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Friday, October 5, 2012

Registration & Exhibits      Carver Science 211


Concurrent Session #1      Carver Science 205

3:30-3:50Teaching Introductory Statistics: An Impostor's Perspective
Neil Martinsen-Burrell, Wartburg College
I am not a statistician, but I do play one at my institution. This talk will reflect on an applied mathematician's experience teaching many, many sections of introductory statistics over the past six years. I will discuss challenges that a mathematician may face when teaching statistics, lessons I have learned, and helpful (and unhelpful) resources.
4:00-4:20Writing WeBWorK questions for Introductory Statistics
Matt Rissler, Loras College
WeBWorK is an Open-Source online homework system for Mathematics. The Open Problem Library contains many usable questions for Introductory Statistics. In this talk, I will discuss the current procedures for writing questions for Statistics and what improvements I have accomplished to simplify writing questions.
4:30-4:50Bayes’ Theorem in the Modern World
Charles Ashbacher, #none
Despite having been repeatedly debunked, the idea of testing all members of a population for a characteristic a small percentage has continues to appear in our political world. The foolishness of this is easily demonstrated by applying Bayes’ theorem to the data. The counter-intuitive results are easily understood using simple diagrams with relative areas. I use the examples in my basic statistics class so that the students can understand what the facts are when such proposals are made. This also has potential for further discussions of the overall social costs of testing.

Concurrent Session #2      Carver 215 (Jordan Lecture Hall)

3:30-3:50A line need not be straight!
Ruth Berger, Luther College
In Geometry a line is an undefined term, governed only by whatever axioms you want to impose on it. Students have a hard time with proofs in non-Euclidean Geometries, because their Euclidean intuition about straight lines keeps interfering with their logical thinking. I try to have my students develop non-Euclidean intuition by introducing them to different worlds: The Green Jello World, inhabited by fish, consists of Jello that is less dense in one direction, but infinitely dense at the end of the world. Escher's World is as a disk populated by inhabitants in which everything shrinks towards the outside. By thinking like inhabitants of these worlds, students realize that you can get from A to B with fewer steps/flipper strokes by not necessarily following a Euclidean line. They naturally come up with the fact that lines (interpreted as shortest paths) can be curved looking paths! Having this hyperbolic intuition makes it much easier for students to write formal proofs in hyperbolic geometry.
4:00-4:20The Uniqueness of Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock
Brian Birgen, Wartburg College
I shall demonstrate that Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock is the unique five move fair game up to isomorphism, and that there are is not a unique seven move fair game.
4:30-4:50Real Analysis - IBL Style
Mariah Birgen, Wartburg College
One year ago, I went to a workshop on Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) and was inspired to teach my Advanced Calculus course this way in Winter 2012. I will never go back to my old style again. This may be the closest my students ever get to mathematical research as undergraduates. In this talk I will briefly describe how an IBL classroom works and, more importantly, give links to resources to help you help your students with this method of deep learning.

Concurrent Session #3      Carver 231

3:30-3:50A Beautiful Cantor-like Function
Marc Chamberland, Grinnell College
Analysis students encounter various functions with exotic properties. This could include functions with infinitely many discontinuities (Dirichlet function, Thomae function, windmill functions) or continuous functions which grow in a bizarre way (Cantor function, Minkowski's question mark function). After quickly reviewing these, we introduce a new function f(x) which combines enticing properties from both of these classes: a dense set of discontinuities, fractal structure, a base-3 digital representation, satisfies f(f(x))=x, and has surprising integral properties. This function makes an excellent study to conclude a first course in analysis.
4:00-4:20Applications of Projective Tiling
Irvin Hentzel, Iowa State University
We give a low level approach to the theorem that in a photograph, all parallel lines meet at a point. We prove this theorem using analytic geometry. We point out some mathematical properties of projections that are not displayed in photographs. And we show how to estimate areas and distances in photographs without doing numerical calculations. This material would be appropriate for a Math Club presentation or a special topic to show an application of math to forensic investigations.
4:30-4:50A Model of Invertebrate Richness on Restored Prairies
* Michael Frank, Courtney Sherwood & Lauren Tirado, Simpson College
We will present a differential equations model of prairie restoration. Here, species richness is considered as an indicator of prairie restoration, with the variables for the equation being invertebrate and plant species richness and time. We will incorporate field work from a prairie in Nebraska as an example of our model. Our main goal is determining if planting fewer seeds will yield similar invertebrate richness as planting more seeds, that is, a more cost effective approach.



Plenary Address #1      Carver Science 215 (Jordan Lecture Hall)

Ivars Peterson, MAA
Few people expect to encounter mathematics on a visit to an art gallery or even a walk down a city street (or across campus). When we explore the world around us with mathematics in mind, however, we see the many ways in which mathematics can manifest itself, in streetscapes, sculptures, paintings, architectural structures, and more. This illustrated presentation offers illuminating glimpses of mathematics, from Euclidean geometry and normal distributions to Riemann sums and Möbius strips, as seen in a variety of structures and artworks in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, New Orleans, and many other locales.

Reception following Plenary Session      Carver Science 215 Jordan Lecture Hall Atrium


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Registration & Exhibits      Carver Science 211


Plenary Address #2      Carver Science 215 (Jordan Lecture Hall)

8:30-9:30Pancake Sorting, Prefix Reversals, and DNA Rearrangements
Ivars Peterson, MAA
The seemingly simple problem of sorting a stack of differently sized pancakes has become a staple of theoretical computer science and led to insights into the evolution of species. First proposed in The American Mathematical Monthly, the problem attracted the attention of noted mathematicians and computer scientists. It now plays an important role in the realm of molecular biology for making sense of DNA rearrangements.

Concurrent Session #4      Carver 205

9:40-10:00Pi Day, STEM MNOS and ExploreU@MMU
Jitka Stehnova, Mt. Mercy University
Last year, our department was able to secure funding for several different events and programs supporting mathematics on various levels. In this talk, I will talk about these programs, funding opportunities and grant writing.
10:10-10:30Who is Grant S. Stem?
Eric Canning, Morningside College
The Mathematical Sciences department at Morningside College was awarded an S-STEM (NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) grant for the 2009-10 through 2012-13 academic years. I will share our experiences, and maybe some advice, with writing the proposal and maintaining this grant.
10:40-11:00MAA Program Study Group on Computer Science and Computational Science
Henry Walker, Grinnell College
The MAA CUPM currently is working on a revision of its curricular recommendations for undergraduate programs and departments. As part of this effort, CUPM has appointed several Program Study Groups to explore how mathematics programs might support and collaborate with programs in other areas. Topics for consideration include supporting courses, minors, double majors, and other interdisciplinary opportunities. This session will review the current activities of the MAA Program Study Group on Computer Science and Computational Science. Feedback from the session attendees will be sought to help clarify what types of information might be helpful within a forthcoming Study Group report.

Concurrent Session #5      Carver 215 (Jordan Lecture Hall)

9:40-10:00Calculus III projects for Undergraduates
Christian Roettger, Iowa State University
Multivariate Calculus lends itself particularly well to explorations on the computer. Examples include Newton's method, Steepest Descent, two-dimensional Riemann sums, Euler's method for differential equations. Each of these can be presented in various appealing contexts and is immediately plausible for a student who understands the core concepts of the derivative of a multivariate function and Riemann sums, respectively. On the other hand, exploring the 'approximation' aspect of Calculus with paper and pencil and even with a calculator is less satisfactory than using a computer, especially if powerful mathematical software is available (eg SAGE, R, Matlab, Maple, Mathematica). Ideally, the results can be presented in an appealing graphic, and we'll show examples of student work. Finally, we do not assume any programming skills, but this kind of small project is a great opportunity to learn them.
10:10-10:30Development of Molecular Profiles to Predict Treatment Outcomes in Lymphoma Patients
* Joseph Moen, Wartburg College
Lymphoma, a cancer which affects the immune system, is the fifth most common cancer in North America. Rituximab-based chemotherapy (R-CHOP) has become the standard recommended cancer-management course for this disease. Using previously collected data from a 2008 study conducted by Lenz G. Wright and publicly available from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, we used statistical methods to identify genetic characteristics associated with survival in R-CHOP treated patients. Univariate screening reduced the 54,000 recorded genes per patient into a manageable group which displayed strong possible correlation with overall survival. The resulting gene collection was partitioned into clusters of related genes and then scored using principal components. Then, a multivariate Cox-Regression model of these principal components was developed to best predict survival in Lymphoma patients. The resulting model can be used to help identify genetic characteristics of patients who are less likely to respond to current therapy and are potential targets for new drug development.
10:40-11:00Points are Terrible. Better Assessment is possible
Theron Hitchman, University of Northern Iowa
This is a preliminary report (and a bit of a polemic) about my new experiment with standards based assessment in a college level Euclidean Geometry course.

Concurrent Session #6      Carver 231

9:40-10:00Cores of Monomial Ideals
Angela Kohlhaas, Loras College
Blow-up algebras associated to an ideal I are at the center of the interplay between commutative algebra and algebraic geometry. One can study these algebras through minimal reductions of I, or simpler ideals inside of I which retain much of I’s information. In particular, we study the intersection of all minimal reductions, called the core of the ideal. In this talk, we will show how the core of a monomial ideal can be visualized on an integer lattice and how the combinatorial structure of the original monomial ideal is reflected in the shape of its core.
10:10-10:30Beggar Your Neighbor, The Search for an Infinite Game
* Andy Ardueser, Rachel Rice & Kelly Woodard, Simpson College
In this talk we will present the work completed in the summer of 2012 during the Dr. Albert H. and Greta A. Bryan Summer Research Program at Simpson College. We furthered the analysis of the card game Beggar-My-Neighbor specifically with the intent of discovering a deal that leads to an infinite game in a 52-card deck. We used combinatorics and programs written in Mathematica to examine and refine the large number of possible deals based on structures that lead to cyclic behavior.
10:40-11:002-Color Rado Numbers
Chris Spicer, Morningside College
Rado numbers are a branch of Combinatorics and are closely related to Ramsey numbers. In this talk, after discussing some of the historical work done on this topic, we will completely determine the 2-color Rado numbers for equations of a certain form.

Business Meeting      Carver Science 215 (Jordan Lecture Hall)




An Introduction to Sage Workshop     Carver Science 231

1:30-2:30An Introduction to Sage
Jason Grout & Theron Hitchman, University of Northern Iowa
Sage is a free, open-source mathematical software system. In this workshop we will give a short introduction to the capabilities and features of Sage and give everyone a chance to try it out.

Concurrent Session #7      Carver 205

1:30-1:50The Feasibility of Electric Vehicles: Driving Interest in Mathematical Modeling
Bill Schellhorn, Simpson College
The study of electric vehicles can be used to promote interest in mathematical modeling in a variety of courses and student projects. In this presentation, I will discuss how the feasibility of electric vehicles can be investigated using fundamental topics in algebra, calculus, and statistics. I will also give examples of how technology can be incorporated into the investigation.
2:00-2:20Sabbatical Leave, the Perfect Time to Mentor Undergraduates in Research.
Rick Spellerberg, Simpson College
During my previous and now current sabbatical I have involved undergraduates in my research activities. I included my intentions in my sabbatical applications and this fact I firmly believe strengthened my proposals. This talk will focus on the strategies I have employed in involving students in my work and the subsequent outcomes.
2:30-2:50Undergraduate Research During the Academic Year
Heidi Berger, Simpson College
In this talk, I will discuss my experience with the Center for Undergraduate Research, both as a participant and as a co-director. I will discuss the work conducted by Simpson students in the academic year and summer setting and discuss resources to support undergraduate research during the academic year.

Concurrent Session #8      Carver 215 (Jordan Lecture Hall)

1:30-1:50Math Culture Points at Coe
Jonathan White, Coe College
Coe has been using a "Math Culture Points" system for several years now to encourage and reward students for relevant activities outside of class, inspired by the article "Culture Points: Engaging Students outside the Classroom" by Fraboni and Hartshorn in PRIMUS v17. We have had excellent results, particularly including enthusiastic student participation in activities. We will discuss our implementations of the system, which differ from Fraboni and Hartshorn’s in some respects, and share some assessment based on student responses.
2:00-2:20The Twisted Tale of Protein-bound DNA
** Mary Therese Padberg, University of Iowa
DNA is important for our cells to function and grow, but it cannot accomplish this alone. DNA is just the blueprint and its information must be read and expressed by proteins. Understanding the shape of DNA when protein has bound to it (protein-bound DNA) is important for biological and medical research. Laboratory techniques exist which allow scientists to find the geometric structure for some protein-bound DNA complexes. When these techniques fail, we can often experimentally determine a topology for the complex, but topology alone is not enough. In order to understand the structure of protein-bound DNA at a scientifically useful level we need to know the geometry of the structure. In this talk we will create a mathematical model based on the DNA topology from laboratory experiments to describe the geometry of the DNA. We will discuss the flexibility of this model to accept user modifications in order to model the protein-bound DNA sample under variable conditions. Thus, by combining geometric and topological solutions we will be able to more accurately describe the shape of large protein-bound DNA complexes.

* denotes an undergraduate speaker and ** indicates a graduate student speaker