The 2012 Annual Meeting

of the Illinois Section

of the Mathematical Association of America

The 2012 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA will be held at Illinois State University in Normal, IL on March 29 - 31, 2012.

Meeting Links

Meeting Schedule

Faculty and Student Abstracts

Student Math Contest

Student Pizza Party: Open to all undergraduate student participants. Friday, March 30, 6:15 pm, State Farm Hall of Business Atrium

Banquet: By reservation only. Alumni Center 118. This is approximately a 5-10 minute drive from the State Farm Hall of Business, where the other meetings activities will take place. 6:15 Cash Bar, 6:45 Buffet Opens.

Undergraduate Travel Awards

ISMAA OUR (Outstanding Undergraduate Research) Awards

Project NExT

Conference Workshop

Registration Information

Schedule of Plenary Speakers

Abstract Submission

Lodging, Transportation and Parking

Campus Map

Plenary Speakers

This year's plenary speakers are: Annalisa Crannell (Franklin & Marshall College), Joshua Holden (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology), Holly Gaff (Old Dominion University), and Mike Axtell (University of St. Thomas).

Here is information regarding the plenary talks and the speakers:

Title: Math and Art: The Good, the Bad, and the Pretty

Speaker: Annalisa Crannell, Franklin & Marshall College

Time: 12:10-1:10 PM

Location: SFHB 139—Caterpillar Auditorium


Abstract: How do we fit a three-dimensional world onto a two-dimensional canvas? Answering this question will change the way you look at the world, literally: we'll learn where to stand as we view a painting so it pops off that two-dimensional canvas seemingly out into our three-dimensional space. In this talk, we'll explore the mathematics behind perspective paintings, which starts with simple rules and will lead us into really lovely, really tricky puzzles. Why do artists use vanishing points? What's the difference between 1-point and 3-point perspective? Why don't your vacation pictures don't look as good as the mountains you photographed? Dust off those old similar triangles, and get ready to put them to new use in looking at art!

Biography: Annalisa Crannell is a Professor of Mathematics at Franklin & Marshall College and recipient of the MAA's most prestigious teaching award (the 2008 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award). Her primary research has for a long time been in topological dynamical systems (also known as "Chaos Theory"), but over that past decade she has become active in developing materials on Mathematics and Art. She has worked extensively with students and other teachers on writing in mathematics, and with recent doctorates on employment in mathematics. She especially enjoys talking to non-mathematicians who haven't (yet) learned where the most beautiful aspects of the subject lie.

Title: Braids, Cables, and Cells: An Interesting Intersection of Mathematics, Computer         Science, and Art

Speaker: Joshua Holden, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Time: 7:30 PM

Location: Alumni Center 116

Abstract: The mathematical study of braids combines aspects of topology and group theory to study mathematical representations of one-dimensional strands in three-dimensional space. These strands are also sometimes viewed as representing the movement through a time dimension of points in two-dimensional space. On the other hand, the study of cellular automata usually involves a one- or two-dimensional grid of cells which evolve through a time dimension according to specified rules. This time dimension is often represented as an extra spacial dimension.

Therefore, it seems reasonable to ask whether rules for cellular automata can be written in order to produce depictions of braids. The ideas of representing both strands in space and cellular automata have also been explored in many artistic media, including drawing, sculpture, knitting, crochet, and weaving, and we will touch on some of these.

Biography: Joshua Holden is currently an Associate Professor in the Mathematics Department of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. from Brown University in 1998 and held postdoctoral positions at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Duke University. His research interests are in computational and algebraic number theory, cryptography, and the application of graph theory to fiber arts. His teaching interests include the use of technology in teaching, the teaching of mathematics to computer science majors, and the use of historically informed pedagogy. His non-mathematical interests used to include fiber arts, but that now seems to be a mathematical interest. Still largely in the non-mathematical category are his interests in science fiction and music, both classical and contemporary. He currently plays drums and sings backup in the band Whisper Down.

Workshop: An Interactive Tour of Public Key Cryptography (and of Number Theory)

Speaker: Joshua Holden, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Time: 8:45 - 11:45 AM

Location: Alumni Center 116

Abstract: Like other branches of mathematics, number theory has seen many surprising developments in the last 50 years. One of the most surprising is the fact that number theory, long considered the most "useless" of any field of mathematics, has become vital to the development of modern codes and ciphers. We will take a hands-on tour of some of these ciphers, focusing on the "public key" ciphers --- ciphers which answer the question "Can two persons who have never had a secret in common, by a public discussion agree upon a common secret?" (Beutelspacher) For perhaps the first time in history, the answer is yes in practical terms. The ideas are very easy to understand, and yet underlie large portions of both modern number theory and modern cryptography.

Title: Impact of migration patterns on tick-borne disease expansion

Speaker: Holly Gaff, Old Dominion University

Time: 8:30-9:30 AM

Location: SFHB 139—Caterpillar Auditorium


Abstract: Mathematical models can be used to explore tick-borne pathogen dynamics, quantify risk of tick-borne disease and identify optimal strategies to reduce that risk. Questing ticks have been collected from May 2009 to the present at ten separate locations in southeastern Virginia. This study identified the invasion of two new tick species from the south. One tick species has exhibited a continuous, diffusive type invasion while the other has a series of long distance dispersal events. An agent-based model has been parameterized using these data to explore the future disease dynamics in the region as a result of each type of invasion.


Biography: Dr. Holly Gaff is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Old Dominion University and is affiliated with the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center. Dr. Gaff earned her Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Dr. Gaff’s research interests have focused mainly on studying the dynamics and control of infectious diseases using mathematical modeling and computer simulation. Most of her research has focused on developing mathematical models for exploring the ecology of vector-borne diseases including Rift Valley fever and tick-borne diseases in the Hampton Roads area. Dr. Gaff currently also leads a field study designed to collect a long-term time series of ticks and tick-borne pathogens in the Hampton Roads area, Virginia. She has had funding for these and other projects from NIH, NSF, DHS, CDC and the VA.

Title: A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words: Zero-Divisor Graphs and Rings

Speaker: Mike Axtell, University of St. Thomas

Time: Friday, March 30, 12:50-2:00 PM

Location: SFHB 139 – Caterpillar Auditorium

Abstract: Zero-divisor graphs are a quite recent development in the study of commutative rings. In the last ten years, they have been extensively studied and have yielded several surprising results. A good deal of the work has been conducted by undergraduates. This talk will provide an overview of the subject, with a particular focus on the role played by undergraduate researchers. In addition, some recent results in the area will also be discussed.

Biography: Dr. Mike Axtell is an associate professor of mathematics at the University of St. Thomas (which is not located in the Caribbean). Much of his career has involved circling around Illinois, having done his undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, his graduate studies at the University of Iowa, and then working for 8 years at Wabash College in Indiana. For the past four years, he has resided in Minnesota where he spends his free time dodging mosquitos and not ice fishing.