Spring 2021 Virtual Section Meeting

Our spring meeting was held virtually on Saturday, April 17, 2021, 8am--1pm.


Welcome: Announcements / technical issue resolution / social time
8:15 -- 8:30

Invited Speaker: Susan Jane Colley (Oberlin College & Editor of The American Mathematical Monthly)
8:30 -- 9:10

Business Meeting: Announcements and awards presentations
9:10 -- 9:30

Contributed talks: Undergraduate, graduate, and faculty speakers
9:40 -- 11:20
Undergraduate abstracts (3 concurrent sessions)
Faculty/Grad abstracts (3 concurrent sessions)

Invited Speaker: Andrew Woldar (Villanova University)
11:35 -- 12:15

Social Activities: Student activity, faculty discussion
12:15 -- ??

Invitation: PASSHE Co-requisite Math Courses Summit: more details
1:00 -- 4:00

Invited Speakers

Image of Susan Jane Colley Susan Jane Colley (Oberlin College & Editor of The American Mathematical Monthly)
Counting Curves: Tales from the Enumerative Crypt
We will consider the Steiner problem (1848) of five conics: to determine how many conics are simultaneously tangent to five others. We will review some of the history surrounding this problem and some of the ingredients needed to solve it. Finally, we’ll speed ahead to modern times to mention joint work with Gary Kennedy (Ohio State) and Lars Ernström (Ericsson) concerning some analogous questions about “higher-order” contact of plane curves.

Susan Colley is the Andrew and Pauline Delaney Professor of Mathematics at Oberlin College and currently the Editor of The American Mathematical Monthly. She received her B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from MIT in the previous century. Her research interests lie in algebraic geometry and related areas; students may know her from her textbook Vector Calculus, 4th ed. Pearson, 2012 and curse her accordingly.

Image of Andrew Woldar Andrew Woldar (Villanova University)
Mathematics in Service of Puzzle-Solving
The one commonality of all puzzles is their dependence on logic. However, the great majority of puzzles fail to make any further demands on the puzzle-solver. In my talk, I will focus on puzzles that have certain intrinsic structural properties that inform their solutions. The purpose here is to expose the puzzle-solver/student to certain abstract structures (groups, geometries, codes, etc.) prior to any rigorous formulation. This enables the student to experience the power and utility of these structures early on, thereby encouraging self-motivation through discovery. This pedagogical approach poses some serious challenges for the educator as well. Not only should puzzles be selected with great care but they must be thoughtfully ordered. Progress should be gradual, with each new puzzle reinforcing the ideas of the previous one while taking abstraction to the next higher level. This talk is dedicated to the memory of Dima fon-der-Flaass, whose love of puzzles inspired a generation of Soviet mathematicians.

Student Activity

Do you like Sudoku? Do you like to play Set? In this activity, we will make connections between Latin squares (Sudoku is a specific type) and the game Set. Don't worry, no prior knowledge or puzzle/game experience is required! Join us if you want to have some fun with some math puzzles and games!

Faculty Discussion

Publishing in MAA Periodicals: Invited speaker Dr. Susan Jane Colley will briefly survey the variety of journals published by the MAA, highlighting what the Editorial Boards seek in submissions. She will be glad to entertain questions at the end, especially with respect to submitting to The American Mathematical Monthly.

Slides from Susan's presentation on MAA publications: PDF

Additional informal faculty discussion to follow, based on participant interest.

PASSHE Co-requisite Math Courses Summit

EPaDel attendees are welcome to attend any portion of the session. The first hour will provide a brief introduction to the PASSHE project and information about the national movement toward co-requisite math support classes for underprepared students. This may be the most interesting part of the session for non-PASSHE participants. Those who wish to get into the finer details are welcome to stay as long as they like. The Zoom link is included in the email with your EPaDel Zoom links.

Agenda (PDF), Guidance (PDF)