
Upcoming Dinner Meetings
Framingham State University, Framingham, Massachusetts
The Fifteenth Annual NES/MAA Dinner Meeting
in Memory of Kenneth J. Preskenis
Dr. Donna Beers, Simmons College
"Who is really in charge? Connecting Graph Theory to Social Network Analysis"
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Abstract: Have you ever wondered who is really in charge? Who is at the center of whatever is trending? Who influences policy decisions? Who motivates groups that bring about change?
Leaders, whether in business, government, or education, are interested in who is at the heart of all that is happening, whether those individuals be trendsetters, revolutionaries or superspreaders of a contagious disease.
In this talk, we provide a brief introduction to network analysis and to the graph theory tools and techniques for detecting the key actors within a social network. With these tools, we will show how to find out who was really in charge among the revolutionaries prior to the American Revolution as well as among the individuals behind 9/11. We will offer examples of projects where students may discover who is in charge by applying graph theory and computational tools to analyze social networks.
Bio: Dr. Beers is the 2015 winner of the NES/MAA Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching, the 2012 winner of the Toby Sloane Award for StudentCenteredness in Teaching at Simmons College, and the 2007 winner of The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Certificate for Meritorious Service. She is coauthor of the MAA Guidelines for Undertaking a SelfStudy in the Mathematical Sciences as well as the author of numerous articles in the areas of group theory and group algebras of infinite abelian groups, teacher education and preparation, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.
Schedule:
 6:00  7:30 p.m.  Dinner, Faculty/Staff Dining Room, 3rd Floor, D. Justin McCarthy Center
 7:30  8:30 p.m.  Dr. Beers's Presentation, Heineman Ecumenical and Cultural Center
 8:30  9:00 p.m.  Reception, Heineman Ecumenical and Cultural Center
Buffet Dinner: Assorted dinner rolls with margarine and butter; Tossed salad with Ranch dressing and Balsamic vinaigrette, Italian Marinated Chicken Breast, Pasta with Roasted Vegetables; Steamed Fresh Summer Squash and Zucchini with Fresh Garlic and Herbs; Chocolate Cake, Carrot Cake, Cheesecake with Strawberries; Water; Coffee, Decaf, and Hot Tea.
Reception: Assorted sweet treats with Coffee, Decaf, and Hot Tea.
Price: $23.25 per person
Make checks payable to: Framingham State University Mathematics Department.
More information and a downloadable registration form are available at the Preskenis Dinner website. More information about
Ken and the history of the Preskenis dinner is available here.
Deadline for dinner reservations: April 3, 2017
The Preskenis Lecture and Reception are free and open to all; reservations are not required for the Preskenis Lecture or Reception.
Contact: Sarah Mabrouk by email or by phone (5086264785).


College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts
The Twentyfourth Leonard C. Sulski Memorial Lecture and Dinner
Dr. Jordan Ellenberg, University of Wisconsin
"How to use math to get rich in the lottery*
*will not actually help you get rich in the lottery"
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Abstract: For seven years, a group of students from the MIT exploited a loophole in the Massachusetts State Lottery's Cash WinFall game to win drawing after drawing, eventually pocketing more than $3 million. How did they do it? How did the lottery finally catch up with them? And what does this all have to do with probability, geometry, and combinatorics?
About the speaker: Jordan Ellenberg is the John D. MacArthur Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University under the supervision of Professor Barry Mazur in 1998. He taught at Princeton University from 19982005, and has been at the University of Wisconsin since then. His research interests are arithmetic algebraic geometry and number theory.
Aside from numerous research articles in prestigious journals, Professor Ellenberg is the author of a general interest book about the mathematics of everyday life entitled, "How Not To Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking" (Penguin Press 2014). Professor Ellenberg was awarded the 2016 Euler Book Prize by the Mathematical Association of America for this book, which was on the New York Times best seller list for the period JuneAugust, 2014. His Sulski Lecture will be aimed at a general mathematical audience.
Photo by Mats Rudels

Schedule:
 4:00 p.m.  Refreshments, Smith Labs Atrium
 4:30 p.m.  Lecture, Smith Labs, Room 154
 6:00 p.m.  Appetizers and Cash Bar, Hogan Campus Center Suite B
 6:30 p.m.  Dinner, Hogan Campus Center Suite B
Choice of Entrees: Poached Salmon, Chicken Marsala or Vegetarian (Please indicate your choice when you send your check.)
Price: $15.00
Make checks payable to: College of the Holy Cross
Send registration to:
Professor Tom Cecil
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
College of the Holy Cross
Worcester, MA 016102395
email: tcecil@holycross.edu
phone: (508) 7932719
Deadline for registration: April 10, 2017

Past Dinner Meetings
2016
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College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts
The Twentythird Leonard C. Sulski Memorial Lecture and Dinner
Dr. Jeff Weeks
"The Shape of Space"
Monday, April 11, 2016
Abstract: When we look out on a clear night, the universe seems infinite. Yet this infinity might be an illusion. During the first half of the presentation, computer games will introduce the concept of a "multiconnected universe". Interactive 3D graphics will then take the viewer on a tour of several possible shapes for space. Finally, we'll see how satellite data provide tantalizing clues to the true shape of our universe. The only prerequisites for this talk are curiosity and imagination. The talk is for firstyear undergraduates on up, no mathematical background required.


Framingham State University, Framingham, Massachusetts
The Fourteenth Annual NES/MAA Dinner Meeting
in Memory of Kenneth J. Preskenis
Dr. Frank Morgan, Williams College
"The Isoperimetric Problem with Density"
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Abstract: The circle provides the leastperimeter way to enclose given area in the plane ("solves the isoperimetric problem"). How does the optimal shape change if you give the plane a weighting or density on both area and perimeter? One interesting example is a weighting proportional to r^{2}. There has been a huge surge of interest in weightings since their appearance in Perelman's proof of the Poincaré Conjecture. The talk will include open problems and work by undergraduates.
Bio: Dr. Morgan is the Webster Atwell '21 Professor of Mathematics and Chair of the Mathematics Department at Williams College, a 1993 winner of The Mathematical Association of America's Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics, and the 1992 winner of the Northeastern Section of the Mathematical Association of America (NES/MAA) Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching. He is the author of six books and numerous research articles.

2015
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College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts
The TwentySecond Leonard C. Sulski Lecture
Dr. Catherine Roberts, College of the Holy Cross
"Math for Planet Earth"
Thursday, April 16, 2015


Framingham State University, Framingham, Massachusetts
The Thirteenth Annual NES/MAA Dinner Meeting
in Memory of Kenneth J. Preskenis
Dr. James Brennan, University of Kentucky
"In Search of Infinity"
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Bio: James Brennan has a special connection to Ken as well as to Framingham State University. Jim and Ken were classmates at Boston College and, then, shared an apartment in Providence, Rhode Island while they were graduate students at Brown University. As Ken pursued his doctorate under the direction of Dr. Andrew Browder, Jim earned his Ph.D. under the direction of Dr. John Wermer. Sharon, Jim's wife, is a graduate of Framingham State University and an Associate Professor at University of Kentucky.
Dr. Brennan is the author for more than twenty publications. His recent doctoral students include Christopher Mattingly and Erin Militzer: Dr. Mattingly joined the faculty at Martin Methodist College in 2012, and Dr. Militzer joined the faculty at Ferris State University in 2014.
Abstract: "The infinite! No other question", declared David Hilbert, "has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man."
Without assuming any specialized knowledge of the audience, it is my goal to lay the foundation for a deeper understanding of Hilbert's remark by
engaging in a conversation around some of the paradoxes associated with the concept of infinity. The most famous are
perhaps Zeno's paradoxes of motion which are still being debated today. On the other hand, one of the works in the Aristotelian corpus,
known as Mechanica, contains a problem which attracted wide attention at an earlier time, but is now hardly mentioned. That is the problem of Aristotle's Wheel,
which is exemplified in something as ordinary as a common rolling pin. Nevertheless, more than two millennia after its inception, the problem surrounding the Wheel played a
central role in Galileo's greatest work, Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences, published in 1638. The occasion in the Dialogues prompting a discussion of the Wheel
is a question as important as the ultimate constitution of matter. After examining a few seemingly paradoxical ideas and noting their impact in the long history of thought,
I hope that by evening's end you can, with William Blake, begin
to see a World in a Grain of Sand
and a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the Palm of your Hand
and Eternity in an Hour.

2014
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College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts
The TwentyFirst Leonard C. Sulski Lecture
Dr. Joseph Silverman, Brown University
"Dynamical Systems from a Number Theorist's Perspective"
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Bio: Joseph Silverman received his Sc.B. from Brown University in 1977 and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1982 under the direction of John Tate. He then held positions at M.I.T. and Boston University before moving to Brown University in 1988, where he is currently a professor of mathematics. Professor Silverman works primarily in number theory, arithmetic geometry, arithmetic dynamics and cryptography. He has published more than 100 research articles and 8 books in these areas, and has supervised 27 PhD students. Two of his books on elliptic curves were awarded the Steele Prize by the AMS in 1998, and he recently received an NES/MAA Award for distinguished teaching.
Buckingham
Browne & Nichols School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Dinner Meeting jointly sponsored with
the Boston Chapter of the American Statistical Association
Dr. Neil Heffernan, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Mr. Eric Simoneau, Boston Latin School
"ASSISTments, Educational Software for Students of Mathematics and
Statistics."
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Abstract: ASSISTments is a free webbased
platform that helps students learn mathematics and statistics even as
it assesses their knowledge. It allows teachers to write individual
ASSISTments (composed of questions and associated hints, solutions,
webbased videos, etc.). The word ASSISTment blends tutoring
"assistance" to students with "assessment" reporting to teachers. It is
used by over 40,000 students a year in the United States. This talk
will explain how it has been used in K12 mathematics, but will
emphasize how it has been used to teach statistics to secondary school
students.
STATS4STEM is a collection of free statistics questions that can be
used to assess student learning, working with ASSISTments. These
questions are perfectly suited for an Introduction to Statistics or AP
Statistics Course. Each question from its library of questions can be
added or modified in any manner to create a problem set to meet your
specific needs. Students get instant feedback as they progress through
their assigned problems, including hints on how to solve the problem if
needed. Teachers get a dashboard to monitor student progress.
STATS4STEM is also a webinterface, called Rweb, for the statistics
package called R, so that students can analyze realworld data. The
presenters will explain how they have designed experiments to show the
effectiveness of both ASSISTments and STATS4STEM.
Bio: Neil
Heffernan (left) enjoys doing educational data mining and running the
ASSISTments system. ASSISTments helps schools teach better. It's a web
service hosted at WPI that allows teachers to assign nightly homework
or daily class work. Students get instant feedback while teachers get
live reports. Professor Heffernan enjoys supervising WPI students in
creating ASSISTments content and features. Several student projects
have resulted in peerreviewed publications looking at comparing
different ways to optimize student learning.
Professor Heffernan also codirects the Learning Science and
Technologies Graduate Program. He is always interested in working with
new students in solving these problems, and says ASSISTments has been
created by WPI students for the world. Professor Heffernan's goal is to
give ASSISTments to millions across the US and internationally as a
free service of WPI.
Eric Simoneau (right) is a Master and statistics teacher at Boston
Latin School and the former principal
investigator for the STATS4STEM project. He runs a national AP
Statistics review with 2000+ students participating using ASSISTments.
Framingham State University, Framingham, Massachusetts
The Twelfth Annual NES/MAA Dinner Meeting
in Memory of Kenneth J. Preskenis
Dr. Richard J. Cleary, Babson College
"Moving to Big Data: The Changing Practice of Statistics in the Analytics Era"
Monday, April 28, 2014
Abstract: The methods taught in a traditional first course in statistics were largely developed over the past 150 years to handle data produced through scientific experiments or surveys. This sort of data is expensive to produce, and the techniques used try to take advantage of every observation. While traditional statistical methods remain valuable and important, the era of 'big data' has arrived, in which huge numbers of observations and variables can be stored efficiently at low cost. This has created opportunities for mathematicians and statisticians to take new approaches. In this talk we highlight some of the themes that are common to these newer approaches, and we compare them to traditional methods.
Bio: Dr. Rick Cleary is a statistician and mathematician with research and consulting interests in a variety of fields including sports, biomechanics, and market research. Most recently he has worked with colleagues and practitioners on statistical approaches to fraud detection and audit risk. Prior
to coming to Babson College in 2013, Dr. Cleary has taught at Saint Michael's College in Vermont, Cornell University, Bentley University, and Harvard University. He has been very active in the Mathematical Association of America, serving six years as Associate Treasurer and Budget Committee Chair. He is currently Chair of the Joint Data Committee, a body that tracks trends in the profession for several mathematical and statistical societies. Dr. Cleary
is also the 2010 winner of the NES/MAA Howard Eves Award, given to a spellbinding and entertaining teacher who has made outstanding contributions to the NES/MAA.

2013
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Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts
William Dunham, Muhlenburg College
"An Evening with Euler"
Monday, April 1, 2013
Abstract: Among the greatest of mathematicians is Leonhard Euler (17071783), whose insight, industry, and ingenuity are unsurpassed in the long history of mathematics. In this talk, we sketch Euler's life, describe the quantity and quality of his mathematical output, and discuss a few of his more spectacular discoveries. We conclude with a look at a specific theorem: his solution of "the Basel Problem" from 1734. This talk should give a sense of why Euler is aptly known as "the Master of Us All."
NOTE: A familiarity with calculus is all that is necessary to follow along.
Bio: William Dunham, who received his B.S. (1969) from the University of Pittsburgh and his M.S. (1970) and Ph.D.(1974) from Ohio State, is the Truman Koehler Professor of Mathematics at Muhlenberg College.
Over the years, Dunham has directed NEH seminars on math history at Ohio State and has spoken on historical topics at the Smithsonian Institution, on NPR's "Talk of the Nation: Science Friday," and at the Swiss Embassy in Washington, DC. On two occasions he has been a Visiting Professor at Harvard, teaching a class on the mathematics of Leonhard Euler.
In the 1990s, Dunham wrote three books  Journey Through Genius (Wiley, 1990), The Mathematical Universe (Wiley, 1994), and Euler: The Master of Us All (MAA, 1999)  and in the present century he has done two more  The Calculus Gallery: Masterpieces from Newton to Lebesgue (Princeton, 2005) and The Genius of Euler: Reflections on His Life and Work (MAA, 2007). In 2010 he recorded a 24lecture DVD series for "The Great Courses" on the history of mathematics.
Dunham's expository writing has been recognized by the MAA with the George Pólya Award in 1993, the Trevor Evans Award in 1997 and 2008, the Lester R. Ford Award in 2006, and the Beckenbach Prize in 2008. The Association of American Publishers designated The Mathematical Universe as the Best Mathematics Book of 1994.
College
of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts
The Twentieth Leonard C. Sulski Lecture
Professor Nancy R. Cook (HC Class of 1976), Harvard Medical School
"Statistics in Medicine:
Risk prediction models for cardiovascular disease in women"
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Abstract:
Models for risk prediction are widely used in medical practice to risk
stratify and assign treatment strategies to patients. Whether novel
risk markers can truly add to
established prediction models is an ongoing question in many fields.
Models are typically
compared using measures of discrimination and calibration, but
conventional methods have
limitations. Here I describe the development of a risk score for
cardiovascular disease
in women, compare it to existing algorithms, and address its clinical
utility using novel
methods related to risk reclassification.
Bio: Nancy Romanowicz Cook, Sc.D., is a
biostatistician and Professor in the Department of Medicine at the
Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and
Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. She
graduated from Holy Cross in 1976, and she was a member of the first
full class of women at the College. Her lecture is part of the
College's celebration of 40 years of coeducation this year.
Professor Cook is involved in the design, conduct, and analysis of
several large randomized trials, including the Women's Health Study,
the Physicians' Health Study, and the VITamin D and OmegA3 TriaL
(VITAL). She is also interested in modeling observational data for
developing risk prediction scores using clinical and genetic
biomarkers. She has helped develop the Reynolds Risk Score for
cardiovascular disease as well as improved methodology for comparing
and evaluating risk prediction models. Her Sulski Lecture will be aimed
at a general mathematical audience.
Framingham State University,
Framingham, Massachusetts
The Eleventh Annual NES/MAA Dinner Meeting
in Memory of Kenneth J. Preskenis
Dr. David L. Abrahamson, Rhode Island College
"Forgeries, Fraud, Forensics ... and Differential Equations"
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Abstract:
In postwar Europe, a mad con man finds himself on trial  perhaps for his life. Did he collaborate with the Nazis? How many millions did he scam from unsuspecting marks? The answers remain shrouded in mystery for decades. The case of the Van Meegeren art forgeries was finally solved by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University using the mathematics of radioactive decay.
Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts
Meredith Greer, Bates College
"Collaboration, Cyanobacteria, and Compartmental Modeling"
Monday, October 28, 2013
Abstract: What happens when biologists and environmental scientists work with mathematicians? Or when professors, graduate students, undergraduates, and citizen scientists band together? Lots of things! We explain lake ecology and mathematical modeling to each other. We ask, and seek to answer, questions about changes in the lake water and the species that reside therein. Mathematicians join in for field work and scientists explain their thinking with equations and computer simulations. Students and faculty design inlake experiments to test hypotheses generated by math models. We share ideas, laughs, and ice cream. At this presentation, you can join in the fun, learning about one such collaboration and some of the ways that science inspires mathematics and mathematics inspires science.
Bio: Meredith Greer joined the Bates Mathematics Department in 2002 and currently serves as its chair. Her research in mathematical biology focuses on topics in epidemiology and ecology. Projects include dynamics of the 2009 H1N1 outbreak at Bates and effects of Gloeotrichia echinulata on lake eutrophication. She has continued to be energized by both the everunexpected paths of crossdisciplinary collaboration and the 2013 theme year on Mathematics of Planet Earth.

2012
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College
of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts
The Nineteenth Leonard C. Sulski Memorial Lecture
Davide Cerone, Union College
"The Hypercube & Hypersphere:
Breaking Them Down and Building Them Up"
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Abstract:
A sphere in threedimensional space can be broken into two congruent
connected pieces in essentially only one way (two hemispheres).
In four dimensions, the object that corresponds to the sphere can also
be broken into two hemispheres; but can it be formed from two congruent
connected pieces in any other way? In this talk, we investigate
this question through an analysis of the fourdimensional cube, and use
that to develop an interesting decomposition of the fourdimensional
sphere that has no analog in three dimensions. Along the way, we
learn some techniques for visualizing objects in four dimensions, and
view computer images of objects from the fourth dimension. No
prior experience with four dimensions is required.
Framingham
State College, Framingham, Massachusetts
The Tenth Annual Kenneth J. Preskenis Dinner Meeting
Colin Adams and Thomas Garrity, Williams College
"The Great π/e Debate"
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Abstract:
We settle once and for all the burning question that has plagued
humankind from time immemorial: "Which is the better number, e or pi?"
In what is arguably (it is a losing argument, but it is an argument
nonetheless) the most important debate of the millennium, Adams and
Garrity use any means within their powers, legal or otherwise, to prove
their points. Our debaters challenge orthodoxy, speak loudly and behave
rather badly in their attempts to convince the audience of the
absolutely ridiculous nature of their competitors’ arguments. This
event may have the historical significance of the Edict of Nantes, the
Yalta conference, or the KennedyNixon debates. Or perhaps not. But
just in case, you don't want to miss it.
Saint
Michael's College, Colchester, Vermont
Dr. Michael Dorff, Brigham Young University
"Filling Courses and Recruiting Math Majors"
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Abstract: During the past seven years the BYU Department of Mathematics has had an 89% increase in the number of math majors resulting in several new faculty positions and additional funding for the department. I will discuss the general principles and some specific activities that we have used to increase the number of students taking mathematics courses and becoming math majors. This will include a discussion of our fall semester ``Careers in Mathematics'' speaker series that is a set of 57 45minute presentations by speakers who use mathematics in a nonteaching career and that has an average attendance of 100 students for each presentation. Also, I will discuss our summer internship program for math majors, our freshman/sophomore class titled ``Intro to being a math major,'' the creation of a student advisory council, a big screen HDTV display with a PowerPoint presentation about mathematics, a set of math tshirts, and the ``When Will I Use Math'' website that has had over 285,000 hits and over 1.1 million page views since its creation in 2009. This workshop will be based on the 4hour MAA minicourse that I gave at the 2010 and 2011 MathFest meetings.
Bio: Michael Dorff is a professor of mathematics at Brigham Young University. He has received several department, university, and national teaching awards including a MAA's Haimo Teaching Award in 2010. In addition, he has received an MAA sectional and a college service award. He is the founder and codirector of the NSFfunded BYU summer mathematics REU. In addition, he is the founder and director of the NSFfunded Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics (CURM) through which he organizes and presents a 3day summer workshop on undergraduate research in mathematics. He is married with 5 daughters. His interests include reading (Dostoyevsky and Dickens through Stegner and Saramago), traveling (invite him to visit you!), running (even at 3 am on the streets in Utah), music (classical, Norah Jones), and soccer.

2011
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College
of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts
The Eighteenth Leonard C. Sulski Memorial Lecture
Carolyn Gordon, Dartmouth College
"You Can't Hear the Shape of a Drum"
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Abstract: In
spectroscopy, one attempts to recover the shape or chemical
composition of an object from the characteristic frequencies of sound
or light
emitted. Mark Kac's question "Can one hear the shape of a drum?"
asks whether two membranes (drumheads) which vibrate at the same
characteristic frequencies must have the same shape. We answer
Kac's question negatively by constructing a pair of exotic shaped
soundalike drums. We also listen to a computer simulation,
produced by Dennis DeTurck, of the sounds of these exotic drums.
Framingham
State College, Framingham, Massachusetts
The Ninth Annual Kenneth J. Preskenis Dinner Meeting
David Abrahamson, Rhode Island College
"A Mathematical Model for a Zombie Outbreak,
or A Short Corpse in Differential Equations"
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Abstract:
In 2009, scientists at the University of Ottawa used modern
epidemiological models to study what might happen should a horrormovie
outbreak of zombieism actually occur. The notions of mathematical
modeling and differential equations will be outlined for a general
audience, with special attention paid to the results of the modeling of
the rise of the living dead. There's good news: we can survive!
Simmons
College, Boston, Massachusetts
Robert L. Devaney, Boston University
"Chaos Games and Fractal Movies"
Monday, October 24, 2011
Abstract:
In this lecture we will describe some of the beautiful images that
arise from the "Chaos Game." We will show how the simple steps of
this game produce, when iterated millions of times, the intricate
images known as fractals. We will describe some of the applications of
this technique used in data compression as well as in Hollywood. We
will also challenge students present to "Beat the Professor" at the
chaos game and maybe win his computer.
Biography:
Professor Robert L. Devaney is currently Professor of Mathematics at
Boston University and the PresidentElect of the MAA. He served as
Chairman of the Department of Mathematics from 1983 to 1986 and is a
member of the Dynamical Systems group at Boston University. He taught
at Northwestern University, Tufts University, and the University of
Maryland before coming to Boston University in 1980.
He received his BA from Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA in 1969 and
his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in 1973 under the
direction of Stephen Smale. His main area of research is dynamical
systems, primarily complex analytic dynamics, but also including
Hamiltonian systems, planar mappings, and computer experiments in
dynamics. Lately, he has become intrigued with the incredibly rich
topological aspects of dynamics, including such things as
indecomposable continua and Cantor bouquets.
Professor Devaney is the author of over one hundred research papers in
the field of dynamical systems as well as a dozen pedagogical papers in
this field. He is also the (co)author or editor of fourteen books in
this area of mathematics. He has delivered over 1,500 invited
lectures on dynamical systems and related topics in all 50 states in
the US and in over 30 countries on six continents worldwide. In 2007,
he was the mathematical consultant for the Kevin Spacey movie called
Twenty One.
Prof. Devaney has received several awards for his innovative teaching
and use of technology, including the Award for Distinguished University
Teaching from the Northeastern section of the Mathematical Association
of America, the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for
Distinguished University Teaching and the ICTCM Award for Excellence
and Innovation with the Use of Technology in Collegiate
Mathematics.
Since 1989 he has been director of the National Science Foundation's
Dynamical Systems and Technology Project. The goal of this project is
to show students and teachers how ideas from modern mathematics such as
chaos, fractals, and dynamics, together with modern technology, can be
used effectively in the high school and college curriculum.

2010
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College
of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts
The Seventeenth Leonard C. Sulski Memorial Lecture
Paul A. Schweitzer, S. J.,
Pontificia Universidade Catolica, Rio de Janeiro
"Surfaces and 3dimensional Manifolds:
How Geometry Comes to the Aid of Topology"
Monday, April 12, 2010
Abstract:
The talk will
begin with a short outline of the classification of closed surfaces,
their Euler characteristic and curvature of metrics, and how the metric
can flow to a constant curvature metric. We next talk about
3manifolds, their geometries and Thurston's geometrization conjecture.
Finally, we consider the idea of Perelman's proof of the geometrization
conjecture, with a flow making the geometry as homogeneous as possible,
distributing the curvature equally. The mathematical details are
lengthy and difficult, so we shall emphasize the intuitive ideas with
pictures, rather than giving proofs.
Framingham
State College, Framingham, Massachusetts
The Eighth Annual Kenneth J. Preskenis Dinner Meeting
Annalisa Crannell, Franklin & Marshall College
"Math & Art: The Good, the Bad, and the Pretty"
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Abstract:
Dust off those old similar triangles, and get ready to put them to new
use in looking at art! We're going to explore the mathematics
behind perspective paintingsa mathematics that starts off with
simple rules, and yet that leads into really lovely, really tricky
mathematical puzzles. Why do artists use vanishing points?
What's the difference between 1point and 3point perspective?
Why do your vacation pictures not look as good as the mountains you
photographed? We'll look at all of these questions, and more.
Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts
Thomas Banchoff, Brown University
"Guides to the Fourth Dimension:
Edwin Abbott Abbott, Madeleine L'Engle, and Salvador Dali"
Abstract:
For centuries, visualizing the fourth dimension of space has challenged
not only mathematicians and scientists but also writers, philosophers,
and artists like Edwin Abbott Abbott ("Flatland"), Madeleine L'Engle'
("A Wrinkle in Time") and Salvador Dali ("Corpus Hypercubicus"). How
did these three make use of fourdimensional geometric metaphors in
their work? How can we get new insights from them as we use modern
computer graphics and the Internet in new explorations of phenomena in
the fourth dimension?
Biography: Dr.
Thomas Banchoff is a geometer and professor at Brown University. He
received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in 1960 and his
Ph.D. in 1964 from the University of California at Berkeley under the
direction of ShiingShen Chern. He was a Benjamin Peirce Instructor at
Harvard from 1964  1966 and a Fulbright postdoctorate fellow at the
University of Amsterdam 1966 1967 before his appointment to the
faculty at Brown University in 1967.
Dr. Banchoff's numerous awards for teaching include the 1995 NES/MAA
Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics,
the 1996 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished
College or University of Mathematics, and the 1998 Rhode Island
Professor of the Year from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement
of Teaching. Dr. Banchoff received the 2004 Director’s Award for
Distinguished Scholars from the National Science Foundation – he was
one of eight to receive this award, the NSF’s highest honor for
excellence in teaching and research.
Known for his pioneering research on the geometry of the fourth and
higher dimensions, Dr. Banchoff is the author of more than eighty
research articles and three books, Beyond the Third Dimension, Linear
Algebra Through Geometry, and Cusps of Gauss Mappings, as well as a new
introduction to Flatland. His 1978 film, "The Hypercube," won the Prix
de la Recherche Fondamentale at the Brussels Festival of Scientific and
Technical Films. He is the founding editor of the electronic journal
Communications in Visual Mathematics and past President of the
Mathematical Association of America.

2009
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College
of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts
The Sixteenth Leonard C. Sulski Memorial Lecture
Paul A. Schweitzer, S. J.,
Pontificia Universidade Catolica, Rio de Janeiro
"Surfaces and 3dimensional Manifolds:
How Geometry Comes to the Aid of Topology"
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Abstract:
The talk will begin with a short outline of the classification of
closed surfaces, their Euler characteristic and curvature of metrics,
and how the metric can flow to a constant curvature metric. We next
talk about 3manifolds, their geometries and Thurston's geometrization
conjecture. Finally, we consider the idea of Perelman's proof of the
geometrization conjecture, with a flow making the geometry as
homogeneous as possible, distributing the curvature equally. The
mathematical details are lengthy and difficult, so we shall emphasize
the intuitive ideas with pictures, rather than giving proofs.
Framingham
State College, Framingham, Massachusetts
The Seventh Annual Kenneth J. Preskenis Dinner Meeting
Harrison "Chuck" Straley, Wheaton College
"Isaac Newton; A Dramatic Lecture"
Monday, April 6, 2009
Abstract:
Isaac Newton is, perhaps, the greatest intellect and the most important
person of the millennium. He was born while England convulsed in
revolution, as Cromwell defeated the armies of King Charles I and The
Treaty of Westphalia ended Europe’s Thirty Years War. Newton lived
shortly after Fermat, Galileo, Kepler and others had made significant
discoveries in mathematics and science. He built upon their work. Isaac
Newton appears in period costume to discuss his difficult childhood and
turbulent life. This dramatic lecture, accompanied by slides, is
designed to stimulate interest in mathematics and science through drama
and mathematics/science history.

2008
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Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont
Thomas Garrity,
Williams College
"Using Mathematical
Maturity to Shape Our Courses, Our Curriculums and Our Careers"
April 15, 2008
Abstract:
For the last few years, I've been in charge of mentoring new Williams
faculty, from all departments. I've been surprised to learn that no
other discipline that I know of has a term analogous to our
"mathematical maturity." This talk will discuss how we can build on the
rhetoric of mathematical maturity to shape not only our teaching and
research careers but also the workings of our departments.
College of the Holy Cross, Worcester,
Massachusetts
The Fifteenth
Leonard C. Sulski Memorial Lecture
Donal B. O'Shea,
Mount Holyoke College
"The Shape We're In:
The Poincare Conjecture"
April 22, 2008
Framingham State College, Framingham,
Massachusetts
The Sixth Annual
Kenneth J. Preskenis Dinner Meeting
Lisa Hansen, Western
New England College
"Eine Kleine
Mathemusik"
May 8, 2008
Abstract:
There are a wide variety of connections between mathematics and music,
ranging from simple and obvious to quite abstract. In this talk, we
will explore a variety of these connections as varied as probability,
permutations, group theory and graph theory. We will focus on the art
of change bell ringing and musical dice games such as Mozart’s
Musikalisches Würfelspiel. The talk will feature both live and recorded
music as well as many opportunities for audience participation.
Simmons College , Boston, Massachusetts
Christopher M.
Danforth, University of Vermont
"Chaos and the
Mathematics of Prediction:
Hurricane Katrina,
Harry Potter, and Happiness"
October 27, 2008
Abstract: For centuries, scientists have developed increasingly
sophisticated mathematical models in an attempt to uncover the rules by
which the physical world evolves. Their ultimate goal is not only to
understand the nature of the systems they observe, but to predict how
they will behave in the future. The modern computer has enabled vast
improvements in many of the predictions made using mathematical models,
and the internet has broadened their scope to include social behavior.
In this talk, we discuss the mathematics and implications underlying
prediction of the path of Hurricane Katrina, the next big entertainment
hit, and emotional well being in the instant messaging era. We will
also report on several striking observations regarding the relationship
between author demographics (e.g. age, location) and the emotional
content of millions of weblogs, as well as the relationship between
musical genre and the emotional impact of song lyrics authored by
hundreds of thousands of artists.
Biography:
Christopher M. Danforth
Assistant Professor, Department of
Mathematics and Statistics, University of Vermont
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary
Center, University of Maryland
Visiting Faculty Fellow, Vermont Advanced Computing Center
Dr. Danforth earned a B.S. with honors in Mathematics and Physics from
Bates College in 2001. In 2006, he received a Ph.D. in Applied
Mathematics and Scientific Computation from the University of Maryland,
College Park, where he worked with James Yorke and Eugenia Kalnay of
the Chaos group. He is currently on the faculty of the College of
Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Vermont,
where his work is on modeling and predictability of a variety of
biological, social, and physical systems. Descriptions of his work are
available at his website: http://www.uvm.edu/~cdanfort/

2007
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Simmons
College, Boston, Massachusetts
Robert L. Devaney, Boston University
"Chaos Games and Fractal Images"
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Abstract: In
this lecture we will describe some of the beautiful images that arise
from the "Chaos Game." We will show how the simple steps of this game
produce, when iterated millions of times, the intricate images known as
fractals. We will describe some of the applications of this technique
used
in data compression as well as in Hollywood. We will also challenge
students present to "Beat the Professor" at the chaos game and maybe
win his computer.
College
of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts
The Fourteenth Leonard C. Sulski Memorial Lecture and Dinner
Richard P. Stanley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"Plane Tilings"
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Framingham State College, Framingham,
Massachusetts
The Fifth Annual
Kenneth J. Preskenis Dinner Meeting
Colin Adams,
Williams College
"Blown Away: What
Knot to Do When Sailing 
By Sir Randolph
Bacon III, cousininlaw to Colin Adams"
Wednesday, May 2,
2007
Abstract:
Being a tale of adventure on the high seas involving great risk to the
tale teller, and how an understanding of the mathematical theory of
knots saved his bacon. No nautical or mathematical background assumed.

2006
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College
of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts
The Thirteenth Leonard C. Sulski Memorial Lecture
Michele Intermont, Kalamazoo College
"The Sound of Algebra"
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Abstract:
This talk will introduce bell ringing (English change ringing to be
more precise) as an application of algebra. We'll talk about  and
hear!  some bell ringing. Then we'll describe a problem faced by those
who compose bell ringing for which algebra has the solution.
Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts
Jason Molitierno,
Sacred Heart University
"Did Christopher
Columbus Really Prove that the World is Round?"
Tuesday, April 11,
2006
Abstract:
Everyone knows the story that Christopher Columbus attempted to prove
the earth was round by starting in Spain and sailing around the earth
in order to get back to where he started. But if he did that, would
that have been sufficient to prove that the earth is round? After all,
you can do the same sort of thing on the surface of a torus (the
mathematical word for doughnut). In this talk, we discuss ways that
maps can be drawn and how different states can border each other.
Together, with the audience, we will find maps that can occur on a
torus, but not on a sphere. This will show that even if Christopher
Columbus did make it back to Spain, he still would not have proved the
earth to be round. Rather, he would have only proved that the earth is
not flat.
Framingham
State College, Framingham, Massachusetts
The Fourth Annual NES/MAA Regional Dinner Meeting in Memory of Kenneth
J. Preskenis
Dr. Edward Burger, Williams College
"How to Always Win at Limbo OR You can sum some of the series some of
the time, and some of the series none of the time... but can you sum
some of the series ALL of the time?"
May 4, 2006
A dedicated teacher committed to excellence, a serious scholar, a
popular son of South Boston, and a gentleman – Ken Preskenis died on
Thanksgiving Day, 2002. Ken Preskenis had a passion for mathematics and
for sharing that love with others, especially, youngsters. A relentless
pursuer of knowledge, he was a regular participant at the weekly
seminars in functional analysis at Brown University where he earned his
M.S. in 1967 and his Ph.D. in 1971. He joined the faculty at Framingham
State College in 1977 after teaching at Newton College and then at
Boston College for a total of 14 years. Ken was the author of a number
of articles in analysis and mathematics education, a regular attendee
and contributor at MAA/NES meetings, a South Boston Athletic Hall of
Famer, and a recipient of the Michael E. Glynn South Boston Community
Service Award.
Please join us as we honor the memory of our dear friend and colleague
Kenneth J. Preskenis.
Abstract:
Have you ever gone out with someone for a while and asked yourself:
"How close are we?" This presentation will answer that question by
answering: What does it mean for two things to be close to one another?
We'll take a strange look at infinite series, dare to mention a
calculus
student's fantasy, and momentarily consider transcendental meditation.
In fact, we'll even attempt to build some very exotic series that can
be used if you ever have to flee the country in a hurry: we'll either
succeed or fail... you'll have to attend to find out. Will you be at
the edge of your seats? Perhaps; but if not, then you'll probably fall
asleep and either way, after the talk, you'll feel refreshed. No matter
what, you'll learn a sneaky way to always win at Limbo.
This presentation is open to all math fansyoung and old alike. A
familiarity with infinite series is helpful. If you've ever heard of
the words "triangle inequality", then this is the talk for you!

2005
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College of the Holy Cross, Worcester,
Massachusetts
The Twelfth Leonard
C. Sulski Memorial Lecture
Frank Morgan,
Williams College
"Soap Bubble
Geometry, 200 BC  2005 AD"
Thursday, April 7,
2005
Abstract:
Soap bubbles as optimal shapes have fascinated and confounded
mathematicians for millennia. The show will include the latest news,
questions, explanations, demonstrations, and prizes.
Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts
David Mazur, Western
New England College
"A User's Guide to
the P vs. NP Problem"
Tuesday, April 12,
2005
Abstract: Of
the seven, milliondollar Millennium Prize Problems offered by the Clay
Mathematics Institute, the P vs. NP Problem is perhaps the best known
in pop culture; just watch "The Simpsons" or "Numb3rs". In this talk,
we'll go beyond just an acquaintance with the problem's name to
understand what P and NP mean. We'll look at the difference between
"easy" and "hard" problems. We'll even talk about your options if the
problem you're working on is found to be (gasp!) NPhard. The emphasis
will be on how everyone can use the theory, rather than on how the
theory is built.
Providence College, Providence, Rhode Island
James Tattersall,
Providence College
"Nyctaginaceous
Mathematics, Pontifical Geometry, and Barbeau Triangles"
Thursday, April 21,
2005
Abstract: We
discuss the geometry of Gerbert the Great, a tenth century
educator; the achievements and adventures of Louis Antoine de
Bougainville, mathematician, explorer, and student of D'Alembert; and
end with recent extensions of the work of the second century (A.D.)
mathematician, Nicomachus of Gerasa.
Jim Tattersall received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from
the University of Virginia in 1963, a Master's degree in mathematics
from the University of Massachusetts in 1965, and a Ph.D. degree in
mathematics from the University of Oklahoma in 1971. On a number of
occasions he has been a visiting scholar at the Department of Pure
Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at Cambridge University. He
spent the summer of 1991 as a visiting mathematician at the American
Mathematical Society. In 19951996, he spent eighteen months as a
visiting professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was
given awards for distinguished service (1992) and distinguished college
teaching (1997) by the Northeastern Section of the MAA. In 2001, he was
a Visiting Mathematician at Santa Clara University and California State
University at San Bernardino. He is former President of the Canadian
Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics, the
Archivist/Historian of NES/MAA, and the Associate Secretary of the
Mathematical Association of America.
Framingham
State College, Framingham, MA
The Third Annual NES/MAA Regional Dinner Meeting in Memory of Kenneth
J. Preskenis
Dr. Robert L. Devaney, Boston University
"Chaos Games and Fractal Images"
Thursday, April 28, 2005
A dedicated teacher committed to excellence, a serious scholar, a
popular son of South Boston, and a gentleman – Ken Preskenis died on
Thanksgiving Day, 2002. Ken Preskenis had a passion for mathematics and
for sharing that love with others, especially, youngsters. A relentless
pursuer of knowledge, he was a regular participant at the weekly
seminars in functional analysis at Brown University where he earned his
M.S. in 1967 and his Ph.D. in 1971. He joined the faculty at Framingham
State College in 1977 after teaching at Newton College and then at
Boston College for a total of 14 years. Ken was the author of a number
of articles in analysis and mathematics education, a regular attendee
and contributor at MAA/NES meetings, a South Boston Athletic Hall of
Famer, and a recipient of the Michael E. Glynn South Boston Community
Service Award.
Please join us as we honor the memory of our dear friend and colleague
Kenneth J. Preskenis.
Abstract: In
this lecture, we will describe some of the beautiful images that arise
from the "Chaos Game." We will show how the simple steps of this game
produce, when iterated millions of times, the intricate images known as
fractals. We will describe some of the applications of this technique
used in data compression as well as in Hollywood. We will also
challenge students present to "Beat the Professor" at the chaos game
and maybe win his computer.

2004
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College
of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts
The Eleventh Leonard C. Sulski Memorial Lecture
Frank Farris, Santa Clara University
"The Edge of the Universe: Noneuclidean Wallpaper"
Monday, March 22, 2004
Abstract: If
the universe had an edge, you could go there, put your hand through and
find something on the other side, right? This reasoning breaks down if
you and your measuring devices shrink as you approach the edge, making
it infinitely far away. In this talk, we show a mathematical model of
such a universe, called the Poincare Upper Halfplane, and study its
features. Physics suggests that this turns out to be a cold and lonely
place, but we make beautiful wallpaper for the inhabitants. This is a
good chance to think about the shape of space and apply some classic
geometry, such as circle inversion.
Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts
Lisa Hansen, Western
New England College
"Mathematics and
Music"
Tuesday, April 13,
2004
Abstract:
There are many connections between mathematics and music. This survey
will focus on the links between music and areas of mathematics such as
rational and irrational numbers, trigonometry, geometry, permutations,
and group theory. Other connections include the Fibonacci sequence, the
golden mean, fractals, and continued fractions, as well as historical
notes regarding famous mathematicians. The talk will feature both live
and recorded music.
Providence
College, Providence, Rhode Island
Ann Trenk, Wellesley College
"Professors who Snooze and those who Steal:
An Introduction to Interval Graphs and Tolerance Graphs"
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Abstract: We
introduce a class of graphs known as interval graphs via two ``real
world'' problems. In one of these problems, six professors are suspects
in a library theft. We'll use their testimony together with some graph
theory to identify the guilty party. Formally, a graph G is an interval
graph if to each vertex x of G there corresponds a real interval
I(x)
so that two vertices are joined by an edge in G if and only if their
corresponding intervals intersect. We present a characterization of the
class of interval graphs, mention several realistic applications and
discuss a generalization of interval graphs known as tolerance graphs.
No prior knowledge of Graph Theory will be expected.
Framingham State College, Framingham, MA
The Second Annual
NES/MAA Regional Dinner Meeting in Memory of Kenneth J. Preskenis
Dr. Thomas Koshy,
Framingham State College
"The Ubiquitous
Catalan Numbers"
Thursday, April 22,
2004
This dinner meeting honors the memory of Kenneth J. Preskenis, who died
on Thanksgiving Day 2002. Ken was a dedicated teacher committed to
excellence, a serious scholar, a popular son of South Boston, and a
gentleman. He had a passion for mathematics and for sharing that love
with others, especially youngsters. A relentless pursuer of knowledge,
he was a regular participant at the weekly seminars in functional
analysis at Brown University, where he earned his M.S. in 1967 and his
Ph.D. in 1971. He joined the faculty at Framingham State College in
1977, after teaching at Newton College and then at Boston College for a
total of 14 years. Ken was the author of a number of articles in
analysis and mathematics education, a regular attendee and contributor
at NES/MAA meetings, a South Boston Athletic Hall of Famer, and a
recipient of the Michael E. Glynn South Boston Community Service Award.
Abstract:
This talk touches on the history and the numerous occurrences of
Catalan Numbers, and their various applications to computer science,
graph theory, and combinatorics.

2003
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College
of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts
The Tenth Leonard C. Sulski Memorial Lecture
Kathleen Shannon, Salisbury University
"Pascal's Triangle, Cellular Automata and Serendipity: A Mathematical
Tale"
Wednesday, April 2, 2003
Abstract:
The talk will outline the development of the PascGalois Project. Its
origins are in an exercise using Pascal's Triangle and modular
arithmetic. Colors are assigned to the numbers 0,1,...,n1, and
Pascal's Triangle modulo n is drawn. The patterns in the triangle are
then related to the properties of the cyclic group Z_n. The process of
drawing the triangles is then generalized to noncyclic and nonabelian
groups and the new patterns are examined in light of the properties of
these groups. The images can help develop visual and intuitive
understanding of concepts such as subgroup closure and quotient groups.
Finally we view Pascal's Triangle as a onedimensional cellular
automata and generalize to more general initial conditions and two
dimensional automata. Many of the investigations in this project have
been undertaken with students in undergraduate research projects and
one outgrowth of the project has been the development of a set of
visualization exercises to supplement the standard undergraduate course
in abstract algebra. The PascGalois Project is supported by the
National Science Foundation and by the Richard A. Henson endowment for
the School of Science at Salisbury University.
Framingham
State College, Framingham, MA
NES/MAA Regional Dinner Meeting in Memory of Kenneth J. Preskenis
Speakers:
Dr. Andrew Browder, Brown University
and
Dr. John Wermer, Brown University
Thursday, April 17, 2003
Kenneth J.
Preskenis:
A dedicated teacher committed to excellence, a serious scholar, a
popular son of South Boston, and a gentleman Ken Preskenis died on
Thanksgiving Day, 2002. Ken had a passion for mathematics and for
sharing that love with others, especially youngsters. A relentless
pursuer of knowledge, he was a regular participant at the weekly
seminars in functional analysis at Brown University where he earned his
M.S. in 1967 and his Ph.D. in 1971. He joined the faculty at Framingham
State College in 1977 after teaching at Newton College and then at
Boston College for a total of 14 years. Ken was the author of a number
of articles in analysis and mathematics education, a regular attendee
and contributor at MAA/NES meetings, a South Boston Athletic Hall of
Famer, and a recipient of the Michael E. Glynn South Boston Community
Service Award.
Please join us as we honor the memory of our dear friend and colleague
Kenneth J. Preskenis.
Providence
College, Providence, Rhode Island
Dr. Bruce Burdick, Roger Williams University
"Mathematicians Square Off
Latin American Voices in the Worldwide Comet Debate of the 1680's"
Thursday, April 24, 2003
Abstract:
The skies of the seventeenth century were rich in spectacular comets,
and each new one brought about a host of printed responses, mostly in
Europe and to a lesser extent in the Americas. This phenomenon peaked
after the great comet of 1680/81. Two individuals, Carlos de Siguenza y
Gongora and Francisco Eusebio Kino, were among the writers who argued
in print about this comet. Both were highly trained mathematicians and
published their work in Mexico. Kino used Euclid's geometry to support
his claim that the comet was a warning of dire events to come; Siguenza
replied with a more modern point of view and made much use of spherical
trigonometry in his work. Both of these figures are well known for
their other accomplishments, but these works have not always been given
due attention, either in lists of mathematical works in the Americas or
in the context of the worldwide comet debate.
Biography:
Dr. Burdick did his undergraduate work in mathematics and philosophy at
Heidelberg College, Tiffin, Ohio. His Masters and Ph.D. are from the
Ohio State University. He has been teaching at Roger Williams
University since 1990. He spends part of each summer researching in
Latin America.
Sacred
Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut
Dr. C. Edward Sandifer, Western Connecticut State University
"Stopping Between the Integers  How Euler Interpolated Partial Sums"
Wednesday, April 30, 2003
Abstract:
Leonhard Euler, a contemporary of Benjamin Franklin, was the 18th
Century's greatest mathematician and scientist. His brilliance is best
appreciated, like great art, by examining some of its details. It is
easy to understand what it means to sum the first five terms of the
harmonic series:
1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/4 + 1/5.
What would it mean to sum the first one and a half terms? Euler's
answer led him to discover the Gamma function, and also turned out to
be a key step in his first great breakthrough, the solution of the
Basel Problem.

2002
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Bentley
College, Waltham, Massachusetts
Dr. Richard Cleary, Bentley College
"Models For the Qualification Process"
Tuesday, March 26, 2002
Abstract: Do
you believe that you are safer riding with someone who passed their
driver's test on the first try than on the seventh try? Our society
puts a great deal of faith in a variety of qualifying mechanisms
(examinations or elections) to establish competence or acknowledge
excellence. Examinations include the driver's license example and
attorneys seeking certification by passing the bar exam. Election
examples include selection to many honorary societies and baseball's
Hall of Fame. We consider the mathematical, statistical and societal
implications of a few basic models for these processes.
Rhode
Island College , Providence, Rhode Island
Dr. Frederick Greenleaf, New York University
"Promoting Quantitative Literacy"
Monday, April 8, 2002
Abstract:
Fred Greenleaf, a leader in the field of quantitative literacy
education, is the author of the text "Quantitative Reasoning:
Understanding the Mathematical Patterns in Nature." He has developed
workshop courses in quantitative literacy that are part of the core
curriculum at NYU. He will be discussing what QL is, why it is
important, and what educators can do to promote it.
College
of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts
The Ninth Leonard C. Sulski Memorial Lecture
Dennis DeTurck, University of Pennsylvania
"Coiling and writhing in geometry, biology and physics"
Thursday, April 18, 2002
St.
Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire
Dr. Leonard Gillman, University of Texas at Austin
"Comprehensive Solutions"
Wednesday, May 8, 2002
Abstract:
This talk presents a counterintuitive solution to the famous 12coin
weighing problem. The method of deriving it is also unexpected.


