Fall 1997

Volume 20, No. 2 Fall, 1997

Editor's note: The dates presented in this newsletter for the Spring 1998 section meeting have been changed. By moving all dates one week earlier (February 26-28), you should have the correct date.)


The LA-MS Section of the MAA will hold its annual Student Paper Competition on March 7, 1998, at the section meeting in New Orleans, LA. Papers are solicited in two categories; graduate and undergraduate. Presentations at the meeting will be limited to 12 minutes.

A written paper of 6 pages or less must be received and include the author's name, institutional affiliation and faculty advisor. If available, an e-mail address should also be provided. Late entries will not be considered. Contact Dr. Mohamed Mahrous, LA/MS Section Chair, University of New Orleans for more details.

Prizes will be awarded in each category separately, with no more than 3 prizes in each. The number of prizes awarded shall be at the discretion of the judges, and shall be determined depending on the number and quality of the entries in each category. The amount of the prizes shall be as follows: first prize, $75.00, second, $50.00, and third, $25.00.

Each entry will be judged on the basis of both the written and oral presentation, with equal consideration given to both.


The Seventh Student Team Competition will be held on Friday, March 6, 1998 from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. Each school is invited to enter one or two teams. Please encourage your students to attend the meeting and to participate in this competition. A team must have a faculty sponsor and shall consist of at most 4 students. Team members must be undergraduate students and must be currently enrolled at the institution they represent.

An application form for this competition will be included in the registration information which will be mailed to department chairs in January. If more information is needed, or if a faculty member is interested in assisting in judging the competition (including submitting problems and grading), please contact Dr. Mohamed Mahrous, LA/MS Section Chair, University of New Orleans for more details.

Meeting Preliminaries


The 75th Annual Meeting of the Louisiana-Mississippi Section of the Mathematical Association of America will be held in New Orleans on March 6-7, 1998. The University of New Orleans is the host. Sessions of ten to twelve-minute papers will be held on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Anyone wishing to submit a paper for one of these sessions should send the information requested below to: Dr. Mohamed Mahrous, LA/MS Section Chair, University of New Orleans. Contact him for the deadline for submission. The required information is:


The following letter was received from MAA encouraging nominations for the Section Teaching Award.


College or university teachers assigned at least halftime during the academic year to teaching a mathematical science in a public or private college or university (from two-year college teaching through teaching at the Ph.D. level) in the United States or Canada. Those on approved leave (sabbatical or other) during the academic year in which they are nominated qualify if they fulfilled the requirements in the previous year.

Guidelines for Nomination

* "teaching" is to be interpreted in its broadest sense, not necessarily limited to classroom teaching (it may include activities such as preparing students for mathematical competitions at the college level, for example, the Putnam Prize Competition or the Mathematical Contest in Modeling, or attracting students to become majors in a mathematical science or to become Ph.D. candidates).

** "influence beyond their own institution" can take many forms, including demonstrated lasting impact on alumni, influence on the profession through curricular revisions in college mathematics teaching with national impact, influential innovative books on the teaching of college mathematics, etc.

Nominations must be submitted on the enclosed "Nomination Form" (Click Here for an online version.) Please follow the instructions on that form precisely to assure uniformity in the selection process both at the Section and national levels.

If a file on a Section awardee significantly exceeds the prescribed limits, it will not be considered for a national award and will be returned to the Section.

Please send six copies of each nomination packet to

Professor Rose Strahan, Secretary
LA/MS Section
Box 3242
Delta State University
Cleveland, MS 38733

so as to be received no later than December 5, 1997.

The Section Selection Committee will select the Section awardee during January and communicate its selection to the national selection committee no later than February 1 so that the national Committee can then make its selections.

We look forward to your participation in this exciting MAA venture of taking substantive action to honor extraordinarily successful teaching. We want to see such teaching recognized at all post-secondary school levels. We depend on you to help us identify those who merit such recognition.

USM Weekend Algebra Conference

17 - 19 April 1998

The Department of Mathematics of the University of Southern Mississippi will be hosting an algebra conference April 17, 18, and 19, 1998. In keeping with the tradition of these annual regional algebra conferences (the last being held at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, fall, 1996), talks in all areas of algebra are welcome. Graduate students are particularly encouraged to attend. All talks will be given in Southern Hall on the Hattiesburg campus. The conference organizers are Temple H. Fay, William Hornor, and Gary L. Walls.

Weekend algebra conferences are held yearly at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, the University of Southern Mississippi, and a third volunteer university (past hosts include the University of Houston, Baylor University, and Texas A & M University). Thus every third year USM hosts this popular conference.

USM hosted the conference in April 1995, for the third time and had over 45 participants. The conference format is simple, which might account in part for its popularity. Talks begin Friday afternoon at 1 pm and run to about 6 pm; each talk is approximately 30 minutes. Friday evening there is a dinner, but no speeches. Saturday talks begin at 8 am and run to about 1 pm Thereafter, a picnic is held at Professor Fay's house for the conference participants and USM mathematics faculty and students. Sunday talks begin at 8 am and run to noon. Thus there are about 14 hours or so of talks on mathematics and some serious volleyball competitions, not to mention barbecued chicken and fresh boiled crawfish.

USA/USM Miniconference on Undergraduate

Research in the Mathematical Sciences

20 February 1998

The Department of Physics of the University of South Alabama will be hosting the 7th annual USA/USM Miniconference of Undergraduate Research in the Mathematical Sciences on 20 February 1998. Undergraduate talks in computer science, mathematics, physics, and statistics are welcome. Faculty presentations are also considered although priority is given to undergraduate speakers if the program becomes crowded. Student talks are usually 20 minutes and faculty talks 45 minutes.

This miniconference alternates between the campuses of USA and USM. Last year at USM there were 8 student presentations and 4 faculty talks. The program generally begins with registration in the morning, a lunch for all participants, and talks begin at 1 pm and run to 6:30 or so.

Miniconference organizers are Professor Temple H. Fay, Department of Mathematics, University of Southern Mississippi and Professor R. Kent Clark, Department of Physics, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama. Potential speakers are asked to send a title and abstract to Professor Clark. Students and faculty are invited to attend regardless of whether they are speakers or not. Professor Clark suggests that participants come down for some interesting presentations on Friday and to enjoy Mardi Gras in Mobile over the weekend.

For further information contact either of the organizers.

E-mail:, or


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