Iowa Section – Mathematical Association of America

c/o Department of Mathematics & Computer Science
Central College, Pella, IA

Chair: Joel Haack, University of Northern Iowa Governor: Ruth Berger, Luther College
Chair-Elect: Al Hibbard, Central College Editor: Mark Mills, Central College
Past-Chair: Steve Nimmo, Morningside College Sec/Treas: Wendy Weber, Central College


2004 Iowa Mathematics Meeting
Central College
April 16-17, 2004

Call for papers Elections Competition Lodging Detailed Schedule Abstracts

Basic Schedule

Here is the basic tentative schedule. We expect to have our first contributed paper session and two round tables on Friday afternoon, followed by dinner on our own. After dinner, we will have Frank Farris, editor of the Mathematics Magazine, speak on a hyperbolic world (see related graphic). This will be followed by a reception. On Saturday morning, we will start out at 8:45 with another presentation by Frank Farris, this time focusing on the Crystallographic Restriction. Following this, allowing time for the math competition to get started at 10:00, we will have our second contributed paper session from 10:15 until 11:15, followed by our business meeting at 11:30. A break for lunch will follow the business meeting. Assuming the business meeting follows a reasonable timeline, this should allow those involved with the math competition time to eat before meeting their teams. Arrangements have been made to have a room set aside at the Central Market dining area (east part of campus) for us to eat lunch together, if you so choose. The afternoon sessions begin at 1:45 and will consist of a third paper session as well as an MAA Workshop on Mathematics for Business Decisions. Details of the day and schedule can be found at

The Edge of the Universe--Hyperbolic Wallpaper
Frank A. Farris
Santa Clara University
Editor, Mathematics Magazine

The universe couldn't have an edge, because if it did, you could go there, put your hand through and find more of the universe on the other side, right? This reasoning breaks down if you and your measuring devices shrink as you approach the edge, making it infinitely far away.

We show a mathematical model of such a universe, called the Poincare Upper Halfplane, and study some of its features. The classical topic of circle inversion plays a prominent role. Physics suggests that this turns out to be a cold and lonely place, but we make beautiful wallpaper for the inhabitants.

Forbidden Symmetry: Relaxing the Crystallographic Restriction
Frank A. Farris
Santa Clara University
Editor, Mathematics Magazine

If you look at enough swatches of wallpaper, you will see centers of 2-fold, 3-fold, 4-fold, and 6-fold rotation. Why not 5-fold centers? They cannot occur, according to the Crystallographic Restriction, a fundamental result about wallpaper patterns, which are defined to be invariant under two linearly independent translations. Even so, we offer convincing pictures that appear to show wallpapers with 5-fold symmetry. The talk is intended to be accessible to students who know something about level curves in the plane and linear algebra.

Call for Student and Faculty Papers

Students and faculty are invited and encouraged to submit abstracts of papers for presentation at the meeting. Student presentations will be 15 minutes in length, while faculty presentations will be 25 minutes. Prizes will be awarded for the best student papers. All rooms are equipped with at least a computer and a projection unit. The projection unit is also capable of displaying overhead transparencies, sheets of paper, or other objects. (Other multi-media capabilities are also available if needed.)

This year we are going to try to convert the submission of abstracts to an online process. Please be patient while we work through any wrinkles. See below for the link to do so. Please use the web site if at all possible.

Submit student and faculty abstracts by March 10th (submissions past this date will certainly be considered) to:

Allen Hibbard
Department of Mathematics & Computer Science
Central College
Pella, IA 50219
phone: 641-628-5133
FAX: 641-628-5316

web page (preferred): LINK REMOVED


The business meeting Saturday morning will include the election of a Chair-Elect. The nominating committee consists of

Murphy Waggoner (Simpson College)
David Masnderscheid (University of Iowa)
Justin Peters (Iowa State University)

Send your nominations to them as soon as possible. Biographies will be posted in the spring newsletter, when ready.

Tenth Iowa Collegiate Mathematics Competition

The Competition will be held Saturday, April 17, 2004, during the annual Section Meeting. Please contact Ruth Berger, the competition coordinator, at by April 1, 2004, to sign your teams up.

Lodging in Pella

Blocks of rooms have been reserved at the following hotels. In all cases, call the local number and please let the clerk know that you are attending the Iowa section meeting of the MAA. (Some places may have it reserved under Central College or Al Hibbard or some combination of the above.) You can still attempt to make reservations after the day posted, but there is no guarantee of room availability.


Contact either Chair-Elect Allen Hibbard at, or the Secretary-Treasurer Wendy Weber at

Detailed Schedule

The detailed schedule can be found at


A complete list of abstracts can be found at

IA section database

We are trying to prepare an up-to-date database of all section members to provide better communication and save expenses on mailings. If you have not already updated your information, you may do so and it would be greatly appreciated.