President’s Message

Greetings all! I hope that you have had a good start to your school year and are looking forward to visiting us at Wittenberg for the Fall Ohio Section meeting.

This is the first issue of the Ohio Section Newsletter that is not being sent in paper format to all Ohio Section members. Several other sections have gone to electronic or online versions of their newsletters and have had good experiences with the transition. The Ohio Section has been cautious with this move, but now believes the time is right. We will have an obvious savings from reduced printing costs and there should be an immense benefit from making the newsletter available to Ohio Section members weeks earlier than in the past. Postcards will be sent to each member in the Fall and Spring to remind them that an Ohio Section meeting is approaching and that they should check out the section website to access the current newsletter and other information. I suggest that you print the newsletter for yourself and posterity. Who knows, paper may have a longer shelf life than things posted on the web.

I hope that you were able to attend the Spring meeting at in Portsmouth. If not, you missed a great meeting. The weather was beautiful and Phil Blau and the other local arrangements folks did a fine job. The program committee, headed by Barbara D’Ambrosia, provided us with a fine program. Francis Su presented a talk on “Preference Sets, Graphs and Voting in Agreeable Societies” and during his talk on “My Favorite Math Fun Facts” he told about juicy math tidbits he uses to start off his calculus classes. Francis makes these “Fun Facts” available to everyone via the web. Just google “Math Fun Facts” and you’ll find a link to Francis Su’s site. Judy Palagallo, Danny Otero and Tom Dence also gave very enjoyable and interesting invited presentations.

This summer, through the department liaisons, I sent out a message inviting interested parties to volunteer to serve on Ohio Section committees. At the same time, a similar invitation was posted on the section website. The response was outstanding and I’d like to thank all those who volunteered.

This will be the last year in Carl Spitznagel’s term as newsletter editor. I know through first hand experience that the job of being editor can be tough, but Carl seems to handle it with ease. I am happy to announce that Barbara D’Ambrosia has agreed to serve as the next newsletter editor and will take over when Carl’s term comes to a close. John Zimmerman, the Ohio Section Archivist, will also complete his term of service this year. Last year, Tom Dence recruited Danny Otero to replace John and Danny will take over the archivist duties after the Spring Ohio Section meeting at Marietta. John and Carl deserve the section’s gratitude for their years of work.

On behalf of the section, I’d also like to thank Dale Mugler for his work with Ohio NExT. His term as the Ohio Project NExT Coordinator ended last spring. Dale is being replaced by three new co-coordinators - Wiebke Diestelkamp, Chris Swanson and John Prather. The section is lucky to have such an active Section NExT organization. If you have recently added new members to your department please encourage them to attend Ohio Section meetings and to take advantage of what Ohio NExT has to offer.

In August, I attended MathFest in San Jose and would like to report on some of what I learned there. A few years ago, there was discussion of elimination of the summer meeting of the MAA, but MathFest is now very healthy. Attendance in San Jose set a MathFest record and included participation of many students. One of the highlights of the meeting for me was to hear Donald Knuth deliver the J. Sutherland Frame Lecture and to witness his induction into the newly formed Pi Mu Epsilon chapter which was established at his alma mater, Case Western Reserve University.

At the Section Officers Meeting in San Jose, we were told that the MAA is proud of its newly redesigned website and encourages MAA members get into the habit of checking the site often since new items (such as columns and articles about mathematics in the news) are posted nearly every working day. If you don’t have time to access the site every day, don’t despair. Nearly everything posted is archived and easily available. We were also told that MAA members now have online access to the journals they subscribe to. For example, Mathematics Magazine subscribers have searchable access to back issues once they login at the MAA website. Try it! But be aware that the MAA warned us that there are some bugs in their system and some members have trouble logging in. They expect to eliminate such problems in the next few months. Finally, the MAA folks announced that employment opportunities advertised at the “Math jobs” link on their homepage will be expanded to include jobs which are outside of mathematics but require mathematics in the job description.

The Ohio Section has been very successful and recruiting schools to host section meetings. We have meetings scheduled at Marietta College, Capital University, Bowling Green State University, Baldwin-Wallace College, Kent State University and Ursuline College. The Indiana Section has proposed holding a joint meeting with the Ohio Section to be held sometime in the next few years. Nothing is certain, but the Executive Committee is looking into this possibility. If your department would like to host an Ohio Section Meeting at your institution, please let me know.

It will be an honor to serve as president of the section this year. I hope to see you at the fall meeting at Wittenberg at the end of October.

Bill Higgins