Allegheny Mountain Section
Mathematical Association of America
Spring 2011 Meeting
April 8-9, 2011
Student Talk Schedule and Abstacts of Student Talks
Faculty Talk Schedule and Abstracts of Faculty Talks
- Judy Holdener, Kenyon College
- Talk Title: "When Thue-Morse meets Koch"
The Thue-Morse sequence and the Koch snowflake have much in common. Both are defined iteratively.
Both exhibit properties of self-similarity. Both first appeared in the early 1900's (the von Koch curve in 1906
and the Thue-Morse sequence in 1912). And both continue to appear frequently - yet independently - in popular
mathematical writing today. In this talk, we will show that the commonality between these two famous objects is
deeper yet. By realizing the Thue-Morse sequence geometrically as the limit of polygonal curves in the plane, we
will show that the connection between the Thue-Morse sequence and the von Koch curve is much stronger than one might
expect. This connection was discovered and formalized with the extensive help of undergraduate students through
Kenyon's Summer Science Scholar research program.
- Danny Otero, Xavier University
Title: "Determining the Determinant (1693-1812), the Early History of a Sophisticated Idea"
The history of the development of the matrix determinant, a standard topic in college mathematics, is a complicated one. And while it has been well studied before, it is not well known in the mathematics community. This talk will review the early period of this development, spanning the 18th century (plus a few years on either end), illustrating the contributions of a variety of mathematicians -- Leibniz, Maclaurin, Cramer, Bˇzout, Vandermonde, Laplace, Lagrange, Gauss, Binet, Cauchy and Jacobi. It will document how the powerful notion of a determinant coalesced out of their work on many different kinds of mathematical problems, and how a multiplicity of notations were devised to represent this complex idea until it settled into a form that is recognizable to every linear algebra student today.
- Ivars Peterson, MAA
- Talk Title: "The Jungles of Randomness"
From slot machines and amusement park rides to dice games and shuffled cards, chance and chaos
pervade everyday life. Sorting through the various meanings of randomness and distinguishing between what
we can and cannot know with certainty proves to be no simple matter. Inside information on how slot machines
work, the perils of believing random number generators, and the questionable fairness of dice, tossed coins,
and shuffled cards illustrate how tricky randomness can be.
- Doyt Jones, Texas Instruments
- Talk Title: "Your Passion, TI Technology, Student Success....What Role Do We Play?"
The importance of students achieving in STEM related subject is paramount in today's educational arena. The Nspire platform supports classroom learning environments when engaging students in refining their academic skills. Participants will preview the potential of these tools when effectively used in STEM related discussions.
*Online registration is now closed. You can still register onsite for the meeting.
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