Michigan Undergraduate Mathematics Conference

On Saturday, February 16, over 150 students and faculty from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Nebraska, and West Virginia attended the fourth annual Michigan Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (MUMC) on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids. The conference was organized by a conference committee consisting of Randall Pruim (Calvin C, chair), John Clifford (UM–Dearborn), John Fink (Kalamazoo C), Sivaram Narayan (CMU), Jody Sorensen (GVSU), and Darin Stephenson (Hope C) with local arrangements made by Tom Scofield, Mark Hanisch and Randall Pruim.

The conference included approximately 35 15-minute presentations. Over half of these were given by undergraduate students about their research projects or other mathematical interests. The remaining presentations were given by representatives of graduate programs, REU sites, and industry. These presentations provided a forum to learn about opportunities for mathematics students. Several schools also had exhibit tables where students could pick up information or speak with representatives individually.

This year's keynote address was given by Frank Morgan (Williams C). Dr. Morgan spoke about the famous (now proven) “Double Bubble Conjecture” and the role undergraduates have played in the research into this and related questions about minimal surfaces. The day concluded with the second episode of “Who Wants to Be a Mathematician?” hosted by Randall Pruim and Will Dickinson (GVSU). Six students survived the fastest finger round and qualified for a chance to win mathematical prizes by correctly answering multiple choice questions. The final contestant, David Koop (Calvin C), answered all 11 questions correctly and took home the grand prize, a full professional edition of Maple 7. Prizes for the game show were contributed by Deloitte and Touche, Texas Instruments, Waterloo Maple, Wolfram Research, and World Scientific Publishing.

For a complete description of the conference schedule, pictures, a list of sponsors and exhibitors, and links to information about other undergraduate mathematics conferences, visit the conference Web page (http://www.calvin.edu/academic/math/mumc2002).

Plans for subsequent conferences are already underway. Next year’s conference is to be held on the campus of the UM–Dearborn. Initial discussion of sites for 2004 and 2005 are underway already as well. Any departments interested in hosting the conference in future years, or any individuals interested in serving on the conference committee should contact Randall Pruim, Section Student Activities Coordinator (rpruim@calvin.edu, 616-957-7113), or one of the conference committee members.

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