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Fall 2016 meeting of the Indiana Section of the Mathematical Association of America

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Purdue University West Lafayette


Printable Poster for this event: PDF

Preliminary schedule of meeting: PDF (As of October 5)

Preliminary List of Abstracts: PDF (As of October 5)

Tickets for Saturday Lunch are available during on-line registration, which is open through Saturday, Oct. 8. (See the Announcement page for information on by-mail pre-registration.) Subject to our cancellation policy, some lunch tickets may become available at the registration desk Saturday morning.

Lunch Menu: Lunch will be in “The Gathering Place” at Meredith Hall and will include a variety of Mexican-style buffet options, including vegetarian options.

Call for Papers: NOW CLOSED.  Due date was Friday, Sep. 23 extended to Wed., Sep 28.
Web-based registration (via LATE REGISTRATION NOW OPEN. Early Registration due date was Friday, Sep. 23. (Late registration also available on-site at the check-in table.)

Invited Talks


Emory University

"Gems of Ramanujan and their Lasting Impact on Mathematics"


Dear Sir…I beg to introduce myself to you as a clerk… of the Port Trust Office at Madras… I have been employing

the spare time at my disposal to work at Mathematics…I have not trodden through the conventional regular course…

but I am striking out a new path…”

What followed in the letter were astonishing mathematical formulas, so otherworldly the letter's recipient could not help but believe they were true. Written in 1913, it has taken mankind one century to understand their meaning; along the way, the pursuit has led to solutions of ancient mathematical mysteries, breakthroughs in modern physics, and ideas which help power the internet. With this letter, Srinivasa Ramanujan—impoverished Hindu college dropout, self-taught in mathematics, reaching for worlds beyond the shores of India—introduced himself not only to G.H. Hardy (superstar British mathematician), but to the history of human thought. Ramanujan spent his youth sitting on cool stone floors in the neighborhood temple, surrounded by deities, his mind wandering the cosmos of math as he built upon the contents of a shabby textbook that was his bible. After absorbing the surprising equations in the letter, Hardy invited Ramanujan to study in England, an extraordinary offer for an Indian under colonial rule. Together they innovated vast tracts of mathematics, before Ramanujan returned to India in fragile health. Tragically, he died at 32 from a misdiagnosed illness, leaving three enigmatic notebooks that drive cutting-edge research to this day. The speaker will talk about Ramanujan and share exclusive clips from the recent Hollywood film “The Man Who Knew Infinity” which stars Dev Patel (Ramanujan) and Jeremy Irons (G. H. Hardy).




University of Illinois at Chicago

"Topology, Quaternions and Octonions"

Abstract: This talk begins with the history of the discovery of the quaternions by Sir William Rowan Hamilton in 1843. The quaternions mark the discovery of the first non-trivial non-commutative mathematical system of significance. Matrix algebra had not yet been discovered when Hamilton found the quaternions. Hamilton desired to generalize the complex numbers and their interpretation in terms of rotations of the plane. He finally succeeded in 1843 and could summarize his result by saying that the quaternions were generated by elements {1,i,j,k} with i^2 = j^2 = k^2 = ijk = -1. The quaternions are four dimensional and they do contain the desired information about composing rotations in three-space. In the same year John Graves discovered an eight dimensional generalization and two years later Arthur Cayley rediscovered these octonions. We will discuss both the quaternions and the octonions and how they are related to geometry, topology and physics.


Indiana Project NExT Panel Session:

Retaining Students from Underrepresented Groups in STEM


Alejandra Alvarado, Eastern Illinois University
Rodrigo Banuelos, Purdue University West Lafayette
Zenephia Evans, Purdue University West Lafayette

Moderator: Zsuzsanna Szaniszlo, Valparaiso University

Students traditionally underrepresented in STEM face special challenges in the higher education system. Many such students seem to give up on becoming STEM majors during the Calculus sequence. The traditionally high D, F, W rate in Calculus is even higher for these types of students. While faculty often struggle to provide the appropriate help to students with different backgrounds and preparations, we as a community fail many students. Students encounter a variety of challenges; for instance: first generation college students struggle to navigate the college system, minority students feel isolated in a math class of a majority institution, and women are turned off by competition and war-related vocabulary (for example “attacking a problem”) used daily in mathematics classrooms. In addition, as educators we hear about students facing stereotype threats, and faculty committing unintentional micro aggressions. Mathematics as a discipline is also often described as being unwelcoming to most students. We asked our panelists to present ideas to turn these trends around, either in a particular classroom or at the department or institution level.


Graduate Student Workshop

Prof. Amanda Harsy
Lewis University

Being on the Market Part II: On-Campus Interviews

Are you ready for the job market? This workshop builds off the Spring 2016 INMAA workshop which gave advice about the early stages of an academic job search and focuses on the next stage in the application process: on-campus interviews.  During this workshop, we will cover the details of what a typical on-campus interview is like and how one can prepare for it. In particular, we will discuss how to tailor a research talk so it is accessible to undergraduates and prepare for a teaching demonstration.

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