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Spring meeting of the Indiana Section of the Mathematical Association of America

Friday-Saturday, March 18-19, 2016

Franklin College

 

Printable Poster for this event: PDF

Preliminary schedule of meeting: PDF (Subject to change)

List of Abstracts: PDF (*PRELIMINARY*)

Tickets for Friday 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 Dinner Menu: Antipasto, Caesar salad, Sautéed zucchini, Pasta bar with spaghetti and penne pasta, meatballs, chicken cacciatore, or vegetarian, tiramisu or mini cannolis
Saturday Lunch Menu: Salads, Build-your-own sandwiches (assorted meats, cheese, and veggies), Assorted breads, Chips, Cookies and bars or brownies

Call for Papers: NOW CLOSED - the due date was Friday, Mar. 4, 2016

Web-based registration (via EventBrite.com):
LATE REGISTRATION NOW OPEN. Early Registration due date is Friday, Mar. 4, 2016 extended to Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2016. ICMC team early registration due date was Friday, Mar. 11, 2016. LATE REGISTRATION PENDING AVAILABILITY. There will also be on-site registration at the check-in table.


Invited Talks

Jason Douglas Rosenhouse

James Madison University

"The Monty Hall Problem, Reconsidered"

The Monty Hall problem is a classic brainteaser in probability.  In its canonical form, it asks you to imagine that you are a game show contestant confronted with three doors.  Behind one of the doors is a car, behind the other two are goats.  Monty Hall, the host of the show, asks you to choose a door but not open it.  After you make your choice, Monty then opens one of the remaining two doors, showing you that it contains a goat.  He then gives you the options either of sticking with your original door, or switching to the one remaining option.  You then win whatever is behind your final choice.  What should you do, assuming you want to maximize your chances of winning the car?  This problem routinely causes controversy, since the intuitively obvious answer turns out to be wrong.  We shall discuss the mathematics underlying the problem, explain how to think clearly about problems in conditional probability, and discuss a series of increasingly complex variations on the basic scheme.  The talk assumes very little mathematics and will be readily accessible to undergraduates.

Jeffrey Oaks

University of Indianapolis

"How to think like a Medieval Algebraist"

So you think a polynomial is just a polynomial? You think that the objects of mathematics are universal abstractions that we all apprehend directly (sometimes after many dreadful hours of studying)? Through a look into the language and structure of the algebraic solutions to problems in premodern algebra (before ca. 1600) I show that their conceptions of the powers of the unknown, polynomials, and equations differ from ours, and that the different premodern notations reflect these conceptions.

 

Edray Goins

Purdue University

"Indiana Pols Forced to Eat Humble Pi: The Curious History of an Irrational Number"

In 1897, Indiana physician Edwin J. Goodwin believed he had discovered a way to square the circle, and proposed a bill to Indiana Representative Taylor I. Record which would secure Indiana's the claim to fame for his discovery.  About the time the debate about the bill concluded, Purdue University professor C. A. Waldo serendipitously came across the claimed discovery, and pointed out its mathematical impossibility to the lawmakers.  It had only be shown just 15 years before, by the German mathematician Ferdinand von Lindemann, that it was impossible to square the circle because π is a transcendental number.  This fodder became ignominiously known as the ``Indiana Pi Bill'' as Goodwin's result would force π = 3.2.

In this talk, we review this humorous history of the irrationality of π.  We introduce a method to compute its digits, present Lindemann's proof of its irrationality (following a simplification by Miklós Laczkovich), discuss the relationship with the Hermite-Lindemann-Weierstrass theorem, and explain how Edwin J. Goodwin came to his erroneous conclusion in the first place. 

 

Colin McKinney

Wabash College

"Hoosiers, the MAA, and the Indiana Section"

This talk will chronicle the role some Hoosiers played in the founding of the MAA. It will also look at the founding of the Indiana Section of the MAA, only the fifth section to form. Some biographical information will also be presented about early members of the Section or the Association.

 

Indiana Project NExT Panel Session:

Alternative Assessment Techniques

Panelists

Mindy Capaldi, Valparaiso University
Sylvia Carlisle, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
William Lindsey, IU-Kokomo

Moderator: TBA

In this panel, we will discuss methods to assess student learning that go beyond traditional exams. The panelists will first each give an overview of alternative assessment techniques they have tried in their classrooms, ranging from pre-class assignments and specifications grading to oral exams and collaborative testing.  Then there will be time for Q&A from the audience.

 

Student Activities Workshop

Prof. Karl Schmitt
Valparaiso University

Prof. Martha Byrne
Earlham College

Math+Gaming=Mathing


We know you like math. Do you also like playing tabletop games? Ever thought about how much math goes into games? We're talking more than just the probability in dice rolling. You can find symmetry, sets, finite projective planes, axiomatic systems and more. In this workshop we'll take a brief look at how mathematical concepts appear in or inspire games. After that you'll get the opportunity, guidance, and materials to start designing a new game based on mathematical principles with a team of like-minded individuals.  We’ll provide mathematical subjects for structure and example games for inspiration. You’ll bring your creativity and love of mathematics to make playing with math as fun for everyone as it already is for us.

 

Graduate Student Workshop

Prof. Amanda Harsy
Lewis University

Prof. Mark Panaggio
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Applications and pre-campus interviews

Are you ready for the job market? This workshop will offer information and advice about the early stages of an academic job search with a focus on assembling your application materials and preparing for pre-campus interviews.  It will include helpful tips, guided discussion, and mock interviews and writing prompts.

‪Topics covered in this session will include:

  1. ‪The timeline of applying for jobs and where to find job postings,
  2. ‪Advice for writing your CV, cover letter, teaching statement, research statement, and other application materials,
  3. ‪How to obtain letters of recommendation – who to ask and when,
  4. ‪How to stay organized and manage deadlines,
  5. ‪Guidelines for pre-campus interviews including: phone, Skype and conference (JMM) interviews,
  6. ‪Typical interview questions you should be prepared to answer, and
  7. Good questions to ask during your pre-campus interview.

 

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