus" (Math 343)
to be offered in the fall semester


by Professor Justin Corvino


If you like basic multivariable calculus (Math 263) and linear algebra (272 or 275), then Math 343 may be the course for you. Part of the course is devoted to understanding how the derivative of a multivariable/vector-valued function (multiple inputs and multiple outputs) is most naturally thought of as a linear transformation. We will develop the subject known as vector calculus, which will lead us to an important generalization of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus known as Stokes' Theorem (in 2-D this is Green's Theorem from Math 263!). Vector calculus has applications ranging from mathematics to electricity and magnetism and fluid mechanics. Finally, this course serves as the foundation for Differential Geometry, which in turn is the mathematical basis of Einstein's theory of general relativity.


Bring your own lunch!






Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, February 9, at 12:05 in Pardee Hall, Room 217
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Dynamics of Nim Induced Difference Equations


A talk by
Michael A. Jones
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University


Nim is a well-known two-player combinatorial game in which each player alternates taking turns removing tokens from several piles. I will review Bouton's use of modular arithmetic to provide a complete analysis of a first player's optimal behavior or winning strategy where players can remove any number of tokens from a pile; this result appeared in the 1901-02 issue of The Annals of Mathematics.

A single-pile variant of Nim requires players to remove only a restricted number of tokens (elements of which form the subtraction set) from the pile on their turns. Classifying optimal behavior for any subtraction set is one of the outstanding unsolved problems in combinatorial game theory. I will introduce, and will explore the mathematics that arise from, a dynamical systems approach to this problem where winning and losing positions for player 1 in single pile Nim are defined recursively as a two symbol sequence where the subtraction set is viewed as a parameter set.

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome; no mathematical background is assumed.






Mathematics Opportunities in Summer 2005


Thursday, January 27, starting at 12:10 in Pardee Hall, Room 218
Sponsored by the Math Club and the Office of Career Services


This is the second of two sessions offered for students interested in summer opportunities in mathematics, some of which have application deadlines as early as the middle of February. Rachel Moeller of Career Services will join mathematics faculty members to help students survey the many experiences available in Summer 2005.
Everyone is welcome to attend! Light refreshments will be served, or bring your own lunch. For more information, contact Professor Smith.





The Lafayette Problem Group


This spring, the Problem Group meets on Mondays at 4:15 in Pardee Hall, Room 227.


Everyone is welcome! Old problems and other information about the group can be found here. Copies of problem sets are available online and outside of Pardee 224.


Contact Professor Smith for more information.





The Team Barge competition solutions are due on Fridays



Make a team of three and solve weekly problems! Prizes are given at the end of each semester: $750 for first place, $600 for second, and $450 for third.


For more information, visit this page or contact Professor Berkove.






Game "Hour"!


Game Hour is a great way to head into the weekend, a time to learn and play games like chess, bridge, go, backgammon, Scrabble, etc. Everyone is welcome!


Meet Friday afternoons starting around 4:00pm in Pardee Hall, Room 216.


Bring boards and game pieces along if you have them, or show up empty-handed. Refreshments will be served. Sponsored by the Mathematics Club.


Contact Math Club president Ekaterina Jager for more information.






Two Teams Tie for First Place in Fall Team Barge Competition



Two student teams earned perfect scores to tie as winners of the fall Team Barge competition, splitting the $1,000 and $450 prizes for first and second place, respectively. Smathi Charanasomboon ¹07, Aydin Gerek ¹07, Teruhisa Haruguchi ¹07, Ko Ko Maung ¹07, and Haotian Wu ¹07 formed one of the winning teams, and Jinjin Qian ¹08, Jacob Carson ¹06, and Ekaterina Jager ¹06 formed the other. Finishing a close third were first-year students Xue Ji, Mark Kokoska, and Jordan Tirrell.

More information can be found in the press release. Contact Professor Berkove if you think you might be interested in participating this spring!






Math Subject GRE Review Sessions


The GRE Subject Test in Mathematics Review/Prep sessions will be held on Sundays from 11:30 until 12:30 this Fall in Pardee 227. Please attend if you are interested -- everyone is welcome!.


Contact Professor Zulli for more information.





Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, December 8, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Mathematics/a Meets the VaST Monster


A talk by
Professor Randy Stonesifer
Lafayette College



The registration process for VaST courses had evolved from survival of the fittest to survival of the lucky. Now the Lafayette community has pooled its resources to conquer this evil villain. Find out how VaST courses are assigned and why this new process has been considered a success.

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome; no mathematical background is assumed.







Lafayette Teams Dominate Recent LVAIC Math Exam


One Lafayette Team Ties for First Place, and Others Rank Third, Fourth, and Fifth


This year, the annual LVAIC Mathematics Exam took place on Saturday, October 30. Twelve teams with a total of 43 students from Lafayette, Lehigh, Moravian, Muhlenberg, and DeSales competed.

Tying a five-student Lehigh University team for first place after scoring 91 of a possible 100 points on the test was the team of Rob McEwen ¹05, Greg Francos ¹05, Ekaterina Jager ¹06, and Jinjin Qian ¹08. Finishing in third place with 78 points was the team of Brian Kronenthal ¹07, Varun Mehta ¹06, Ibrahima Bah ¹06, and Farhan Ahmed ¹05; in fourth was the team of Aydin Gerek ¹07, Haotian Wu ¹07, Teruhisa Haruguchi ¹07, and Thuy Lan Nguyen ¹07; and in fifth was the team of Jordan Tirrell ¹08, Xue Ji ¹08, and Keming Liang ¹08.

More information can be found in the press release. Contact Professor Gordon if you think you might be interested in taking the exam next year!






The Putnam Mathematics Competition


Saturday, December 4, starting at 9:45am in Pardee Hall, Room 217


Students are invited to the take the Putnam Mathematics Competition on Saturday, December 4. The Competition has both a morning and afternoon session, with breakfast provided starting around 9:15am and a lunch between the two sessions.
Several additional copies of the exam are available for students who were unable to sign up for the exam earlier in the semester. Contact Professor Smith if you think you might be interested in taking one of these.






Mathematics Opportunities in Summer 2005


Wednesday, December 1, starting at 12:10 in Pardee Hall, Room 227
Sponsored by the Math Club and the Office of Career Services


Students interested in mathematics have many summer opportunities to consider! Some of these have application deadlines as early as the middle of December. On Wednesday, December 1, Rachel Moeller of Career Services and mathematics faculty members will help students survey the many experiences available in Summer 2005.
Everyone is welcome to attend! Light refreshments will be served, or bring your own lunch. For more information, contact Professor Smith.






Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Friday, November 12, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Of Numbers and Flowers: The Truth about Truth


A talk by
Professor Jonathan David Farley
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


"What is truth?"
- John 18:38

The new Gwyneth Paltrow film "Proof" and Russell Crowe's "A Beautiful Mind" perpetuate certain myths about mathematics.

MYTH #1: Mathematicians are very often insane.

Actually, that's not a myth. But it is a myth that mathematics is primarily about numbers. In fact, mathematics is the quest for truth, and the enterprise of mathematics has much more in common with art and poetry than the ordinary layperson might think.

MYTH #2: In mathematics, everything is either right or wrong.

Indeed, in 1931, a young Austrian mathematician uncovered a secret about Reality that would revolutionize mathematics... and unravel his mind...

Prof. Farley is the 2004 recipient of the Harvard Foundation's Distinguished Scientist of the Year Award, a medal presented on behalf of the president of Harvard University in recognition of "outstanding achievements and contributions in the field of mathematics." Dr. Farley obtained his doctorate in mathematics from Oxford University, after winning Oxford's highest mathematics awards, the Senior Mathematical Prize and Johnson Prize. In 2001-2002, he was one of only four Americans to win a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award to the United Kingdom.


Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome; no mathematical background is assumed.






Friday, November 12, at 4:10 in Pardee Hall, Room 217
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department present a Department Colloquium


Linear Extensions of a Ranked Poset, Enumerated by Descents:
A problem of Richard P. Stanley from 1981


Professor Jonathan David Farley
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Here is an abstract (PDF).






LVAIC Math Contest


The 15th Annual LVAIC Math Contest involves teams students from Cedar Crest, DeSales, Moravian, Muhlenberg, Lafayette, and Lehigh. This year, the contest will take place at Moravian College on Saturday, October 30, from 10:00am until 12:30pm.


Coffee and goodies will be available from 9:15 until 10:00, and there's a free pizza lunch after the contest. See this web page for sample test questions.


Contact Professor Gordon for more information.







Professor Corvino, who will be teaching "Partial Differential Equations" next semester, offers a lunch-time presentation on Friday, October 22, starting at 12:05 in Pardee 227. He says:


"Partial differential equations (PDEs) are used to model physical phenomena like heat flow and diffusion, vibrating membranes, and the propagation of electromagnetic and sound waves. Furthermore, PDEs also arise in geometry, where solutions of certain equations represent interesting geometries, like the geometry of soap films. Some physical theories like general relativity and quantum mechanics rely heavily on PDEs. In this course we will focus on techniques used to understand three fundamental equations (the Laplace-Poisson equation, the heat equation and the wave equation), but these techniques are often useful in the study of other equations as well.


"At this informal session I will introduce some of the topics we will be exploring in Math 312 this spring, as well as try to answer questions you may have about the subject and the course."


Contact Professor Corvino for more information.






Ernst and Young Consultant Position


Lafayette alumna Susan Garille Higgins has been at Ernst and Young for several years and sends information about an available consultant position for those graduating in 2005. The deadline for applying is October 25.


Description: Ernst & Young's Quantitative Economics and Statistics Group (QUEST) invites applications from qualified new or recent graduates to join our team.  QUEST provides quantitative advisory services and products in areas of applied economics and statistics.  This includes business research, statistical analyses, surveys, sampling and econometric modeling.  Our consulting services include the enhancement of business processes, analysis of legislative and regulatory issues, estimation for tax purposes and litigation support.  The learning opportunities provided through a diverse set of projects are complemented by a dynamic work environment and on-the-job training.

Requirements: Successful candidates will have a bachelor's degree in economics, mathematics, statistics and/or other quantitative disciplines.  Other qualifications include: excellent analytical and communication skills, both written and oral; coursework in economics, statistics, or related areas; high level of academic performance; computer skills, such as familiarity with statistical programming software and database management; balancing multiple tasks in a team environment and effectively meeting deadlines; and relevant experience through summer employment or research internships.


Contact Susan Higgins for more information.






Is y = x2 a continuous function?


Professor Zulli, who will be teaching "Topology" next semester, offers a lunch-time presentation on Wednesday, October 20, from 12:05 to 12:45 in Pardee 227.


Abstract: Suppose X and Y are arbitrary sets. A function f: X --> Y is a "rule" that assigns an element f(x) in Y to each element x in X. Topology is the branch of mathematics that allows us to ask and answer the important question: Is f a continuous function? In this talk I'll discuss what continuity means, and explain why the correct answer to my title question is "It depends."


Contact Professor Zulli for more information.






Actuarial Information Session


This Wednesday, October 20, at 7 PM in Pardee 201, Betsy (Bassett) DePaolo'93 will be presenting an actuarial information session. Betsy is an actuary with St. Paul Travelers. If you are interested in finding out what actuaries do or are interested in actuarial careers, please attend!


Contact Professor Fisher for more information.





Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, October 6, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


From Poincare to Perelman


A talk by
Professor John Meier
Lafayette College



Here's a question: What's the shape of space? If that one seems too hard, you might tackle: What possible shapes could our universe take? These are grand questions but it appears that they might not be completely intractable. In fact, following on ideas of some famous mathematicians (Bill Thurston and Richard Hamilton), Grisha Perelman has recently announced a solution to the second problem. In addition to glory and honor, if his work holds up under close examination, Perelman will get a million dollars from the Clay Mathematics Institute. I will try to give some idea of the principal mathematical objects under discussion (3-manifolds), some of the historical development of the subject, and perhaps a hint at Perelman's approach.

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome; no mathematical background is assumed.






Sign up for the Putnam by Friday, October 8


The national Putnam Mathematics Competition takes place every December on the first Saturday morning. This year, that date is December 4, ... but the sign up period for the exam is much earlier. If you want to take the exam this year, please sign up on the sheet outside of Pardee 224 or simply email Professor Smith before Fall Break. Don't miss out on the fun!


Old Putnam exams are available online, as are descriptions of Lafayette's Putnam participation in 2002 and 2003.






WITS: What I did This Summer


Mathematics students talk about their recent summer experiences on Friday, October 1, and Monday, October 4, at Noon in Pardee 227


This semester, there will be several student presentations as part of the "What I did This Summer" (WITS) series!

This Friday at noon in Pardee 227, we will have three presenters. EXCEL Scholars Rebecca Anderson and Jonathan Rowe worked with Professor Lorenzo Traldi on reliability in communication networks, and EXCEL Scholar Jacob Carson worked with Professor Ethan Berkove on combinatorial problems related to the game Instant Insanity.

On Monday, October 4, the presenters will be Maureen Jackson, who was a teaching assistant in the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) program, and Blerta Shtylla, who participated in the Program for Women in Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study/Princeton University in May and then held a summer fellowship from the Mayo Clinic to study in the bioengineering department and the Mayo Graduate School. For more information, click here.

Bring your own lunch and/or enjoy some light refreshments, courtesy of the Math Club.


Contact Professor Smith for more information.





WITS: What I did This Summer


Mathematics students talk about their recent summer experiences on Friday, September 22, at Noon in Pardee 227


This semester, there will be several student presentations as part of the "What I did This Summer" (WITS) series! This Friday at noon in Pardee 227, we will have two presenters. EXCEL Scholar Prince Chidyagwai worked on quasicrystal growth with Professor Cliff Reiter at Lafayette, and Rob McEwen participated in the Director's Summer Program at a Not-as-yet Specified Agency in the US Department of Defense in the Baltimore/Washington DC area.

Bring your own lunch and/or enjoy some light refreshments, courtesy of the Math Club. For more information on the student presenters, see this article.


Contact Professor Smith for more information.





Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, September 22, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Steiner's Triples, Kirkman's Schoolgirls, and Designs in General


A talk by
Professor Chester Salwach
Lafayette College



Kirkman's schoolgirl problem was introduced by the Reverend Thomas J. Kirkman as "Query 6" on page 48 of the Lady's and Gentleman's Diary (1850): "A teacher would like to take 15 schoolgirls out for a walk, the girls being arranged in 5 rows of three. The teacher would like to ensure equal chances of friendship between any two girls. Hence it is desirable to find different row arrangements for the 7 days of the week such that any pair of girls walk in the same row exactly one day of the week." Can one hope to arrange such friendly relations?

Lunch will be provided. Everyone is welcome; no mathematical background is assumed.






The Career Fair at Lafayette


takes place on Wednesday, September 22, from 4:30pm until 8:00pm.


Approximately 50 employers are expected to participate this year from the private, non-profit and public service sectors.  New additions this year include:  Accenture, Action Without Borders/Idealist.org, Commerce Bank, Disney, Ingersoll Rand, Johnson & Johnson, Pearson Education, Teach for America, and others.

In particular, a Lafayette mathematics alumnus working at Accenture writes: "After many years of being absent from recruiting at Lafayette, Accenture will be participating in the Career Fair. I was hoping you could encourage some of the math majors to attend the fair and check out Accenture."


Contact Linda Arra, Director, Career Services, for more information.




From Summer 2004





From Academic Year 2003-2004


Congratulations to Mathematics Students Honored This Spring!


Philip Dimitrov is the winner of the 2004 Wesley S. Mitman Prize, and Ekaterina Jager is the recipient of the 2004 James P. Crawford Award.

Also, Carrie Abildgaard, Elisabeth Edwards, and Douglas Schiz graduated with honors. For more information on recent honors theses, see "Honors, Independent Study, and Research".





Congratulations to the 2003 Putnam Exam Participants!


22 Lafayette students took the all-day exam


Lafayette had a record turnout for the 2003 William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition. The 7 Lafayette students with the highest individual scores were Zach Reiter (score of 18, national rank of 498.5); Ekaterina Jager (14, 549); Jacob Carson, Ayelin Gerek, Josh Porter, and Brian Regan (10, 905.5); and Haotian Wu (8, 1120.5). The other Lafayette participants were Farhan Ahmed, Maria Azimova, Ibrahima Bah, Kari Barkley, Prince Chidyagwai, Kevin Ehly, Teruhisa Haruguchi, John Kolba, Brian Kronenthal, Ryan McCall, Rob McEwen, Verun Mehta, Kyle Palmer, Dhiraj Sharma, and Zach Silverman. Across North America, 3615 undergraduate students from over 450 colleges and universities participated.

Lafayette's 3-member team had a rank of 111, in the top 25 percent of all participating institutions.

Interested in taking next year's exam or participating in the weekly Problem Group? Please contact Professor Smith.





The Team Barge Competition


continues throughout the Spring. Solutions are due on Fridays.


Make a team of three and solve weekly problems! See the announcement.


Contact Professor Berkove for more information.




The Lafayette Problem Group


meets on Wednesdays at 4:15 in Pardee Hall, Room 227.


Everyone is welcome! Old problems and other information about the group can be found here. Copies of problem sets are also available outside of Pardee 224.


Contact Professor Smith for more information.




Game Hour!


is the time to learn and play games like chess, bridge, go, backgammon, Scrabble, etc.


Meet Friday afternoons around 4:00pm on the 2nd floor of Pardee Hall.


Bring boards and game pieces along if you have them, or show up empty-handed. Refreshments will be served. Sponsored by the Mathematics Club.












Math Club: Election Results



The Math Club officers for 2004-2005 are Ekaterina Jager (President), Maria Azimova (Vice-President), Brian Kronenthal (Secretary), and Haotian Wu (Treasurer).

If you would like to participate in the planning of Math Club events, such as the Problem Group, the Game Hour, the invited speaker series, or anything else you can think of, please contact Ekaterina.





Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, April 28, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Math Bowl 2004 lwoB htaM



How quickly can you answer questions like:

What is the smallest 4-digit prime number?
Who is the author of the calculus book used in Math 161, 162, and 263?
Which math department professor has a last name that can be rearranged to spell "SETS ON FIRE"?

Come to Math Bowl and watch four teams of four students battle it out for the title of "Best Group of Four Students Who Can Answer Questions Like These."

Lunch will be provided.


For more information, please contact Professor Gordon.





2004 Barge Mathematics Contest


Saturday, April 17, from 9:00am to Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227


Cash Prizes! Free Lunch!
No preregistration required.



The (Individual) Barge Mathematics Contest is open to all first and second year students. The problems vary in difficulty; most emphasize insight and ingenuity rather than specific knowledge or computational skill.

Prize amounts: $500 for first, $300 for second, and $200 for third.

Example problem: Find the 2004th digit to the right of the decimal point in 0.102030405060708090100110120130140...


For more information, please contact Professor Zulli.





Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, April 21, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Funny Dice and Electoral Paradoxes


A talk by
Professor Lorenzo Traldi
Universita' Natale di Roma



A funny die is an ordinary cubical die, which has been marked with numbers between 1 and 6 spots on each face. Two funny dice compete in a simple game: both are thrown, and whichever shows a larger number wins that throw. We imagine the game being played repeatedly and ask: which of the two dice would we expect to be stronger -- that is, to win more throws over the long run? For instance, a die marked (4,4,4,4,4,4) is clearly stronger than a die marked (3,3,3,3,3,3). Strangely enough, though, both of them tie with a die marked (1,1,1,6,6,6). (Verify this!) We'll discuss some surprising results about competing funny dice, and a quick summary of the analogy between funny dice and multi-candidate elections.

Lunch will be provided.


For more information, please contact Professor Traldi.





Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, March 31, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


From Linking Numbers to Lights Out


A talk by
Professor Mark Kidwell
U. S. Naval Academy



In a link of c circles in three-space, you can assign an integer to each pair of circles called the linking number. Before you can talk about positive and negative linking numbers, you have to put an arrow (orientation) on each of your circles. In a famous table of knots and links, Bailey and Roth neglected to put arrows on their circles. The question arises: can you add arrows in a way that will make all c-choose-2 of your linking numbers positive? Reversing the arrow on one circle alters the signs of all the linking numbers involving that circle. The situation is similar to the game of Lights Out, in which pressing a button to change one light in a rectangular array also changes the status of neighboring lights.

Lunch will be provided.





"EW" stands for "Every Wednesday"


"Complex Numbers and Functions," by Professor Zulli
Wednesday, March 24, at 12:15 in Pardee 227


Professor Zulli will give a very gentle introduction to some of the main characters who will appear in Math 345 (Complex Analysis) this Fall. The discussion should be accessible to all.

Contact Professor Zulli for more information.






Summer Opportunities and Internships in Mathematics


Monday, February 23, from 12:15 until 1:00 in Pardee 216



An informal meeting will be held to discuss summer opportunities and internships for mathematics students. Rachel Moeller from Career Services will join mathematics faculty to provide information and answer questions.

Drop by the session for any portion of the lunch hour that you have free. Everyone is welcome to attend. Opportunities are available for students at all levels, including first- and second-year students.

This event is sponsored by the Math Club. Light refreshments will be served.



Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, December 3, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Fractals, Pictures, Movies


A talk by
Professor Yan Lyansky
Lafayette College



In a practical setting, fractals are used to describe the shape of snowflakes, ferns, and the design of tires. Artistically, they are also used to create naturally occurring images, movies, and sounds. We will investigate some artistic fractals to see how they implement mathematical ideas.

Lunch will be provided.




Ever thought of Mathematics Graduate School?
Get to know your GRE!


Sundays at 5:00pm in Pardee Hall, Room 201
Refreshments provided



Most mathematics graduate schools require you take a test called the Mathematics Subject Exam in addition to the General GRE. So, if you've got even just a remote interest in mathematics graduate school, you should find out what this exam is all about! We'll discuss topics on the exam, including which courses at Lafayette cover them. You might be surprised at how many problems you can do already, regardless of your current background!

Refreshments will be provided. Everyone is welcome! Sponsored by the Math Club.

For more information, contact Professor Smith.



Mathematica Seminar


Wednesdays at 4:30pm in Pardee Hall, Room 219



There will be a Mathematica Seminar on Wednesdays at 4:30 in the lab. Professor Lyansky will begin the first few sessions by following examples and problems from "An Introduction to Programming with Mathematica" by Gaylord, Kamin, and Wellin. The goal is to have the students solve some problems from the "American Mathematical Monthly" using Mathematica.

For more information, contact Professor Lyansky.




The Mathematics Club at Lafayette


is planning many events for the current year.


Join the club and get involved -- everyone is welcome!
General Meeting: Thursday, November 6, at 4:00 in Pardee 227


Contact the club president, Katya Jager, for more information.





The Team Barge Competition


is underway this Fall. Solutions are due on Fridays.


Make a team of three and solve weekly problems! See the announcement.


Contact Professor Berkove for more information.




The Lafayette Problem Group


meets on Thursdays this Fall at 4:15 in Pardee Hall, Room 227.


Everyone is welcome! Old problems and other information about the group can be found here. Copies of the current problem set are also available outside of Pardee 224.


Contact Professor Smith for more information.





Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Friday, November 14, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Graph Coloring, Chromatic Polynomials, and Statistical Physics


A talk by
Professor Alan Sokal
NYU



Suppose we are given a graph G, and want to color its vertices using a certain number q of colors, in such a way that a pair of adjacent vertices must always be given different colors. The smallest integer q for which this can be done is called the chromatic number of G, and has been much studied by combinatorial mathematicians. I want to focus attention instead on the number of different ways that G can be colored using q colors (of course, for some values of q the answer might be zero). I will prove that this number is in fact a polynomial in q, which is called the chromatic polynomial of the graph G. I will then discuss questions related to the real and complex roots of the chromatic polynomial, and explain how they are related to the problem of phase transitions in statistical physics. No prior knowledge of graph theory or statistical physics is needed to understand this talk --- just a basic understanding of calculus and complex numbers. (It helps if you're heard of the concept of an analytic function of a complex variable, but I'll explain it briefly if needed.)

Lunch will be provided.



Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, October 22, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Enigma


A talk by
Professor Tom Yuster
Lafayette College



It's 1943. The Germans have just unexpectedly changed their code and the British can no longer break it. Allied convoys are suddenly at terrible risk. The outcome of WWII hangs in the balance. That's not what this talk is about (but it makes a good plot line for the movie Enigma). Instead, the talk concerns what happened many years before. It's 1926. The Germans have adopted the Enigma code. The French have one of the German code machines. It doesn't matter - they still can't break the code. They share intelligence with the Poles, who do something new in the annals of code breaking - they recruit mathematicians. What transpires changes the course of WWII, as it makes possible the accomplishments of the British code breakers loosely chronicled in Enigma. In this talk, I'll show you some of the ideas the Poles used in breaking the first of the Enigma codes, the ideas that became the foundations for British code breaking during WWII.

Lunch will be provided.




Actuarial Information Session
Sponsored by Travelers Insurance


Wednesday, October 15, at 7pm in Pardee Hall, Room 201
Refreshments provided



Lafayette graduate Betsy DePaolo '93 (Betsy Bassett) will be presenting an actuarial information session sponsored by Travelers Insurance. She will be discussing the actuarial profession in general, as well as summer internship and full-time employment opportunities at Travelers Insurance. Each year, several mathematics students do such internships and several graduates start careers as actuaries.

For more information, contact Professor Fisher.



Sign Up for the Putnam Mathematics Exam


The exam takes place on Saturday, December 6.
Register by Tuesday, October 14.


Sign up outside of Pardee 224, or send an email to Professor Smith.



Saturday, December 6, is the day after classes are over and two full days before final exams begin on Tuesday. The timing is perfect!

Of course, you are not expected to get a high score on the exam, or even get a positive score at all! (The median score two years ago was 0 out of 120.) Just take it for fun, and hold out some hope that you just might get something right on one or two problems.

The exam has two parts, one from 10:00 until 1:00 and the other from 3:00 until 6:00. Come to whatever portion of the exam you can make. Breakfast and lunch are provided.



Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, October 1, at Noon in Pardee Hall
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Bringing Math into the Fold: Mathematics and Origami


A talk by
Professor Ethan Berkove
Lafayette College



What possible connection could there be between the traditional Japanese art of folding paper and mathematics? One might be surprised to learn that over the last couple of decades the connections between origami and mathematics have been extensively studied. Some of the results are purely recreational in nature. Others are deeper, relating to questions in classical geometry, graph theory, and algebra. The purpose of this talk is to give an introduction to some of what's happening in this interesting intersection between art and mathematics. I'll bring some interesting origami too!

Lunch will be provided.




The (New!) Mathematics Club presents


Wednesday, September 10, at 4:15 in Pardee Hall, Room 227


"Games People Don't Play"
A talk by Peter Winkler
Director of Fundamental Mathematics Research, Bell Labs

Not all games are to play; some of the most amusing are designed just to think about. Is the game fair? What's the best strategy? We will describe several games collected from various sources. An odd (actually, even) feature of this list is that each game has two versions, with surprising contrasts between the two.
Time permitting, there are four pairs of games: the first involving numbers, the second hats, the third cards, and the fourth gladiators.

Refreshments will be provided.



From Academic Year 2002-2003

Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, April 30, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


The Math Bowl:
See Student Teams Compete to Show They Know Math


Lunch will be provided.



Barge Contest


4k



Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, April 23, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


The Generalized Riemann Integral:
Integration the Way It Oughtaí Be


Lazar Nikolic ë03
Presents some results of his Senior Honors Thesis



We will introduce a generalization of Riemann integration. The Generalized Riemann Integral extends the set of integrable functions, has desirable convergence properties and satisfies a strong Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Furthermore, we can accomplish all of this without a lot of theoretical complexity. Examples will be used to show how to compute values of this more general integral and to demonstrate some of its properties.


Lunch will be provided.


Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Thursday, April 17, at 12:15 in Pardee Hall, Room 201
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


What Is A Ring?


A talk by
Mark Rhodes
Colgate University



In this talk I will make some straightforward observations concerning the set of zero points of the polynomial in two variables y2!x3!x2. These observations will lead us to discover a fundamental correspondence between this geometric object and an algebraic one called a coordinate ring. In general, the connection between these objects allows one to study the individual points on a curve algebraically.


Lunch will be provided.



Maad Talk on Wed April 16


47k



Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Friday, March 28, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Counting Binary Trees


A talk by
John Donnelly
SUNY Binghamton



The speaker will give a brief introduction to binary trees and will then show methods for counting the number of binary trees which have n non-terminal vertices.


Lunch will be provided.



Maad Talk on Wed March 26


5k




Maad Talk on Wed February 26


49k




Maad Talk on Wed November 20th


Change Ringing, by Professor Liz McMahon




CIGNA Actuarial Program Opportunities


Date: Wednesday, Noveber 13th
Time: 6:30 pm
Place: Pardee 201
Food: Pizza

CIGNA will be sponsoring an information session on the actuarial profession in general, and employment opportunities (summer and full-time) at CIGNA in particular. Mark Coslett, from the class of 2001 will be among the presenters. Pizza and refreshments will be provided.


13th LVAIC Math Contest results are in


2002 LVAIC Math Contest - Final Results

LVAIC Explodes! The 13th LVAIC Math Contest, held at Moravian College on Oct. 19, 2002 attracted a record 55 students. The students represented 5 of the 6 member institutions, and were grouped into 16 teams, with each team consisting of 3 or 4 students. As usual, we had a small breakfast before the contest and a pizza-solution fest afterwards.

For the 3rd straight contest, the winning team is from Lafayette, with a score of 72 out of 100. The winning team members are three first year students:

1st:(72 pts) Ibrahima Bah, Josh Porter, and John Kolba

Lafayette teams also took 2nd and 3rd place:

2nd: (65 pts) Guangxi Wang, Alex Balan and Lazar Nickolic

3rd: (61 pts) Ed Swartz, Prince Chidyagwai, Rob McEwen, and Usman Khan

Moravian took 4th place:

4th: (60 pts) Borko Milosev, Fei Sun, Amy Kish, and Brian Holder.

Please congratulate these students for their efforts -- they all gave up a Saturday morning to take the test.

The complete results are: lvaic_math_contest_2002.pdf. (Please excuse any misspellings of names, which are taken from the sign-in sheets.)


Maad Talk on Wed November 6th


40k




Maad Talk on Wed Oct 23


40k




Traveler's Visit


39k




Maad Talk on Wed Sept 18


9k




Lafayette Problem Group Meets this Fall



The Lafayette Problem Group will begin meeting soon! If you are interested, please contact Professor Gordon, or visit our table at the Activities Fair on Wednesday, August 28, from 7pm until 9pm in Farinon. Information and problem sets from the past two years can be found online here.





REU Program Sponsors Four Talks



This past summer, as part of the math department's Research Experience for Undergraduates program, four outside speakers gave fascinating talks on a variety of mathematical subjects. Copies of fliers for each of the talks can be found here: Sean Cleary (CCNY), Matthias Beck (SUNY-Binghamton), Susan Hermiller (Nebraska), and Bob Connelly (Cornell).



From Last Year


Math Bowl 2002 lwoB htaM


Monday, April 29, from Noon until 1pm in Pardee 201


How quickly can you answer questions like:

What's the sum of the first four primes?
Who is the author of the calculus book used in Math 161, 162, and 263?
Which math department professor has a last name that can be rearranged to spell "SETS ON FIRE"?

Come to Math Bowl and watch four teams of four students battle it out for the title of "Best Group of Four Students Who Can Answer Questions Like Those." Lunch will be provided.




Modeling Teams Receive Ratings of Meritorious and Honorable Mention



The results of this year's modeling competitions (see the announcement below) are in.

We had two teams in the Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM). The team of Lazar Nikolic, Dan Swarr and Guangxi Wang earned a rating of Meritorious, the second highest rating possible, for the third consecutive year. The problem they solved had to do with regulating the flow of water in a public fountain to avoid having passersby get sprayed under windy conditions. (Only 4 of the 279 teams that submitted solutions of that problem earned a higher ranking.) Check out the two MCM problems, along with the complete results.

This year, for the first time, we had a team in the Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM). Andrew Colton, Rob McEwen and Nathan Tregger earned an Honorable Mention for their work on the ecology of the Florida Scrub Lizard. (Sounds yummy, doesn't it?) Check out the ICM problem and complete results.




2002 Putnam Team finishes in Top 12 Percent Nationally





Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Monday, April 22, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 201
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Symbolic Logic and Network Reliability


A talk by
Professor Lorenzo Traldi
Lafayette College



(Here's the advertisement.)

Lunch will be provided.



Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, March 20, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Growing Fractals, Making Mountains, and
(Maybe) Finding Patterns on Wall Street


A talk by
Professor Michael Frame
Yale University



We'll introduce fractal geometry as a language for roughness in Nature. After discussing mathematical schemes for generating simple fractals, we'll show how modifications of these methods can be used to synthesize realistic natural scenes, and to identify patterns in data. We'll conclude with an exposition of Mandelbrot's (the inventor of fractal geometry) recent "cartoons" (models) of the stock market.

Lunch will be provided.



Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, February 20, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


A Hurried Look at the History of College Calculus in the United States
(with Special Emphasis on What Happened Here at Lafayette)


A talk by
Professor Jim Crawford



Calculus as we know it was created in the latter part of the seventeenth century, developed in the eighteenth century, and made rigorous in the nineteenth century. But when did calculus become part of the curriculum at colleges and universities? When and where was calculus first taught in the United States? How early in the life of Lafayette College was calculus a part of the curriculum? How did nineteenth century students at Lafayette and other colleges react to their experiences with calculus? What occurred at Lafayette in the eighteen-seventies that began a student-run theatrical tradition that continued for half a century with the unlikely title of "The Calculus Plays"?

Come and find out about the surprisingly rich (and occasionally humorous) role that calculus has played in the history of Lafayette College.

Lunch will be provided.



Two Modeling Contests:
MCM/ICM '02


February 7 - 11, 2002


Problems for both of the 2002 competitions can now be found online: MCM and ICM. This year, Lafayette's two MCM teams are Lazar Nikolic, Dan Swarr and Guangxi Wang, and Farhan Ahmed, Alex Balan and Steve DiMauro. Andrew Colton, Rob McEwen and Nathan Tregger form the ICM team. For more information, see the original post below.



Interested in next year's competition? Talk to Professor Hill, Pardee 214.



[From the original post.] The eighteenth annual Mathematical Contest in Modeling will be held on the weekend of February 7-11, 2002. In this international competition, teams of three students are given a long weekend to create a mathematical model which can be used to analyze a "real world" problem. Last year, 496 teams representing 238 institutions from 11 countries participated in the contest. The Lafayette team (Lazar Nikolic, Dan Swarr and Guangxi Wang) won a rating of Meritorious for its efforts, placing it somewhere in the top 16% in the world. This year, we want to field two teams for the competition.

Each team in the competition is presented with two problems and asked to choose one. The problems tend to be open-ended and very realistic.

There are no special prerequisites for participating in the competition. It is generally better to know more, rather than less, mathematics, but it is certainly not necessary to have taken a course in mathematical modeling. Do you think that you might be interested in participating in this competition? Although the contest is still two months away, teams are forming now and you should talk to Professor Hill (hillt@lafayette.edu) soon.

We are also interested in forming one or more teams to participate in the fourth annual Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling. The format of the ICM is similar to that of the MCM and both contests will be held February 7-11, 2002. However, the ICM problem will reflect a situation in mathematics, environmental science, environmental engineering, and/or resource management. To construct and analyze a model for this scenario, knowledge of environmental science, environmental engineering, biology, and/or resource management is likely to be helpful.

Last year's problems are contained in following announcement.



Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD)


Wednesday, November 7, at Noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227
The Lafayette College Mathematics Department presents


Chaos on a Donut:
A linear map of the torus with pictures


A talk by
Bruce Kitchens
IBM Research, Yorktown Heights, NY



A torus has the shape of a donut or bagel. Functions from a torus to itelf are very interesting and can have fascinating pictures associated with them. We will examine a special function F from the torus to itself. This function F will map the torus onto itself in a one-to-one way, and it is linear, meaning that F(x+y) = F(x) + F(y) (where addition is carried out on the torus). We will see pictures of how the function F "mixes up" the points on the torus, and we will also see that it is "chaotic" in the strongest sense.


Lunch will be provided.



Like math? The

Lafayette Problem Group


meets weekly on

Wednesday afternoons at 4:15 in Pardee 201.


Here's a recent problem set. For more info, write to smithder@lafayette.edu.




Math Department Picnic


Saturday, April 28, from 3pm until dusk at the Forks Township Municipal Park


The math department will hold its annual picnic on Saturday, April 28, at the Forks Township Municipal Park. We have reserved the pavilion next to the basketball courts. Food will be served around 4pm. Transportation will be available from campus; more details will be announced closer to the date. For more information, or to express an interest in getting a ride to the park, contact a current Pi Mu Espilon officer or Prof. Evan Fisher.



Math Bowl 2001


Wednesday, April 25, from noon until 1pm in Pardee 227


How quickly can you answer questions like:

What's the sum of the first four primes?
Who is the author of the calculus book used in Math 161, 162, and 263?
Which math department professor has a last name that can be rearranged to spell "SETS ON FIRE"?

Come to Math Bowl and watch four teams of four students battle it out for the title of "Best Group of Four Students Who Can Answer Questions Like Those." In fact, there's still time for you to participate! Create a group of four students and go sign up on the form outside of Prof. Berkove's office, Pardee 211.



Individual Barge Mathematics Contest


Open to First- and Second-Year Students


Saturday, April 21, from 9am until noon in Pardee Hall, Room 227


Cash Prizes! Free Lunch!
No preregistration required.


The Individual Barge Mathematics Contest is open to all first- and second-year students. The problems vary in difficulty; most emphasize insight and ingenuity rather than specific knowledge or computational skill. For more information, contact Prof. Louis Zulli.

Prize amounts: $300 for first place, $200 for second, $100 for third.

From last year's contest: What's the 2000th digit to the right of the decimal place in
0.102030405060708090100110120130140...


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