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2015 Iowa Mathematics Meeting
Graceland University
Lamoni, Iowa
October 2-3, 2015

Call for papers Elections Campus Information Lodging Schedule Abstracts Preregistering

The annual meeting of the Iowa Section of the Mathematics Association of America will soon be here. We are fortunate to have Francis Su as our guest speaker Friday night (time 7:00-8:00 p.m.) and Dave Richeson for Saturday morning (time 8:30-9:30 a.m.). Dan Alexander, last year's Iowa Section teaching award winner, will give an invited talk Saturday afternoon. .

Francis Edward Su
Harvey Mudd College
President of Mathematical Association of America

Voting in Agreeable Societies

When does a majority exist in a voting situation? How does the geometry of the political spectrum influence the outcome? What does mathematics have to say about how people behave? When mathematical objects have a social interpretation, the associated results have social applications. We will show how math can be used to model people's preferences and understand voting in "agreeable" societies. This talk also features research with undergraduates.

Dave Richeson
Math Horizons Editor

The four problems of antiquity

We discuss the history of four of the most famous problems in mathematics—the so-called problems of antiquity: squaring the circle, trisecting the angle, doubling the cube, and constructing regular n-gons. We know the outcome—that they are all impossible to solve using compass and straightedge. But there is a long and fascinating history of mathematicians' attempts to solve the problems using the Euclidean tools and their success at solving them by other means (using marked straightedges, conic sections, transcendental curves, and mechanical devices). Like all great mathematical problems, they pushed mathematics forward.

Dan Alexander
Drake University
2014 Iowa Section Distinguished Teaching of Mathematics Award Winner

Innovation through Blunder (or the Unexpected Virtues of Non-Intentionality)

"We all make mistakes." "There is no such thing as a dumb question." "You should embrace your mistakes and learn from them.” These are all things that many of us tell our students. But do we believe it? More importantly, do we follow this advice in our own teaching? What I hope to do in this talk is explore the role of mistakes in teaching with the audience. In hopes of getting the conversation rolling, I will offer a few examples of mistakes, including several I have made. some of which have led to some drastic changes in my teaching.

Call for Student and Faculty Papers

As usual, we hope for a wide variety of talks from our own members. If you have something interesting to say about mathematics or teaching, contribute a talk and share with the rest of the section. Students (both undergraduates and graduates) are encouraged to participate.

Proposals for talks are due by September 21. Please use the electronic submission form, if at all possible. (Logging in first will make it easier, so you are encouraged to do so.) If you are unable to use the submission site, please send the following information to Amanda Matson:

Contact information for Amanda Matson: Amanda Matson Mathematics Department Clarke University 1550 Clarke Drive Dubuque, IA 52001 voice: 563-588-6790 email:


We will be holding elections for a new Vice-Chair Elect at the meeting. The candidates for Vice-Chair Elect are Sergio Loch (Grand View) and Angie Kohlhaas (Loras).

Vice-Chair Elect

  • Graceland University Campus Information

    Here is a link to a map of the Graceland University campus:

    The MAA Iowa Section meeting will be in Resch Science Hall (building 23 on the map), and the Project NExT meeting will be in the South America room in the Memorial Student Center (MSC, 20 on the map). Parking will be easiest in the West Parking Lot, but any of the lots should be fine.

    Lodging in Lamoni

    Hotel options: (Remember to tell them that you are with the Iowa Section of the MAA.)

    Super 8 in Lamoni (2 miles from campus)
    $69/room with mentioning Mathematical Association of America (recommend 2nd floor)
    Chief Lamoni Motel (2 miles from campus)
    Maple Street Bed and Breakfast (0.5 mile from campus)
    Lakeside Hotel and Casino (30 miles north of Lamoni on I-35 in Osceola)
    Note:  None of the rooms in Lamoni will be fancy.  The hotel at Lakeside was renovated and added onto last year, so those rooms are likley to be nicer. 

    Schedule and Abstracts

    Here is a link to the schedule: Schedule


    If you have questions, please contact the
    Chair, Brian Birgen (for general issues);
    Vice-Chair, Amanda Matson (for program issues);
    Vice-Chair Elect, Jason Smith (for local, on-site issues);
    or Secretary, Susan Crook at (for registration or other issues).


    Thank you for considering preregistering for the upcoming meeting. This will save you time at the meeting, make it easier for our secretary at the meeting, and increase the efficiency in gathering the data that the MAA headquarters asks of us for each meeting (including gender, whether you are a presenter, and student/faculty/other status). When you come to the registration table at the meeting, indicate that you have already preregistered. Your name will be looked up from the list gathered from this registration tool and you will only need to pay the registration fee ($10) to complete the process. Preregistration takes place here. Note that you can use this page whether you are currently in our database or not (see below), but the process will be much easier if you already are.

    IA section database

    We are trying to maintain an up-to-date database of all section members to provide better communication, save expenses on mailings, and help with the registration and proposal process. If you have not already updated your information, you may do so by using the log in page here. The credentials that you need here are your email and your password. If you forgot your password, you can always have it sent to by using the "I forgot my password" link on the log in page (log in). This assumes that you are in the system. If you are not sure if you are or not, check here. If you are not in the system, use the Contact menu there to send a message to request to be added.