SIUE to host annual statewide mathematics conference

SIUE will host the ISMAA Annual Meeting this weekend. Photo courtesy of Adam Weyhaupt

Emerging ideas in mathematics and its teachings will be explored on campus by visiting lecturers and student presenters in a statewide event.

SIUE will host the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America (ISMAA) March 28-29.

Mathematics and statistics professor Cynthia Traub, also an ISMAA board member, said her department is excited to bring the conference — a gathering of professional mathematicians and students from universities across the state — to SIUE.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn new mathematics, to meet people who are doing mathematics and to learn about what of kinds of questions mathematicians study,” Traub said.

According to Traub, the conference would appeal to those interested in majoring in or teaching mathematics as well as students or teachers of other STEM disciplines such as engineering, physics, biology or chemistry.

“Whether it’s about how to better teach a course, or how to answer a question that was not previously answerable, to become aware of new methods of thinking about old problems is always enlightening, enriching and worthwhile,” Traub said.

The ISMAA meeting will feature professors Steven Krantz of Washington University, Rick Gillman of Valparaiso University, Anthony Giaquinto of Loyola University and Sharon Robbert from Trinity Christian College.

Krantz’s lecture, “A Matter of Gravity” will explore the concept of the center of gravity in various dimensions of objects.

In Gillman’s lecture, “Why do Left-Handed People Survive?” he will discuss why people are predominately right-handed in addition to the cultural, biological and genetic explanations for left-handedness.

Gillman will also host a pre-conference workshop entitled “Coase Theorem: A solution to the problem of social cost.”  Workshop participants will explore the mathematics behind how negotiations between public and private interests affect decisions about what is best for society.

Giaquinto in “Prime Fascinations” will discuss the history of prime numbers and breakthroughs within the last year on the gaps between primes.

Robbert in “Leading by example?  Mathematics in 21st Century Academia” will summarize the conclusions from a Research Council report published in the May 2013 National Academy of Sciences titled, “The Mathematical Sciences in 2025.”

Among the roughly 18 undergraduate and graduate students presenting from across the state, SIUE mathematics and statistics graduate student Aleesha Moran will give a talk on “Factorization Properties of Leamer Monoids.” This presentation highlights specific research in commutative algebra.

On Friday, a math contest will be held for undergraduate students, which Traub said is of interest to “anyone who enjoys a good math problem.”

Teams of up to three students will work on a set of problems from 4:45 – 6 p.m. in Peck Hall 0304.  There is no limit to the number of teams that can compete from a school.

There is no fee for registration for SIUE students to attend the event. Those interested should visit the registration table in the lobby of Peck Hall starting at 8:30 a.m. on Friday. For more information on the conference visit including schedules of speakers and abstracts of talks, visit the ISMAA website.

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