The Mathematical Association of America
Maryland-District of Columbia-Virginia Section
Spring 2000 Meeting at Bowie State University
The spring meeting of the MD/DC/VA Section of the MAA was held on April 28 and 29 at Bowie State University, Bowie, MD.
The program began with a reception and banquet Friday evening, featuring an address by John W. Alexander Jr., President of the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) and Professor at Spelman College.
On Saturday there were addresses by Paul Zorn, Editor of Mathematics Magazine and Professor at St. Olaf College, and Melvin Currie, National Security Agency, as well as a workshop by Victor Katz, University of DC, and Rebecca Berg, Bowie State, contributed papers, and exhibits.
John W. Alexander, Jr.President, National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) and Professor, Spelman College
Banquet Address: The History of Mathematics in Color
Abstract: Dr. Alexander's address, The History of Mathematics in Color, concerns contributors to mathematics who have too often been forgotten in history books and classrooms. The presentation will touch on both African contributions to the mathematics of ancient Greece, as well as contemporary accomplishments of African American mathematicians.
Biographical Sketch: Dr. John W. Alexander, Jr. (Jack) has held faculty positions at a variety of institutions, including Boston State College, Wentworth Institute of Technology, University of the District of Columbia, Atlanta Metropolitan College, and Spelman College. His involvement with education has many facets: teacher, department chair, dean, National Academy of Sciences staff officer, and research mathematician and director for the Board on Mathematical Sciences. In addition he has extensive nonacademic experience, working in industry (General Electric, Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company, Futures Group "Think Tank") and even serving as a State Department Mathematics Consulting Director to the West African Regional Mathematics Program in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ghana. He has been president of the National Association of Mathematicians since 1994.
Melvin R. CurrieNational Security Agency
Invited Address: The Fractional Parts of N/K
Abstract: Dr. Currie's lecture is connected with the Euler-Mascheroni constant g. This famous constant is usually defined in terms of the harmonic series. It is well known that the n th partial sum can be under-estimated by integrating 1/x between 1 and n+1; g gives the limiting value of the error. However, there is another interpretation of g which concerns the distribution of the fractional parts of fractions n/k. For a fixed numerator n, and any denominator k < n, the fractional part of n/k lies in the unit interval [0,1]. Interestingly, the average of these fractional parts approaches 1-g as n approaches infinity. Currie's talk examines other aspects of the distribution of the fractional parts, leading to results that are intriguing and counter-intuitive.
Biographical Sketch: Dr. Melvin Currie did his undergraduate work at Yale, and completed his masters and doctoral degrees at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the National Security Agency, he held faculty positions at Auburn University and University of Richmond. His non-mathematical interests include genealogy and German, and he once served as a mathematics teacher in the public school system of Duesseldorf.
Paul ZornEditor of Mathematics Magazine, Professor St. Olaf College
Invited Address: Mathematics Magazine Morsels
Abstract: Dr. Zorn's presentation is Mathematics Magazine Morsels . As the title suggests, this talk will put on display interesting tidbits from the 70 year history of Mathematics Magazine, from great articles, to famous authors; from letters to the editor, to interesting or unusual illustrations: A veritable smorgasbord of mathematical miscellany.
Biographical Sketch: Dr. Paul Zorn is familiar to members of the mathematical community as Editor of Mathematics Magazine and as co-author (with Arnold Ostebee) of calculus textbooks. His special interests include complex analysis, instructional computing, and mathematical expository writing, for which he was recognized with a 1987 Allendoerfer Award from the MAA. This honor was awarded for a Mathematics Magazine article on the Bieberbach conjecture.
Victor Katz and Rebecca Berg
Workshop on the History of Mathematics
Abstract and Biographical Sketch: Victor Katz and Rebecca Berg will present a workshop Saturday afternoon on using the history of mathematics to enrich your courses. Katz is well known as the author of a popular book on the history of mathematics, and has been associated for nearly a decade with NSF sponsored summer programs in the history of mathematics, and with exceptionally popular paper sessions and minicourses at national meetings of the AMS and MAA. He is a co-director of the MAA's History of Mathematics Institute, in which program Rebecca Berg has been an active participant. Together, they will provide participants with a wealth of resources for incorporating history into math classes.