Section Meetings

Spring 2015 meeting

Sunday, May 3, 2015, New York City College of Technology (CUNY)

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Directions and map

Meeting postcard

Tentative Schedule

8:15 - 9:40 Registration and refreshments
8:15 - 3:40
Book exhibits open
9:45 - 10:00
Greetings and welcome
10:00 - 10:50 Invited Speaker:

Marjorie Senechal, Smith College

Monsters, Penrose Tilings, and Aperiodic Crystals
10:50 - 11:00 Break
11:00 - 11:50 Three concurrent sessions:

1) NSF Grants Presentation

2) National MAA Math Major Presentation

3) Math Bowl (for students)
12:00 - 1:20 Lunch (with time to visit the exhibits)
1:30 - 2:10
Awards ceremony and business meeting
2:15 - 3:25
Invited Speaker:

Judy L. Walker, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

What color is my hat? And what does that have to do with my iPod?
3:40 - 5:40
Contributed paper and poster sessions

Senechal picture
Invited speaker: Marjorie Senechal from Smith College and The Mathematical Intelligencer

Title: Monsters, Penrose Tilings, and Aperiodic Crystals

Abstract: Regular pentagons don't tile the plane, as Johannes Kepler discovered long ago.  The gaps didn't bother him but overlaps did; they're monsters, he said, and quit.  350 years later Roger Penrose took another
look and came up with his now-famous aperiodic tiles.  Are Penrose tilings more than intriguing  toys? Are  they, as many people hoped, also found in nature? Do they describe the atomic structures of real aperiodic crystals (so-called quasicrystals)? In this talk I'll show why many people hoped the Penrose tilings would do that job, but Kepler's monsters do it better.

Biography: Marjorie Senechal grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, and received a B.S. from the University of Chicago and M. S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Illinois Institute of Technology, all in mathematics, and taught at Smith College throughout her career.

Now Marjorie is the Louise Wolff Kahn Professor Emerita in Mathematics and History of Science and Technology at Smith College, Northampton, MA, and editor-in-chief of the international quarterly journal, The Mathematical Intelligencer.  She is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

Her latest books are "I Died for Beauty: Dorothy Wrinch and the Cultures of Science (OUP)," and "Shaping Space: Exploring Polyhedra in Nature, Art, and the Geometrical Imagination) (Springer)," both 2013.  Earlier books include "Crystalline Symmetries, Quasicrystals and Geometry," "Long Life to Your Children! A Portrait of High Albania (with Stan Sherer)," and "American Silk, 1830-1930" (with Jacqueline Field and Madelyn Shaw).

Walker picture
Invited speaker: Judy L. Walker, Aaron Douglas Professor, Chair of the Department of Mathematics, University of Nebraska--Lincoln

Title:  What color is my hat? And what does that have to do with my iPod?

Abstract: As each of three people enter a room, either a blue hat or a white hat (with the color chosen randomly and independently) is placed on his or her head. Each person can see the other hats but not their own. They can discuss strategy before they enter the room, but after they've entered no communication is allowed. Once they've looked at the other hats, the players must simultaneously guess their own hat colors or pass. The group shares a prize if at least one person guesses correctly and no one guesses incorrectly. The "obvious" strategy (one person guesses "Blue" no matter what and the other two pass) yields a 50% success rate. Is there a better strategy? What if there are more than three players? We will use the theory of error-correcting codes to find the optimal strategy for this game in many situations.

Biography: Judy Walker received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and both her master's degree and her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has been at the University of Nebraska Lincoln since 1996, and currently serves as Aaron Douglas Professor and Chair of the Department of Mathematics there. Her research is in algebraic coding theory and she is author of the book "Codes and Curves" published by the AMS as part of their Student Mathematical Library.  She spent much of the fall 2011 semester as a Visiting Professor at Centre Interfacultaire Bernoulli, EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Dr. Walker is a co-founder of the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics and has served as an elected member of the AWM Executive Committee and the AMS Council. She was the lecturer for the undergraduate portion of the IAS/PCMI Mentoring Program for Women in 1999 and was one of three lecturers at the 2007 Summer School in Coding Theory at the Sophus Lie Conference Center, Nordfjordeid, Norway. She has won several teaching awards, including the University of Nebraska's system wide Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award in 2014 and the MAA's Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award in 2006.  She served as the MAA's Polya Lecturer for 2009-2011.

Jennifer Slimowitz Pearl, Program Director in the Division of Mathematical Sciences at the National Science Foundation

Title: National Science Foundation:  Organization, Programs, and Tips

Abstract:  This presentation will give an overview of NSF, opportunities for faculty and students, and tips for writing strong proposals.  There will be plenty of time for discussion.

Biography:  Jennifer Slimowitz Pearl is a Program Director in the Division of Mathematical Sciences at the National Science Foundation.   She manages the DMS Infrastructure program and is active in NSF’s efforts to support the training of students and postdoctoral researchers in the mathematical sciences.  She recently completed an assignment in the Office of the Assistant Director in NSF’s Directorate of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, examining partnerships between NSF and non-profit funders of basic research in MPS disciplines. She was formerly a Program Director in NSF's Office of International Science and Engineering. Dr. Pearl has held positions at the National Academies and at Rice University. She was an AAAS/NSF Science and Technology Policy Fellow and was awarded a NSF/NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship to conduct research at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Dr. Pearl earned her Ph.D. in mathematics specializing in symplectic geometry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and her B.S. in mathematics from Duke University.

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