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of the Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan Sections of the MAA

Friday-Saturday, March 23-24, 2018

Valparaiso University


Printable poster for this event: PDF

Preliminary schedule of meeting: PDF (To appear)

Preliminary list of Abstracts: PDF (To appear)

Tickets for Friday Lunch and Dinner and Saturday Lunch are available during on-line early registration (or, see the Announcement page for information on by-mail pre-registration). After the early registration due date, subject to our cancellation policy, some meal tickets may become available at the registration desk Friday afternoon or Saturday morning.

Friday Lunch Menu: Box Lunch includes:
-Choice of Sandwich (Veggie and Hummus, Turkey and Cheddar, or Roast Beef and Cheddar) on Wheat Bread -Lettuce and Tomato
-Whole Fresh Fruit
-Assorted Chips
-Two fresh baked Freshmen Chocolate Chip Cookies
-8 oz Bottled Valpo Water or Canned Pepsi Product
Friday Student Pizza Party:
-Pizza with variety of toppings
-Water, Lemonade, Iced Tea
Friday Dinner Banquet:
-Tossed Salad and 2 Dressings
-Rolls with Butter
-Chicken Wellington: Seared Chicken with Mushroom Duxelle wrapped in Puff Pastry and served with Roasted Potatoes and Chef`s Vegetables -Apple Pie with Crumble Topping
-Iced Tea, Water, and Coffee
**Vegetarian option is available, but participants must request this when they register

Saturday Lunch Menu:
Fajita Bar; Buffet includes:
-Seasoned Steak and Chicken
-Sautéed Peppers and Onions
-Flour Tortillas
-Seasoned Black Beans
-Spanish Rice
-Tortilla Chips
-Mini Churros
-Lettuce, Tomatoes, Shredded Cheese, Sour Cream
-Iced Tea, Water, and Coffee

Call for Papers: due date is Friday, Mar 2, 2018
Web-based registration (via Early Registration due date is Friday, Mar 2, 2018
2018 ICMC pre-registration: Early Registration due date is Friday, Mar 2, 2018 There will also be on-site registration at the check-in table, pending availability.

Invited Talks

Steven Butler

Iowa State University

The Mathematics of Juggling

Juggling and mathematics have both been done for thousands of years, but the mathematics of juggling is a relatively new field that dates back a few decades and looks at using the tools of mathematics to analyze, connect, and count various juggling patterns. We will introduce some of the very basic results related to the mathematics of juggling with a particular emphasis at looking at the various methods used to describe juggling patterns.


Allison Henrich

Seattle University

It's All Fun and Games Until Somebody Becomes a Mathematician

As former MAA President Francis Su recently reminded us, PLAY is
essential for human flourishing. Whether you are a poet or a
scientist, a grandparent or a child, play can powerfully enrich your
life. For mathematicians, play is essential for building
intuition. For undergraduates, play can inspire a desire to get
involved in mathematical research. The world of knots provides fertile
ground for understanding these connections. Playing games on knot
diagrams can give us intuition about knotty structures, while learning
about the theory of knots can reveal the ``magic'' behind rope tricks
and excite us to learn more.


Judy Holdener

Kenyon College

Homage to Emmy Noether: The Ideal Woman

In 1953 American painter Jackson Pollock created the diptych
``Portrait and a Dream,'' which is generally believed to be a
self-portrait of the artist. On the right-hand side of the work is a
Picasso-esque depiction of Pollock's head, rendered with black line
intersecting and enclosing regions of black, red, and yellow. On the
left-hand side is Pollock's dream illustrated as an abstract
black-and-white drip painting. The drips evoke movement and
confusion, suggestive of the subconscious mind at work. In this way
the two panels of the painting represent the inner and outer self of
Pollock, displaying an interplay --- or perhaps even an identification ---
between the subconscious and conscious minds of the artist. Similar
to Pollock's artwork, the creation of mathematical theory also
involves a rich interplay between the conscious and the subconscious
minds, and I portray this interplay in my digital portrait of the
German mathematician Emmy Noether (1882--1935). Inspired by Pollock's
``Portrait and a Dream,'' my artwork is also a diptych, displaying a
portrait of Noether alongside mathematical writing on a chalkboard
reflecting the conceptual, axiomatic way in which she approached her
groundbreaking work relating to ideals.

Michael Jones

Mathematical Reviews and Editor, Mathematics Magazine

A Voting Theory Approach to Golf Scoring

A surprising result in voting theory is that an election outcome may
depend on how votes are tallied after the ballots are cast. This
election scenario is relevant to the outcome of golf tournaments
because the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) is the only
professional sports league in the U.S. that changes the method of
scoring depending on the event. The PGA's stroke play and modified
Stableford scoring system are equivalent to using different voting
vectors to tally an election. This equivalence is discussed and data
from the Masters and International Tournaments are used to examine the
effect of changing the scoring method on the results of the

By focusing on 3-candidate elections, I will show how elementary
linear algebra and convexity can be used to explain the effect of
changing the voting vector. Sometimes, regardless of the voting
vector used, the same outcome would have occurred, as in the 1992 US
Presidential election. Can this happen in golf? I answer this
question and determine whether there exists a golf-scoring method in
which Tiger Woods would not have won the 1997 Masters, as his
performance is considered one of the best ever.


Jennifer Quinn

University of Washington Tacoma and MAA Board of Directors

Digraphs and Determinants: Determinants through Determined Ants

``There is no problem in all mathematics that cannot be solved by direct counting.''

--- Ernst Mach

In linear algebra, you learned how to compute and interpret
determinants. Along the way, you likely encountered some interesting
matrix identities involving beautiful patterns. Are these
determinantal identities coincidental or is there something deeper

In this talk, I will show you that determinants can be understood
combinatorially by counting paths in well-chosen directed graphs. We
will work to connect digraphs and determinants using two approaches:

  • Given a ``pretty'' matrix, can we design a (possibly weighted)
    digraph that clearly visualizes its determinant?
  • Given a ``nice'' directed graph, can we find an associated
    matrix and its determinant?

    Previous knowledge of determinants is an advantage but not a
    necessity. This will be a hands-on session, so bring your creativity
    and be prepared to explore the mathematical connections.

Mike Starbird

University of Texas at Austin

Geometric Gems

Plain plane geometry contains some of the most beautiful proofs ever
--- some dating from ancient times and some created by living
mathematicians. This talk will include some of my favorites from an
incredibly clever way to see that a plane intersects a cone in an
ellipse to a method for computing areas under challenging curves
developed by a living mathematician, Mamikon Mnatsakanian; and many
more. Geometry provides many treats!


Project NExT Panel Session:

Encounters with Experiential Learning



Moderator: TBA

Experiential learning can take many forms in mathematics departments. Instructors may change their classroom environment by using an inquiry based learning model, incorporating projects into class activities, or designing service learning activities to extend the classroom to include the immediate community. Experiential learning occurs through undergraduate research,departmental activities that build community and knowledge, and experiences beyond the campus such as professional conferences, mathematical competitions, and study abroad experiences. The panelists will discuss their experiences engaging their students through experiential learning activities, including observed or measured improvements and advantages, lessons learned during implementation, and advice on how to get started. The intent of this panel is to not only introduce you to ideas from experiential learning, but also to share innovative ideas/experiences that may enhance your own classroom or departments.


Student Activities Workshop


Title TBA

Abstract TBA

IBL Workshop


Title TBA

Abstract TBA

“So You Think You Know Math?”

Prof. Paul Fonstad
Franklin College

A trivia game show for students


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