The 2014 Annual Meeting

of the Illinois Section

of the Mathematical Association of America

The 2014 Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA will be held March 28 and March 29, 2014 at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in Edwardsville, IL.

The following individuals have agreed to be plenary speakers:

Steven Krantz (Washington University, St. Louis)
Rick Gillman (Valporaiso University) - Rick will also present the conference workshop.
Anthony Giaquinto (Loyola University, Chicago)
Sharon Robbert (Trinity Christian College)

Titles of talks and abstracts are forthcoming.

Meeting Links

The links below will be activated as information becomes available. Please check them frequently.

Meeting Schedule - (Last updated 3/27/14)

Faculty and Student Abstracts

Student Math Contest

Student Pizza Party


Project NExT

Conference Workshop

Registration Information

Schedule of Plenary Speakers

Abstract Submission

Undergraduate Travel Awards

Lodging, Transportation and Parking

Dining options in Edwardsville

Campus Map

Plenary Speakers

Four plenary speakers each giving an hour talk. At present, this year's plenary speakers are: Steven Krantz (Washington University, St. Louis), Rick Gillman (Valparaiso University) - Rick will also present the conference workshop, Anthony Giaquinto (Loyola University, Chicago) and Sharon Robbert (Trinity Christian College).


Title: Prime Fascinations

Speaker: Tony Giaquinto, Loyola University, Chicago

Time: Friday, March 28, 12:50 - 2:00 PM

Location: Founders Hall 0207

Abstract: This talk will be survey on the rich history of prime numbers, from Euclid to Riemann, and to the breakthroughs this past year on gaps between primes. The latter topic has undergone intense study since Yitang Zhang unleashed his "Bounded Gaps Between Primes" to the mathematical world in the spring of 2013.  As of this writing, the Polymath project reports that there are infinitely many pairs of primes separated by at most 270.

Title: Why do Left-handed People Survive?

Speaker: Rick Gillman, Valparaiso University

Time: Friday, March 28, 7:30 PM

Location: Conference Center, Second floor, Morris University Center


Abstract: This talk explores the question of why people are predominately right-handed, a trait shared by no other species.  It answers the title question by considering the cultural, biological, and genetic explanations for our left-handedness.  Two evolutionary game theoretic models are offered to explain why it may have been advantageous (from an evolutionary perspective) to have a fraction of the population be left-handed. 

Speaker: Steven Krantz, Washington University, St. Louis

Time: Saturday, March 29, 12:10 PM

Location: Peck 2304

Abstract: We study the concept of center of gravity from a new point of view. The question of when the center of gravity is contained in the region is considered.  New results are obtained both in two dimensions and in higher dimensions.   Especially interesting are asymptotic results as the dimension goes to infinity.

Title: Leading by example?  Mathematics in 21st Century Academia

Speaker: Sharon Robbert, Trinity Christian College

Time: Saturday, March 29, 8:30 - 9:30 AM

Location: Peck 2304

Abstract:  In May of 2013, the National Academy of Sciences published a Research Council report of more than 200 pages called The Mathematical Sciences in 2025. While the conclusions of this report may not fit with every academic setting, this fact remains:  the academic world is changing yet again and mathematics faculty have an opportunity to lead the way.  In this talk, I will summarize conclusions from this report, discuss how the mathematics academic community has benefited from disruptive innovation in the past, and pose conjectures on the future.

Conference Workshop: Coase Theorem: A solution to the problem of social cost

Speaker: Rick Gillman, Valparaiso University

Time: Friday, March 28, 8:45 - 11:45 AM

Location: TBA

Abstract: In his 1960 paper, The Problem of Social Cost, Ronald Coase argued that the assignment of liability for social damages between two parties does not effect the efficient allocation of resources.  He came to this observation by asking what is the interaction between party A and party B? rather than asking how is party A harming party B?  This counterintuitive idea led to a Nobel Prize award for Coase and overturned conventional thinking about the government role in allocating social costs.  This workshop explores Coase Theorem,which describes the role of arbitration, bargaining, and the assignment of property rights in the resolution of conflicts between private and social welfare. 



The Illinois Section of the Mathematical Association of America invites submissions for the 2014 Outstanding Undergraduate Research (OUR) Awards. Up to three awards will be given for papers authored and presented by undergraduate students at the upcoming ISMAA meeting. Working in collaboration with a faculty advisor, undergraduate students who wish to apply for the OUR Awards should submit the following materials electronically (either as a PDF or MS Word document):

1. a brief, one-page cover letter stating the nature of the project and identifying the researchers involved;

2. a complete, original research paper;

3. a letter of support from the faculty advisor which also describes the student’s contribution to the work.

Submissions may be emailed to Tim Comar, Awards Committte Chair, at Please include "OUR Awards" in the subject heading.

Papers need not have been submitted for publication in a professional journal at the time of consideration, but must be complete manuscripts, even if only a subset of the research will be presented at the meeting.

Applicants should make arrangements (see the ISMAA home page) to give a talk in the student session of the upcoming ISMAA meeting. Applicants will be evaluated both for quality of research and for quality of presentation.. The deadline for OUR Awards submissions is March 3, 2014.

Questions? Email

ISMAA Project NExT Program - 2014

Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) is a professional development program of the MAA, with major funding provided by the Exxon Education Foundation, and additional funding from several other sources. This program is designed to support new college faculty in their teaching, scholarly, and professional activities and to help these new faculty members to get involved in the mathematical community beyond their own institutions. The success of Project NExT on the national level has prompted a number of MAA sections to organize their own local versions of this program.

The Seventeenth Annual ISMAA Project NExT Program will be held in conjunction with the ISMAA annual meeting at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, March 28-29, 2014. Up to nine 2014 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows will be selected. Anyone within their first four years of teaching mathematics (after finishing a master's or doctoral degree) at any two or four-year college or university in Illinois is eligible, as well as any graduate students at universities in Illinois who are completing their PhD this year and have a position in Illinois for the 2014-2015 academic year. 2014 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows' meeting registration, pre-conference workshop registration, opening banquet fees, and Friday and Saturday lunches at the annual meeting will be paid for by the ISMAA Project NExT for the 2014 and 2015 ISMAA Annual Meetings.  The 2014 Program will begin on the morning of Friday, March 28, 2014, with the pre-conference workshop.  The workshop is followed by an opening lunch during which new ISMAA NExT fellows will have an opportunity to get to know one another as well as other sectional Fellows and national NExT Fellows. The ISMAA Project NExT program will conclude on the morning of Saturday, March 29, 2014, preceding the closing address of the ISMAA meeting.  The topic for the Saturday morning session will be determined by interest of the Fellows.   At the meeting, we will match new ISMAA NExT Fellows with a Mentor. It is expected that each Mentor-Fellow pair will continue to communicate about professional development issues throughout the following academic year.  

Application materials for 2014 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows can be accessed via the links below. For further information, please contact the Director for the ISMAA Project NExT Program: 


2014 ISMAA Project NExT Application (MS Word)
2014 ISMAA Project NExT Application (pdf) 

Cindy Traub
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Edwardsville, IL 62026-1653
Phone: 618-650-2356

The registration deadline for the 2014 ISMAA Project NExT Fellows is February 28, 2014.


Student Math Contest

You have a deck of 10 cards and on each card there is a single digit between 0 and 9, inclusive. The digit on the top card equals the number of cards which have a zero on them, and so forth until the digit on the last card is the number of cards with a nine on them. What are the digits, in order from top to bottom, on the cards?

Is this the sort of problem that intrigues you? Then you should consider competing in our Thirteenth Annual Student Mathematics Contest which will be held on the afternoon of Friday, March 28, 2014 from 4:45 - 6:00 PM at Peck Hall 0304 during the Annual Meeting of the Illinois Section of the MAA at SIU Edwardsville. The Contest is likely to have a minimum of four problems for the teams to consider. A team from a particular college is to consist of up to 3 undergraduate students. A college or university may enter more than one team. Team members may work together in solving the problems and will submit one team solution for each. Electronic computational devices (and slide rules and log tables and abacii) are not allowed. Competitors will have their conference registration fee waived.

Teams need not register until the day of the Contest. The participating teams will receive the results of the contest as soon as they become available. The Contest results will also be posted on the ISMAA website.

Student Pizza Party

Student Pizza Party: Open to all undergraduate student participants.
Time: Friday, March 28 immediately following the Student Math Contest (Approximately 6:00 PM)

Location: Peck Hall 0306

Undergraduate Travel Awards

Travel funds are available to support student attendance at the ISMAA meeting. Up to $50 per student is available for Illinois institutions to use in support of student travel, with a max of $250 per institution. Limited funds are available.

We ask that institutions which already provide full support not request these funds. Travel funds are not available to the hosting institution or to institutions within 30 miles of the meeting site. Travel awards are available for all students (secondary, undergraduate, or graduate); however, preference will be given to students presenting at the meeting.

The travel form is available as a Word document or as a PDF document. Please send completed forms electronically to Pat Kiihne ( by March 21, 2014.