The Mathematical Association of America
Maryland-District of Columbia-Virginia Section
Fall 2004 Meeting at Morgan State University
On November 5-6, 2004, Morgan State University hosted the Fall 2004 MD-DC-VA Regional Meeting of the MAA.
Helaman and Claire FergusonHelaman Ferguson Sculpture
Banquet Address: Mathematics in Stone and Bronze
Abstract: Helaman Ferguson's mathematical sculptures in stone and bronze celebrate ancient and modern mathematical discoveries, melding the universal languages of sculpture and mathematics. Using slides and video, Helaman and Claire trace Helaman's creations from initial concept, mathematical design, computer graphics, diamond cutting and final form. Their lectures have fascinated audiences worldwide, bringing together multiple disciplines and stimulating dialogue among them.
Biographical Sketch: Helaman Ferguson is both a sculptor whose work is located in institutions and collections worldwide and an internationally known mathematician whose algorithm has been listed as one of the top ten in the twentieth century. He enjoys a CRADA between his sculpture studio and NIST which is in the third generation of cable-based metrology systems. Claire Ferguson has written extensively on Helaman's work, including the Gold Ink and Ozzie Award winning book Helaman Ferguson: Mathematics in Stone and Bronze. She is a graduate of Smith College where she was an Ada Comstock Scholar.
Claire and Helaman Ferguson together have dazzled the mathematical community and a far wider public with exquisite sculptures embodying mathematical ideas, along with artful and accessible essays and lectures elucidating the mathematical concepts.
Citation from the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics 2002 Communications Award, Amer. Math. Soc., Math. Assoc. of Amer., Soc. of Indust. and Appl. Math.
Kenneth MasseyVisiting Assistant Professor, Mathematics, Hollins College
Invited Address: Low-dimensional Approximations to Sparse Noisy Intransitive Relations - Rating College Football Teams
Abstract: Many modern applications, including information retrieval and recommender systems, are challenged with extracting useful information from large data sets collected from sprawling, and potentially unreliable networks. A strikingly similar task is to accurately rate college football teams, which play short disparate schedules, and whose performance may vary significantly from week to week. In this talk, rating systems, such as those used by the BCS, will be discussed and compared with information models from other disciplines. Conversely, we will see how IR model design can often be intuitively understood by an appeal to competitive sports.
Biographical Sketch: Kenneth Massey is a visiting assistant professor of mathematics at Hollins University, completing his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech. As an undergraduate at Bluefield College, he began work on the rating system that since 1999 has been a component of college football's Bowl Championship Series.
Holly GaffAssistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland, Medical School
Invited Address: A Tick-Borne Disease Model - Spread and Control of Ehrlichiosis
Abstract: Recent increases in reported outbreaks of vector-borne diseases throughout the world have led to increased interest in understanding and controlling epidemics involving transmission vectors. Ticks have very unique life histories that create epidemics that differ from other vector-borne diseases. The differential equations underlying our tick-borne disease model are designed for the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) and the spread of human monocytic ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia chaffeensis). Analytical results show that under certain criteria for the parameters, the epidemic would be locally stable. The system was then expanded to multiple patches to evaluate the effect of spatial heterogeneity on the spread of the disease. The use of control measures was added, and it was found that the relative success of disease eradication was dependent upon the patch structure and location of control application. Results from simulations using a twelve patch system are compared with field data from an outbreak of ehrlichiosis in eastern Tennessee, USA. Finally, optimal control techniques are used to evaluate the location and amount of control needed to eliminate the disease from different patch scenarios. There remain many open questions that can be addressed by using this model that we have just begun to explore.
Biographical Sketch: I received my B.S. in math and environmental science from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. I went on from there to complete my Ph.D. in mathematics with an emphasis in mathematical ecology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, working with Louis Gross. Half of my dissertation focused on a fish model which was part of the South Florida Everglades restoration project, and the other half focused on a tick-borne disease model. I have worked on many different research projects in both epidemiology and ecology as a postdoc at UCSF, Cal-Berkeley and University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I also worked as a research scientist for a government contractor developing models for a variety of infectious diseases. I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at the University of Maryland, Medical School.