Florida Section Newsletter
June 1999
Volume 20, Issue 3


bulletPast President's Message
bulletService Award
bulletTeaching Award
bulletAnnual Business Meeting
bulletExecutive Committee Meeting
bulletFinancial Statement
bulletNominating Committee
bulletCampus News
bulletUniversity of South Florida
bulletEckerd College
bulletRollins College

A Look Back to Panama City
by Mike Mears

The 32nd Annual Meeting of the Florida Section of the Mathematical Association of America in conjunction with Florida Two-Year College Mathematics Association, held this past March at Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, will be one long-remembered by all who had the good fortune to attend (all 146 of us).  The Program Committee chaired by Dr. Judy Jones (VCC) and the host committee chaired by Dr. Janice McFatter (GCCC) and Dahrice Gibson planned an outstanding conference from start to finish.  The joining of the MAA Florida Section along with FTYCMA made and even stronger conference.  Once again, Ernie and Phyllis Ross, and Susan Osborne did a wonderful job organizing the registration process; it could not have gone better.

A few of the highlights included:

bulleta series of workshops on topics such as the TI-89, calculator-based ranger, and environmental mathematics, statistics, and the journey through calculus
bulletPlenary address by Hans Schneider (“Dr. Linear Algebra”) on Why I love Perron-Frobenious
bulletPlenary Address by Thomas Banchoff, MAA National President, on Changing Times:  Interactive Explorations on the Internet Across All Dimensions
bulletPlenary Address by Scott Hochwald on Highlights from the History of Fermat’s Last Theorem
bulletStudent Conference Banquet and Speaker, organized by Ben Fusaro, featuring Chris Schaufele’s talk on Environmental Mathematics with the Navajo

Something new this year was the door prize giveaways (free stuff) which had been donated by area business and publishers.  I always knew mathematicians like a good deal, and so it came as no surprise that the free gifts were a big hit.

All in all, this was a wonderful conference and will be a hard act to follow.  However, I am confident that USF (the site of our 2000 meeting) under the guidance of Ken Pothoven and Fred Zerla is up to the challenge.

The Florida Section has an excellent Executive Committee led by President Walter Walker (Eckerd).  I appreciate the opportunity to serve as President this past year, and offer Walter and the rest of the group my full support during the year ahead.  Keep in mind, we are always looking for “new blood” to get involved and contribute to our dynamic organization (for details see “Want to Be Famous?” later in the Newsletter).

Have a good summer and I will plan to see you in Tampa in March 2000.

Florida Section's 1999
Distinguished Service Award

Lee Armstrong

The Florida Section of the Mathematical Association of America is pleased to recognize the outstanding service of Professor Lee Armstrong to the Section and to the cultivation of mathematics in the State of Florida.

Professor Armstrong has served the Section as both Governor and President, and has served on numerous committees, including Nominating, Awards, and Local Arrangements Committees.  Lee can be counted on to help in all Section activities as a leader or committee member.  His commitment has been deep and constant.

Professor Armstrong has been a staunch supporter and organizer of Regional MAA meetings and other conferences that bring together mathematics teachers from universities, colleges, community colleges, and high schools, as well as students from many different level.  He was deeply involved in the Exxon grant, which brought together high school students to learn about mathematics and science.  As evidence of Lee’s mastery of teaching mathematics, he received the Section’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

With this citation we recognize Lee Armstrong’s many years of dedication to the cause of mathematics in Florida.

Citation For Distinguished Teaching
of Mathematics Award, 1999

Marcellle Bessman

The Florida Section of the Mathematical Association of America is pleased to recognize Professor Marcelle Bessman of Jacksonville University with the Distinguished Teaching of Mathematics Award.  She has been a leader in national, state, and regional mathematics education as a workshop presenter, innovator in the use of technology, and a pioneer in the use of cooperative learning and distance learning.  She has been a Principal Investigator or co-Principal Investigator on numerous grants devoted to teaching, including a DOE grant for Integrated Use of Technology, NSF ILI grants at Jacksonville University, and Eisenhower grants for training teachers.  As an example of her ever-more-sophisticated use of technology, she is currently involved in a Global Classroom --- team teaching with a colleague in England.  From service courses to upper-level major courses, her students respond enthusiastically to the instruction she provides.

Marcelle Bessman has been an innovative, tireless champion of mathematics education, and she has been an outstanding teacher.  We are happy to recognize a person so clearly deserving of this award.

Highlights, MAA Annual Business Meeting

March 6, 1999

In the Governor’s Report Fred Zerla reported a concern of the National MAA is declining in membership, which is related to downsizing of college faculty.  Fred mentioned that steps to improve the situation include encouraging undergraduate membership, Project NEXT for new faculty, and the encouragement of MAA liaisons.  Tom Banchoff brought greetings from the MAA national office and emphasized that all of us in the profession need encouragement and support.  Tom pointed out that MAA is at the forefront of keeping track of the changes in undergraduate math education, technology and the increasing use of part-time faculty.  Tom encouraged feedback to him and the national office from each of us.

Ernie Ross gave the secretary-treasurer’s report and reported that the MAA has about $5,700, but all bills from the section meeting are not in yet.

The nominating committee reported the following:

President-Elect June White
St. Petersburg Junior College
Vice President-Elect for Program     David Kerr
Eckerd College
Vice President-Elect for Site Debbie Garrison
Valencia community College
Secretary-Treasurer-Elect Ken Pothoven
University of South Florida

After no nominations from the floor the slate received unanimous support.

The Service Award was presented to Lee Armstrong and the Teaching Award was presented to Marcelle Bessman.

In the year 2000, the section will meet at the University of South Florida, Tampa.  In the year 2001 we will meet at the Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers.

Ernie Ross read a citation thanking the Gulf Coast Community College and the math department for a wonderful job hosting the 1999 section meeting.  Mike Mears awarded the last door prizes, which provided a new and fun dimension to this 1999 section meeting.

Executive Committee Meeting

March 4, 1999

The Executive Committee of the Florida Section of MAA met on Thursday evening, March 4, 1999.  Following the approval of the minutes of the May 9, 1998, Executive Committee meeting, Ernie Ross distributed the financial statement and reported that many now pre-register by e-mail for the annual meeting.  The Executive Committee agreed that the pre-registration fee be the same whether registrants send a check with their registration or pre-register by e-mail with payment coming at the meeting.  Ken Pothoven reported that the next meetings will be at the University of South Florida, Tampa, in 2000, and at Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Meyers, 2001.

Florida Section - Mathematical Association of America
5/98 - 5/99

BALANCE ON HAND 5/98: $1,020.25
Republic Bank Checking Account 1,020.50
RECEIPTS: $6,928.84
Registrations - 1999 Meeting 1,400.00
Governor’s Breakfast - 1999 Meeting 247.50
Luncheon - 1999 Meeting 690.00
Book Sales Receipts - 1999 Meeting 63.60
Book Sales Commissions - 1999 Meeting 50.00
Publishers Contributions - 1999 Meeting 730.00
National MAA Support 900.00
Suncoast Regional Meeting 1,162.90
Gold Coast 62.00
CD Transfer 1,622.84
Registration Expenses - 1999 Meeting 37.40
Program Printing - 1999 Meeting 63.00
Food Services (Brkfst. Lnch, Brks) 1,398.00
Book Sales 63.60
Award Framing 55.28
Student Book Awards 119.75
THL Regional Meeting 50.00
Suncoast Regional Meeting 1,180.62
Student Conference 520.18
Postage 3.58
Newsletter 2,000.00
BALANCE ON HAND-5/99 $2,457.63
Republic Bank Checking Account 2,457.63
TOTAL ASSETS $6,299.45
Suncoast Region 675.05
Gold Coast Region 62.00
Exxon Program 250.59


Want To Be Famous?

We are looking for a few good MAA members who would like the secret to fame, fortune, and glory (OR, at least 2 out of 3!)!

The Florida Section need strong leaders, and you (or a colleague) may be just what we need.  The nominating committee, chaired by Mike Mears, needs your input.  Please forward suggestions for any of the offices listed below to Dr. Mike Mears at mearsm@bc.mcc.cc.fl.us

The deadline will be early in 2000.

bulletVice President-Elect for Programs
bulletVice President-Elect for Site
bulletNewsletter Editor-Elect

What’s needed:

  1. The person’s name (along with home and email addresses and home phone), institution and position sought.
  2. A statement from the person that he/she is willing to accept and meet the obligations of the position, if elected.
  3. Any other appropriate background information.

Remember that fame, fortune, and glory could be yours!

University of South Florida

This academic year, the R. Kent Nagle Lecture Series held two lectures:

Last November, Joseph Keller came from Stanford University to talk about Mathematics in Games and Sports.  A recipient of the Wolf Prize and a member of the National Academy of Science, he talked about strategies for adjudicating card games, running races, ranking baseball teams, and rating weightlifters, among other things.

In January, Simon Levin came from Princeton University to talk about The Rise and Fall of Biodiversity.  The founding Director of the Princeton Environmental Institute and former President of the Society for Mathematical Biology, he talked about methods of measuring biodiversity (including computational models) and about the current crisis.

We intend to continue the series next year, so stay tuned.

The National Science Foundation awarded $19,000 to the Institute for Constructive Approximation (ICM) and the MIAOU team at the Institute Nationalede Recherche en Informatique et Automatique in Sophia Antipolis, France.  The ICM team consists of Ed Saff, Vilmos Totik, and Yuncheng You.  The research will focus primarily on using approximation theoretic techniques to detect cracks in a medium from boundary data.

We are upgrading our web-site at http://www.math.usf.edu.
Come visit us!

Greg Budzbam, who received a PhD from USF in 1991 from Arun Mukherjea visited us this last academic year during his sabbatical from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Mourad Ismail spent the Spring semester at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at Berkley, California.  He was invited to participate in the half-year program on Random Matrices, where he gave one of the opening addresses.  He also got a 3-year NSF grant for $123,000.

Natasha Jonoska gave an invited lecture at the Molecular Computing workshop in Chennai (Madras), India in December.  She has been working on DNA computing for several years.

Manoug Manougian won a Teaching Incentive Award.

Ed Saff was appointed President of the newly formed nonprofit foundation Center on Distance Education for Lifelong Learning (CDELL).  CDELL will service as a clearinghouse and umbrella organization for different organizations interested in distance education.

Eckerd College

Bill Maddox retires from Eckerd College on May 23, 1999 after 33 years of continuous service.  Bill has held the rank of full professor for over 25 of these years and he has been active in both MAA and the AAUP his entire professional career.  He and his wife, Wendy, are planning to maintain their residence in St. Petersburg - any mail for Bill can be addressed to him via the Mathematics Discipline at Eckerd.  Never one to slow down, Bill gave an invited address entitle Skepticism and its Influence on the Development of Intellectual Civilization at Stetson University on April 7th.

Jerry Juvinicus spent the spring semester in London working on a research project in general relativity.

Kathy Roengner, an alum of Eckerd College and a recipient of the Ph.D. degree from Technische Universitat Berlin, will be joining the faculty next year as a visiting assistant professor of mathematics.

Last June, David Kerr, Anne Cox (Eckerd Physics), and Mary Shapiro (Assistant Principal at Lakewood High School in Pinellas County) conducted a 15 day workshop on current electricity , light, and color for Pinellas County teachers in grades 6-9.  The workshop used the materials designed by the CPU (Constructing Physics Understanding) group at San Diego State University- which emphasizes a hands-on, technology intensive, constructivist approach to learning.  The middle school teachers were given computer software and lab set-ups upon completion of the workshop and a good time was had by all.  Phase two of the workshop is planned for June 1999 with the clientele expanding to teachers in grades 10-12.  Anyone interested in more information on the CPU Project can log on to http://cpuproject.sdsu.edu.

One of our graduating seniors, Soupy Alexander, made a presentation at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research entitled Degree Theory of Accretive and Monotone Operators. The conference was held on the campus of the University of Rochester, April 8-10.  Also, Soupy was one of two students this year to be awarded the “Scholarship & Service” award from the college’s Natural Sciences Collegium.

One of our junior mathematics majors, Denise Mason, was selected to participate in the NSF-REU program at George Washington University this summer.  She will be studying knot theory and topology.

Rollins College

An updated preliminary edition of Calculus: Mathematics & Modeling, by Rick Vitray et al was published in January 1999 by Addison Wesley.

Four Rollins math/computer science students are participating in a six-week Summer Research Program run by Mark Anderson, Julie Carrington, Dick James, and Rick Vitray.  Students will be working on two problems for the City of Winter Park: they will be stimulating neighborhood traffic in order to find ways of keeping traffic out of neighborhoods and will be upgrading the database for the Waste Management Facility.  Students will also design and build a webpage for Volunteer Services at Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando.

Doug Child and Rick Vitray will be running the second part of a two-summer workshop on developing new methods for Calculus instruction.  The workshop meets this summer on June 13 and June 14.