Gene Abrams of UCCS Named 2002 Distinguished Teacher

In 1991, the MAA Board of Governors established Section Awards for Distinguished College or University Teaching to recognize excellence in mathematics teaching at the post-secondary level. The Rocky Mountain Section Award is named in honor of Burton W. Jones, a lifelong advocate of excellence in teaching and supporter of the members and programs of the MAA. In addition to receiving a certificate and a check, award recipients deliver the opening address at the following year's spring meeting.

Criteria for the award require far more than effective teaching. Awardees are expected to be outstanding teachers, widely recognized both within and beyond their institution for extraordinary success in teaching mathematics. Professor Gene Abrams of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs easily exceeds each of the high standards set for this prestigious award.

First and foremost, Gene's students hold him in the highest regard as a teacher. Despite being one of the toughest graders in the department, he consistently receives the highest marks possible on student evaluations. Students comment on his ability to make difficult concepts not only clear, but also interesting. They particularly remark on his ability to weave interesting `real world' examples into his teaching through the use of technology, group work and projects.

Gene's success as an innovative and inspiring teacher has been recognized with several university awards, including designation as a University of Colorado President's Teaching Scholar, the highest teaching award within the CU system. In addition to his ability to instill a high degree of curiosity within the classroom, students remark upon his availability to provide assistance and advice outside the classroom. Due to Gene's mentorship and influence, numerous UCCS students have continued their mathematical education after graduation.

Gene is also involved in numerous efforts to enhance the "mathematical well-being" of the entire Pikes Peak region. These efforts include the development (with Jeremy Haefner) of the Mathonline distance-learning program <>. Through Mathonline, off-campus students have gained access to university-level mathematics courses at a distance through the use of a sophisticated internet-based collaborative application. Gene has also shared his teaching expertise through numerous national and regional papers and presentations, while maintaining an active research program in noncommutative ring theory, graded structures, and the algebraic structure of C*-algebras.

It is a distinct pleasure to recognize Gene's creativity and innovation, his commitment to his students, and his leadership and tireless efforts on behalf of the cause of high quality mathematics education within our region with the 2002 of Burton W. Jones Distinguished Teaching Award. Congratulations, Gene!


Section Students Recognized for Mathematics Excellence

On May 16, 2002, the Seventh Annual Colorado Mathematics Awards Ceremony was held at the Grant-Humphreys Mansion in Denver. Organized by Dick Gibbs of Fort Lewis College, this event recognized 47 Colorado students and their teachers for outstanding performances on six national mathematics competitions: MATHCOUNTS, the American Mathematics Contests 8, 10 and 12, the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, and the Mathematical Contest in Modeling. The AMC 8, AMC 10, AMC 12, and Putnam Competitions are sponsored programs of the national MAA, which also provides support for the other two competitions. The Rocky Mountain Section is an educational sponsor of the Colorado Mathematics Awards Ceremony.

An especially exciting aspect of this year's competitions was the success of Kevin Leder, Saverio Spagnolie and Stefan Wild (University of Colorado-Boulder) in this year's Mathematical Contest in Modeling. Coached by Anne Dougherty (Department of Applied Mathematics), this CU-Boulder team received the designation Outstanding for their solution. Reserved for those papers which provide excellent analysis, thoughtful insights and exceptionally clear exposition, only 10 of 522 teams worldwide received this highest possible designation. Excellent work, Kevin, Saverio, Stefan, and Anne!

Individual top Putnam finishers recognized at the Colorado Mathematics Awards Ceremony were Jonathan Batchelder, Fritz Obermeyer and Manfred George, all from Colorado State University. The top Putnam team was also from Colorado State University, and included students Jonathan Batchelder, Fritz Obermeyer and Scott Mayer. Congratulations, students and CSU coach Professor Alexander Hulpke.

In addition to supporting the Colorado Mathematics Awards Ceremony, the Section also recognizes top section scorers on two exams. This year, the Rocky Mountain Section Putnam Exam Top Score belongs to Jonathan Batchelder, Colorado State University. The Rocky Mountain Section AMC 12 Top Score was earned by Mark Pond, Smoky Hill High School Aurora. Mark was also the recipient, along with Jenny Rood of Fairview High School in Boulder, of a $1000 Scholarship sponsored by the AKAMAI Foundation of Boston for top performers in each state on the American Invitational Mathematics Examination. Congratulations, Mark, Jenny and Jonathan!

Special thanks go out to Dick Gibbs (Fort Lewis) for his assistance in identifying and recognizing these outstanding young mathematicians. Other MAA members on the Awards Steering Committee include David Larue (Mines) and Lou Talman (Metro).


Governor's Report

Well, I attended my first Board of Governor's meeting in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. The Board of Governor's Meeting was interesting, educational and fun. Below are items of interest for section members.

1. I am sure most of you are aware of the current SIGMAA's in research in undergraduate mathematics, statistics education, BIG (business, industry and government) and history of mathematics. A new SIGMAA in Environmental Mathematics has been approved. Members of these SIGMAA's usually meet at the summer or winter meetings. At the MathFest, the quality control person from Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory provided tours for members of the statistics education SIGMAA. Yes, sampling of ice cream was available.

2. Although MAA funds continue to follow positive trends, MAA Treasurer John Kenelly would like to have a one-year surplus on hand. To meet this goal, dues will continue to increase and donations will be sought from members. As treasurer, Kenelly will be more involved with fund raising  - he appears to be quite the fundraiser.

3. MAA, NSF and NIH will be hosting a meeting in February. The group will discuss means to address the increasing demands for quantitative training in the biological sciences. Their goal is to encourage the development of programs focusing on the mathematics of the genome analysis. The meeting will be by invitation only!

4. A grant proposal will be submitted to create a program similar to Project NExT for community colleges. Parties involved in this proposal include folks from MAA and AMATYC. The Rocky Mountain section may want to consider creating a Section NExT in order to participate in the grant activities. Anyone interested in creating a Rocky Mountain Section NExT, please contact me at On behalf of the Rocky Mountain MAA section I welcome two new Project NExT Fellows, Marc Laforest at CSU and Joshua Liaison at Colorado College.

5. Interested in going to Greece? Victor Katz will be traveling to Greece on a mathematical study tour on May 22- June 5, 2003. It sounds very exciting! There will be talks by experts in the history of Greek mathematics and a scheduled visit to the University of Athens, plus lots of other exciting visits. Full details, itinerary, and pricing will be available by September at MAA Online ( and in the October issue of FOCUS. Sign up early; number of travelers is limited to 30. For more info contact Lisa Kolbe at or Victor Katz at

Just one last thing; anyone who is interested in serving on one of the 130 MAA committees, please contact me at The committees fall into the following categories: administration, awards, education, human resources, meetings, computation, publications and representatives.

Respectfully, Hortensia Soto-Johnson, Governor


Section News


Colorado State University

Kelly Chappell was recognized in 2001 with two prestigious awards: the College of Natural Sciences Teaching Award and the College of Natural Science Cermak Advising Award. Kelly's work in calculus reform, in her calculus classes, and in the Methods of Teaching Mathematics class, has drawn outstanding praise.

Rick Miranda, longtime professor and administrator at CSU, has been named dean of the College of Natural Sciences. New faculty in the department include Bernard Deconinck, Alexander Hulpke, and Iuliana Oprea. Dick Painter officially declared full retirement in August 2001.


Trinidad State Junior College

The Department of Mathematics regrets to announce the death of Professor George E. Leone, who passed away at the age of 60 on October 17, 2001.


University of Denver

With deep sadness, the department announces the death of Mike Martin, who passed away in a tragic hiking accident in September 2001. Mike was an avid outdoorsman, expert hiker, climber, and skier. He was also much beloved by his colleagues and students for his gentle spirit, elegant mind, and wise council.


University of Northern Colorado

Jodie Novak was awarded both the 2001 - 2002 College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Award and the 2001 - 2002 University Teaching Award. Jodie is an associate professor of mathematics, and has been at UNC for 7 years. She has implemented a variety of innovations in the classroom, teaches a broad range of courses, coordinates the calculus sequence and associated Mathematica Labs, and has given teaching related presentations at numerous national and regional meetings.

Richard Grassl was a co-recipient of the 2001 - 2002 College of Arts and Sciences Scholar Award. Richard has served as chair of the Mathematical Sciences Department for 12 years. Throughout this time, he has remained active with publications and presentations in the areas of discrete mathematics, abstract algebra, problem solving and proofs in mathematics.


University of Southern Colorado

Janet Barnett and Paul Chacon were promoted to Professor in Spring 2002. Janet Barnett also received the College of Science and Mathematics 2002 Outstanding Faculty Award.

The Department is currently enjoying our newly modeled Physics/Math Building, and beginning to look ahead to July 2003 when we will officially become known as Colorado State University at Pueblo.


Longtime MAA members honored

Each year, the section recognizes just of few of the longtime active members of the MAA who reside in our section.

At the Spring 2001 Meeting Banquet, the following twenty-five year and fifty year supporters of the MAA were recognized: Austin R. Brown (50 years), Carl A. Grimm (50 years), John D. Thomas (50 years), Marlow E. Anderson (25 years), John P. Gill (25 years), Jr, William R. Horton (25 years), and David M. Larue (25 years). Each received a certificate honoring their long-term commitment to the mission of the MAA.

Other longtime supporters of the MAA celebrating a multiple-of-5 anniversary include J. R. Hanna (60 years), W. Norman Smith (55 years), F. M. Stein (55 years), Edwin A. Horn (45 years), William B. Jones (45 years) and Kenneth J. Whitcomb (45 years). Congratulations, all!


Section Activities Grants Available

Applications for Section Activities Grants are again being accepted to assist section members fund projects in support of the Section Mission. Proposals may request up to $500 per project; matching funds are preferred, but not required. The project director(s) must be a current member(s) of MAA, and the proposal must be clearly tied to one or more of the Rocky Mountain Section Mission Goals. (A copy of these goals appears on the inside back cover of this newsletter.)

Applications should be received by the Section Secretary no later than 31 January 2002 for funding in the spring/summer cycle. Application materials must include (a) Description of project (no more than one page); (b) Statement of how the project supports Section Mission Goals (no more than one page); (c) Estimated budget, including a description of additional funds available, if any; and (d) Vitae of project director(s).

All applications will be reviewed by two non-officer members of the Section, with funding decisions made by the Executive Committee on the basis of these reviewers' reports. Monies for funded projects will be available to project director(s) no later than March 30.

Upon completion of the project, the director(s) of the funded projects are required to file a brief report (no more than one page), and to present a project report at the next meeting of the Section.


Nominees Sought

Section Vice-Chair Position To Be Filled

Nominees are now being sought for the position of 2003 - 2005 Section Vice Chair. This position on the Executive Committee is reserved for a faculty member from a junior or community college within the Rocky Mountain Section.

In addition to acting as a contact between the Executive Committee and the two-year\community colleges within the section, duties of the Vice Chair include serving as a member on the Program Committee, the Awards Selection Committee, and the Committee on Professional Linkages. If you would like more information about the position and its responsibilities, please contact the Section Secretary.

The election for Vice Chair will take place at the 2003 Spring Section Meeting at the US Air Force Academy. To make a nomination, please contact the Nomination Committee Chair Jane Arledge (MesaState College) at


Deadline for 2003 Distinguished Teaching Award Approaches

Even if early Halloween celebrations caused you to miss the October 26th deadline for submitting the Nomination Form for the 2003 Burton W. Jones Distinguished Teaching Award in the Halloween , there is still time to submit a nomination this year. However, complete nomination materials should reach the Section Secretary by 30 November 2002.

In addition to the nomination form (available on the section website or from the section secretary), complete materials include a narrative description of nominee's credentials (not to exceed five pages), no more than three additional pages of evidence to document nominee's extraordinary teaching success, and as many as five letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the nominee's credentials.

Any member of the Rocky Mountain Section of the MAA may nominate any other member of the Section for the award. A nominee must be an MAA member assigned at least half time to the teaching of a mathematical science in a college or university in the U.S. or Canada with at least five years teaching experience.

A nominee should also be widely recognized as being extraordinarily successful at the post-secondary level; have teaching effectiveness that can be documented, where "teaching" is to be interpreted in its broadest sense; have had influence in their teaching beyond their own institution; and foster curiosity and generate excitement about mathematics in their students. We know there are many excellent teachers in our section who meet this criteria ... why not recognize a distinguished teacher from your own institution with the honor of being nominated?

For additional details on the nomination and selection process, please contact the Section Secretary.

Special Math History Lecture at UW

Submitted by Terry L. Jenkins, Director, UW Summer Mathematics Institutes

The topic for the 2002 University of Wyoming Summer Mathematics Institute was "An Adventure in the History of Mathematics" based on the text Journey through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics by William Dunham. The 2002 institute was made possible through a major grant by the USA Toyota Foundation along with the support from the Office of Academic Affairs, the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education at UW. During the course of the two-week institute, Professor Dunham was a guest lecturer on Monday and Tuesday, June 17 and 18. His visit was made possible by a grant from the UW Office of Academic Affairs. Dr. Dunham also gave a general audience lecture entitled "Leibniz and Newton: Mathematicians at War". This lecture was made possible with supporting funds from an MAA Rocky Mountain Section Activity Grant and the Wyoming Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

While it is difficult to find a gathering of ten people during a summer session, Dr. Dunham's lecture was attended by over one hundred and forty people. The audience was composed of mathematics institute members, UW mathematics, history, and philosophy faculty, various Laramie citizens, participants of two high school institutes held on campus, and a collection of other interested parties.

The general lecture was followed with a reception for Professor Dunham at the University of Wyoming Foundation House attended by a majority of the audience.


UW Summer Mathematics Institutes

Submitted by Terry L. Jenkins, Director, UW Summer Mathematics Institutes

In 1989 the National Council Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) published the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics. The committee responsible for this publication was composed of mathematicians and mathematics educators from all levels, as well as individuals from the private sector. Content is specified for three levels of instruction: grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. At each level, topics which should receive increased attention and those which should have decreased attention are discussed. Reasons for the suggested changes are well thought out and clearly explained. While there is not universal agreement in the mathematical community with every Standards recommendation, it can be said that they have had the greatest positive impact on mathematical instruction in America in the 20th century. The Curriculum Standards for grades 9-12 identify fourteen areas in mathematics that need to be addressed in the secondary schools. With this in mind, I started the UW Summer Mathematics Institute for Wyoming high school teachers of mathematics in 1989

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Act supported the institute from 1989 to 1996. Support for the 1997 and 1998 institutes was provided by several sources, including the Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory (McREL) located in Aurora, Colorado, the UW Arts and Sciences College, College of Education, and Office of Academic Affairs. In 1998, support for the institute was expanded to the private sector. That fall the Toyota USA Foundation sent a `site visit' team to determine the viability of the program. They concluded the institute was vital to the continuing education of the secondary mathematics teachers in Wyoming. Subsequently they provided funding for summers 2000 and 2001, which was extended to summer 2002 with the assistance of the UW College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, and Office of Academic Affairs.

Topics studied in the institutes have included Discrete Mathematics, Applications of Modern Algebra, Probability, Transformational Geometry, Polynomials and the Theory of Equations, Number Theory, Underpinnings of Calculus, Linear Algebra, Matrix Theory, and the History of Mathematics. In Spring 2000 the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) issued a new document, Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, as part of an ongoing process of articulating, focusing, and improving mathematics education. Various topics were given new emphasis, among which were mathematical connections and mathematical modeling. These recommendations formed the basis for the Summer 2000 University of Wyoming Mathematics Institute (Mathematical Connections) and the 2001 institute (Mathematical Modeling). Summer 2002 concentrated on the text "Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics" by Dr. William Dunham, with Professor Dunham serving as a guest speaker at the institute for two days in which thirty-five teachers participated.

Every year more topics, such as information theory or the mathematics of communication, are suggested for teaching at the secondary level, yet many teachers have not been trained in these topics. There is also a trend of elementary school teachers moving into the middle school and middle school teachers moving into the high school. As such, the need for in-service summer mathematics institutes focused on mathematical content is clear.

The UW Summer institutes have had considerable impact on mathematical instruction at the secondary level in Wyoming. Of the approximately 250 secondary teachers of mathematics in Wyoming, 175 have attended at least one institute. Of those, 60% have returned to participate in subsequent institutes. The average number of teachers for each new institute has been 28, sizable for a state like Wyoming. Each institute is virtually full.

It is also true, as is the case in many large, sparsely populated states, that opportunities for peer teachers to meet are rare in Wyoming. Occasions to share successes, failures, teaching techniques, topics, and differences in school administrations are vital in the molding of a teacher. Networking among the teachers over the last fourteen years, facilitated by the summer institutes, has proven to be extremely important and many lasting professional friendships have developed.

Initially there was some question as to the need for this kind of specialized mathematics institute. Why couldn't teachers simply take a summer offering from the mathematics department? Answer: there are no summer courses offered by the mathematics department which are designed for high school mathematics teachers. The University of Wyoming is the only state institution allowed to provide this graduate credit in mathematics. Typical summer fare consists of introductory courses and classes for graduate mathematics students. Prior to 1989, no mathematical content courses for high school mathematics teachers were available in the summer. Yet, there was, and still is, a requirement that every teacher earn five hours of graduate credit every five years to remain certified to teach. In the past, many teachers had to take courses totally unrelated to their teaching responsibilities to receive re-certification.

For the last fourteen years, the Summer Mathematics Institute has been the only source for these teachers of mathematics to receive graduate credit for content-based courses. The teacher's enthusiasm, participation, and evaluations of each institute demonstrate the continued need for such a program. As previously indicated, these institutes have served two-thirds of all the Wyoming teachers of mathematics and the majority of them return, whether for an advanced degree, re-certification, or enrichment. But most importantly, the more training they are able to obtain, the better teachers they become.

Any post-elementary Wyoming teacher of mathematics, with a minimum of three years teaching experience, is eligible to apply for the institute. The institute is two weeks in duration (an appropriate length for teachers with families) and meets from 9:00 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. This allows for thirty contact hours for which they receive two hours of graduate credit in mathematics. The afternoons are used for study. During the first meeting, time is taken, over coffee, juice, and rolls, for introductions and some background information by each participant. This is followed by a general outline of the course, after which the work begins.

There are also opportunities for social contact. On the second evening of the institute each participant, and a guest, are invited to attend an informal reception at my home. On the fourth day, there is a field trip: a bus is rented and the entire class visits a regional business. We have traveled to Cheyenne, Ft.Collins, Windsor, and Loveland to tour businesses such as Hewlett Packard, Safecard, Warren Air Force Base, Teledyne/Waterpick, Anheuser-Busch, Kodak Colorado, Woodward Governors, Loveland Sculpture Works/Foundry, Agilent Technologies, and LSI Logics. The visits give the teachers an opportunity to ask questions, many of which center on the mathematical skills needed by a new hire. The teachers take this hands-on industrial experience back to their classrooms to share with their students. Every field trip underscores for the teacher the necessity of a sound mathematical background to succeed in the world today.

The rest of week one, and all of week two, is spent studying the topic with a heavy emphasis on participation and discussions. In addition, I usually invite one or two expert guest speakers to give a presentation on the topic we are studying.


Air Force Academy to Host 2003 Meeting

Plans are now under way for the 2003 Spring Section Meeting, to be held at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, April 25 - 26.

In keeping with tradition, the meeting will officially open with an address by our most recent Burton W. Jones Distinguished Teaching Award Recipient, Professor Gene Abrams of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Testimony to Gene's philosophy of mathematics teaching is amply provided by the various descriptors — cheerleader, tireless worker, caring friend, social psychologist, comedian, preacher, storyteller, and stern taskmaster — that have been applied to him by students and colleagues over the years. The title of his talk, Teaching Mathematics:  Sharing Passions, Sharing Perspectives, reflects the passion embodied in these descriptors, as well as his own perspective about the need to share one's passions through one's teaching.

Joining us as this year's invited speaker will be Dr. Tina Straley of Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Appointed to the position of Executive Director of the MAA in 1999, Tina served as a Program Officer at the NSF from 1993 - 1995, and has been very active in the MAA on both the sectional and national levels. The period during which she has served as Executive Director has been extremely exciting for the MAA, particularly in the area of grants. Projects that have received NSF funding during this time include the Mathematics Digital Library Project (Math DL), an extensive Professional Development program (PREP) for faculty, and the Strengthening the Supporting Assessment in Undergraduate Mathematics (SAUM) project. We look forward to the opportunity to hear more about current MAA projects and plans from Tina.

The Program Committee is especially excited about the prospect of holding this year's meeting jointly with the Service Academies Student Math Conference. An annual meeting for math majors from West Point, the Naval Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and the Air Force Academy, the Service Academies Student Math Conference features talks by students for students. The committee is pleased to announce that Dr. Tom Trotter, Chair of the School of Mathematics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, will deliver a special address for this year's joint meeting. A gifted speaker and combinatoricist and the current managing editor of ORDER: A Journal on the Theory of Ordered Sets and Its Applications, Tom has had a diverse and interesting career. We are delighted that he will be joining us.

Preceding the program on Friday morning, Jim Rolf (USAFA) will conduct on a workshop on Writing Math Applets in Java. Jim has used Java programming to develop some especially good applets in support of USAFA's calculus reform efforts. A modest familiarity with Java or other computer programming language will be assumed. Workshop times and registration fees will be announced in the Spring newsletter.

Rounding out the scientific program will be talks contributed by intelligent, involved and inspirational people like you! Reports on projects, research announcements or anything you believe would be of interest to those in attendance are welcome. Although talks on all topics mathematical are welcome, special sessions are currently being organized around the following themes:

    Interesting Ideas in Number Theory and Geometry:

    Organized by Jane Arledge (Mesa) and Rob Tubbs (CU - Boulder)


    In this session, we will share interesting tidbits of knowledge and explore connections in the broad areas of number theory and geometry. 

    Talks should be addressed to general mathematics faculty.


    Innovative Teaching Methods for Undergraduate Mathematics

    Organized by Mike Brilleslyper (USAFA) and Jim Rolf (USAFA)


    Faculty at USAFA are developing a new calculus curriculum that uses technology in a number of innovative ways. 

    We are eager to share what we are doing, as well as hear what other folks are up to.


    Student Papers

    Organized by Beth Schaubroeck (USAFA)


    Are you supervising a student research project? Encourage your student to present the results of their work at the meeting! 

    All student speakers receive a complimentary one-year membership in the MAA, including the journal of their choice.

Additional suggestions on special session themes are also welcome at this time. Please contact Mike Brilleslyper ( if you have ideas for such a session.

Student presentations are especially encouraged! With the Service Academies Student Math Conference taking place jointly with this year's meeting, the student paper sessions promise to be more exciting than ever.  Registration for all students is free, and student speakers receive a complimentary one-year membership in the MAA. More information on student activities, and a special flyer for student recruitment, will be included in the Spring Newsletter.

MAA books will also be on display at the meeting, with the opportunity to purchase books at a discount below membership prices! Not only does this save you money, but the section receives a 10% "rebate" on all orders placed at the meeting. We also hope to have textbook publishers and other vendors available on-site. Please encourage your book reps to contact Program Chair Mike Brillesplyer early to make arrangements for this event.

A Speaker Response Form is located on page 13 of this newsletter. Please also see page 14 for special security information associated with this year's meeting, as well as preliminary hotel information.


First Call for Papers

The deadline for submission of abstracts for the 2003 Spring Section Meeting is March 7, 2003.

Proposals received from students and MAA members after this date will be scheduled on a first-come, first-scheduled, space-available basis.

Proposals from non-members who are sponsored by MAA members must reach the program organizers by the deadline to be included in the program.

As in past years, the default talk length will be 20 minutes. Every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate requests for other talk lengths, as well as other scheduling preferences, within the constraints of the schedule. Please submit any special requests early.

For non-electronic submissions, please use the Speaker Response Form located on the following page. E-mail equivalents of this form are encouraged! Please be sure to include all requested information if using e-mail.

Suggestions for additional special topic sessions or panel discussions are also being accepted at this time. See page 11 of this newsletter for a description of special sessions currently proposed for the program.

If you are interested in organizing a special topic session or panel discussion —— or if you know of a topic which would be of particular interest for the meeting —— please contact the Program Chair Mike Brilleslyper at, or 719 - 333 - 9514, with your suggestion.

Note: The possibility of publishing a conference proceedings following the meeting is currently being studied. Details will be announced as they become available.


Speaker Response Form - Due 14 March 2003

Speaker Name


Mailing Address (Please include affiliation if needed for U.S. mail)



Email Address 

Phone Number 

    Faculty Sponsor:

    (For student speakers only )   


    MAA Member Sponsor:

    (For non-MAA members/non-students only)


Abstract (100 words or less): 


Is this talk intended for any of the following special sessions?

Interesting Ideas in Number Theory and Geometry              

                                 Innovative Teaching Methods               

                                            Student Paper Session              

Special Equipment Needs: 

Schedule Preference Request: 

Special Talk Length Request: 


    (Note: e-mail submissions are strongly preferred.)


        Mike Brilleslyper

        Department of Mathematical Science

        United States Air Force Academy

        USAF Academy, CO 80840.


Important Information - USAFA Meeting


The post 9/11 Air Force Academy is no longer an open-access facility. Whereas visitors are still permitted, access to the academic buildings and close parking is restricted. It is expected that people will need to park at the field house and ride shuttle buses up to Fairchild Hall. It is also possible to walk (uphill) ½ mile from the field house to Fairchild. Detailed maps concerning parking and shuttle bus service will be provided in the Spring Newsletter.


It is also expected that all visitors to Fairchild Hall will need to have some valid form of ID (e.g., driver's license).

The situation for non-U.S. Citizens is somewhat more complicated. Any non-U.S. Citizen who wishes to attend the meeting will need to submit the following information to the meeting organizers no later than March 31.


· individual's name

· date and place of birth

· passport number

· date of proposed visit

· purpose of the visit

Please mail the above information to Mike Brilleslyper, Department of Mathematical Science, United States Air Force Academy, USAF Academy, CO 80840. For further information, please contact Mike at , or 719 - 333 - 9514.


The Program Committee apologizes in advance for any inconvenience.



Preliminary Hotel Information

The Friday Evening Banquet will take place at the Radisson Hotel, located immediately outside the South gate of the Academy. A social hour (with cash bar) will precede the banquet at this same location.

The Radisson is reserving a block of rooms at a discounted rate for meeting participants: single or double occupancy for $59.95 per night (including a full, hot buffet breakfast). This rate will be available for both the 24th and 25th of April.

To obtain this rate, please contact the hotel directly (1-800-333-3333, 719-598-5770) and request the MAA Meeting rate. The reserved block of rooms will be held for us until March 24th. After that date, any rooms not reserved will be released back into the pool. You can still get the MAA rate after that date, but it is subject to availability.

Five other national motel chains are located in the immediate vicinity of the Radisson; contact information and room rates for these will be included in the Spring Newsletter.


Voluntary Section Dues

In recent years, the section has been in the enviable position of funding annual meeting expenses and the newsletter through registration and vendor fees, supplemented by host institution contributions and our annual subvention from national.

Additional funds are always needed, however, to pursue additional initiatives suggested by the membership, and to maintain support for existing initiatives such as student activities at section meetings.

The successful John Fauvel Memorial Conference and William Dunham Special Lecture, both supported in part by the Section Activity Grant program, provide excellent examples of what can be done with even a small amount of funding to support our section mission and goals.

A voluntary section dues contribution from you now can help build up funds in support of similar initiatives!

To submit your dues, simply return the coupon below with a check for any amount you wish — every little bit will help, and all contributors will receive a letter acknowledging the contribution for their financial records.

MAA Rocky Mountain Section Voluntary Dues Contribution Form

Name _____________________________________________________________

Address _____________________________________________________________

_______________________________________ZIP_ _________________

Please indicate in the space provided how you would like your dues to be used:

____________ Undergraduate Student Initiatives

_____________ Graduate Student Initiatives

_____________ Burton W. Jones DTA Fund

_____________ Section Activity Grant Program

_____________ Wherever needed most

_____________ Other: ____________________________________

_____________ TOTAL DUES PAID ($10 recommended)

Please make check payable to MAA Rocky Mountain Section and return to:


    Janet Barnett

    MAA Rocky Mountain Section Treasurer

    Department of Mathematics

    University of Southern Colorado

    2200 Bonforte Boulevard

    Pueblo, CO 81001-4901


Math of Ages - 02 

 (Historical details courtesy of St. Andrew's website,


· Fibonacci introduces Western Europe to Islamic algebra with his Liber abaci .

· Ch'in Chiu-Shao, author of Mathematical Treatise in Nine Sections, is born in China. His work on congruences is later rediscovered by Gauss, Lebesgue and Stieltjes.



· Pedro Nuñes Salaciense, known for his work in algebra and on the mathematics of navigation, is born in Alcácer do Sal, Portugal.



· Gilles Personne de Roberval, author of Traité des indivisibles, is born in Senlis, France.



· David Gregory publishes Astronomiae physicae et geometricae elementa, a popular account of Newton's theories.

· Johann Bernoulli finds the relation between sin-1z and log z .

· Leibniz gives a `proof' that the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra is false in which he asserts x4 + t4 could never be written as a product of two real quadratic factors (not realizing that the square root of i could be written in the form a + bi, a, b real).

· Probabilist Thomas Bayes is born in London.



· Franz Maria Ulrich Theodosius Aepinus, author of the first work to apply mathematics to the theory of electricity and magnetism, dies in Dorpat, Russia.

· Ruffini shows the group of permutations associated with an irreducible equation is transitive.

· Niels Henrik Abel is born in Frindoe (near Stavanger), Norway.

· János Bolyai is born in Kolozsvár, Austrian Empire (now Cluj, Romania).

· Georg Freiherr von Vega, famed for the accuracy of his seven figure log tables, dies in Vienna; the 90th edition of his Thesaurus logarithmorm completus appears in 1924.



· Henri Léon Lebesgue defines the Lebesgue integral in his doctoral dissertation.

· Beppo Levi states the axiom of choice for the first time.

· Josiah Willard Gibbs publishes his Elementary Principles of Statistical Mechanics.

· Logician Alfred Tarski is born in Warsaw, Russian Empire.

· Karl Menger, founder of dimension theory, is born in Vienna, Austria.

· While waiting for volume 2 of his The Basic Laws of Arithmetic to return from the printers, Frege receives a letter from Bertrand Russell, pointing out that the Russell paradox gives a contradiction in Frege's system of axioms, on June 16.

· Zermelo publishes his set theoretical first work on the addition of transfinite cardinals.

· Mina Spiegel Rees, number theorist and first woman president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is born in Cleveland.

· Hendrik A.Lorentz receives the Nobel Prize for his mathematical theory of the electron.



2002 Section Meeting Report

The University of Wyoming hosted the 2002 Annual Spring Section Meeting over the weekend of April 12 - 13. The 142 participants included 40 students and representatives from nearly every institution in the section.

The meeting was officially opened with a warm welcome from Myron Allen, former department chair and current Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs at the University of Wyoming. Our 2001 Burton W. Jones Distinguished Teacher Award Recipient Jim Loats of the Metropolitan State College of Denver, then shared his personal story of growth as a teacher in his talk Growing Students. Jim's self reflections on his journey and his dedication to his students were both moving and inspirational.

Roger Horn of the University of Utah also treated meeting participants to two delightful talks. Roger's Friday Keynote address, Matrix Factorizations and the Singular Value Decomposition, traced the fascinating history of the singular value decomposition from its discovery in the 1870s by Beltrami and Jordan until its `rediscovery' by numerical analysts in the 1960s. As dessert, banquet attendees were entertained that same evening with just a few of the things Roger has learned as editor of the Monthly in his talk 4000 papers later...some things I learned at the Monthly and a fundamental fact from matrix theory. Roger especially encouraged members to submit their work to the Monthly, which is always in search of good papers to share with its readers.

Early Saturday morning, meeting participants were greeted with yet another exceptional Keynote Address when Ron Graham, UC San Diego and president _ elect of the MAA, took us on a tour of Some easy(?) mathematical challenges for the 21st century. Few of the challenges were easy, but all were fascinating and delivered with typical Ron Graham style and clarity.

The program also included a record 46 contributed paper talks, including 11 by students. [See pages 18 - 21], a special session on assessment conducted by Bill Marion of Valparaiso University, a panel discussion on Research Experiences for Undergraduates, and a workshop on Creating and Exporting Computer Animations to the Web led by Bill Emerson and Lou Talman, of the Metropolitan State College of Denver. Other meeting features included the usual early morning Business Meeting [see pages 22 -23], a Department Chairs Luncheon hosted by UW's Department Chair Peter Polyakov, and a meeting of Department Liaisons.

The Section wishes to thank Karin deJamaer (Addison Wesley Publishing), Alan Bricker (International Thomson Publishing), Eric Murray (Houghton-Mifflin Company) and Yezabel Dooley (Wolfram Research) for their financial and technical support at the meeting. Thanks also go out to the entire Western State College Department of Mathematics faculty for their many hours of volunteer work and gracious hospitality throughout the meeting, especially Lynne Ipiña for her assistance with the book display. Above all others, special thanks go out to program co-chairs Sylvia Hobart and Bryan Shader for their attention to detail and commitment to the meeting's success. Congratulations on a very fine meeting!


Contributed Papers - University of Wyoming Meeting, 2002



William Marion, Valparaiso University



Barbara Moskal, Colorado School of Mines

Assessing Learning and Teaching Goals in Mathematics and Computer Science


Kyle Riley, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Assessing the Department and the Mathematics Program by Using an External Review





Janet Barnett, University of Southern Colorado

Renaissance & Reminiscences: Some Things I Learned from my Open University Experience


Susanna Goodin, University of Wyoming

A Little Bit about Leibniz


Gail Gliner and Jim Loats, Metropolitan State College of Denver

Dr. Newton. Herr Leibniz. Welcome to Our Class Today.


George Heine, Bureau of Land Management

Pedro Nuñes _ who was he and why should we care?


Steven C. Leth, University of Northern Colorado

A Look at a False Proof of the Four Color Theorem


Igor Szczyrba, University of Northern Colorado

Mathematics and Ethics


Mike Siddoway, Colorado College

John Fauvel at Colorado College





Glen Bruckhart and Jim Loats, Colorado Department of Education

What do state K-12 mathematics standards have do with instruction

at the post-secondary level?


Charles Funkhouser, University of Wyoming

TOTOTOM: The Training of Teachers of Teachers of Mathematics


Don Gilmore, Metropolitan State College of Denver

Something Different for the Math for Elementary Teachers courses


Larry Johnson, Metropolitan State College of Denver

The Implications for Training New Teachers from Experience with Teacher

Staff Development Projects


Hortensia Soto-Johnson, University of Southern Colorado

How do Pre-Service Elementary Teachers Feel about

"Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics"?


William S. Weber, University of Wyoming

A Different Approach to Solving Word Problem in an Algebra Class





Bryan Bornholdt,

Simple Square Root Approximation


David Grant, University of Colorado, Boulder

The Slowest Way to Bake a Pi


Eric Packard, Mesa State College

An Extension of Order Inspired by Card Shuffling


Leslie Shader, University of Wyoming

All Triangles with Integer Sides





Curtis Card, Black Hills State University

Creating Power Point-Like Presentations Using Latex


Erica Johnson and Mary Sloan, Arapahoe Community College

Adding Personality to Your Online Courses


John Martin

A Mathematical Look at the "Science Wars"


Harry Mills, Western State College of Colorado

More Spreadsheets in Finite Mathematics


Karla Oty, University of Southern Colorado

An Interdisciplinary Algebra/Science Course


Peter Shive, University of Wyoming

Why Not Try Chaos Theory?


John Spitler, University of Wyoming

First Semester Differential Equations with CAS: Observations from the Classroom


Ben Roth, University of Wyoming

The Mathematics Major Seminar at the University of Wyoming





Jeffrey Berg and Patricia Hauss, Arapahoe Community College

Math Speak


Shahar Boneh, Metropolitan State College of Denver

The Optimal Parking Problem


Michael A. Brilleslyper, U. S. Air Force Academy

Preparing New Instructors to Teach College Mathematics Courses


George Donovan, Metropolitan State College of Denver

An Example of Color and Animation in Mathematica


Kenneth Driessel, Colorado State University

On computing Canonical Forms Using Flows


Roger Johnson, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Favorite Datasets to Illustrate Least-Squares Fitting


Ron Larson, Pennsylvania State University

Current and Past Trends in Teaching Calculus


Duane A. Porter, University of Wyoming

What I Have Learned in One Billion Years of Teaching


Igor Szczyrba, University of Northern Colorado

Why is the cerebral cortex folded


William Trench, Trinity University

Extensions and Modifications of Weyl's Definition of Equal Distribution



Research Experiences for Undergraduates Programs

Paul Hurtado, University of Southern Colorado

William Koppelman, University of Wyoming

Mike Siddoway, Colorado College



Student Papers - University of Wyoming Meeting, 2002

Nathan Atkinson, Mesa State College

Exploration of Haar Wavelets with the TI-89 Calculator


Dawn Bechthold, University of Southern Colorado

Tessellations of the Sphere


Beau Grande, University of Wyoming

The Newton-Picard Method


Richard Hausenaur, University of Colorado, Boulder

A different completion of Q


Patrick Jennings, Arapahoe Community College

Counting Triangles within Triangles


David Johnson, Metropolitan State College of Denver

Chaos in Investments Related to the Stock Market


William Kirwin, University of Colorado, Boulder

How many lattice points can you see from the origin?


William Koppelman, University of Wyoming

Building a Model for a Complex Ecosystem


Beth Malmskog, University of Wyoming

An Unusual Proof that Euler's Phi-function is Multiplicative


Cecile Piret, Metropolitan State College of Denver

The Power Method: strengths and weaknesses


Ben Vanderlei, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Predicting International Space Station Sighting Opportunities



The Section Executive Committee is delighted that we will soon be playing host at the 2003 Mathfest in Boulder! We encourage all of you to take advantage of this opportunity to attend a national meeting on our own Front Range.

This is a particularly exciting opportunity for students in our section, who may not otherwise be able to attend a national meeting. Students who wish to present in a student paper session at MathFest 2003 must be nominated by a faculty advisor familiar with the work to be presented. To propose a paper for presentation, the student must complete a form and obtain the signature of a faculty sponsor. Nomination forms for the MAA student paper sessions can be obtained from Dr. Thomas Kelley <>.

Students who make presentations at the MathFest, and who are also members of an MAA Student Chapter, are eligible for partial travel reimbursement. The deadline for receipt of applications is June 27, 2003.

PME student speakers must be nominated by their chapter advisors. Application forms for PME student speakers can be found at or can be obtained from the PME Secretary-Treasurer, Dr. Leo Schneider, email: Student who make presentations at the Annual Meeting of Pi Mu Epsilon are eligible for partial travel reimbursement. The deadline for receipt of abstracts is June 27, 2003.


Mark Your Calendars!

Professional Development Opportunities in Baltimore

Teaching an Introductory Statistics Course Based on Statistical Thinking

This workshop, sponsored by the American Statistical Association, is aimed at mathematicians and others who teach courses in introductory statistics. It will present a radically revised course based on statistical thinking. Instructors are Roger Hoerl and Rex Bryce. Workshop Date is January 14th.

Mathematics in the Ancient World

Nearly everyone who has taken an interest in the history of mathematics becomes fascinated with some facet of ancient mathematics. But only a few have the mathematical preparation, historical sensitivities, and linguistic skills to do original work. The speakers at this short course will give an expository survey of their special area of ancient mathematics. They will discuss some areas of current research, point out open questions, and provide guidelines to help you delve into the expository and research literature. Those of you who have taught history of mathematics will undoubtedly learn that some of what you read in older literature has been superseded by modern scholarship. This year's MAA Short Course is organized by V. Frederick Rickey of the US Military Academy. Short Course Dates are January 15 - 18.


Some Upcoming Meetings Dates

Joint Mathematics Meetings, Baltimore 15 - 18 January 2003

NCTM National Meeting, San Antonio, 9 - 12 April 2003

MAA Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Air Force Academy, 25 _ 26 April 2003

MAA Mathfest, Boulder, 31 July - 2 August 2003

CCTM Annual Meeting, Denver, October 2003

AMATYC National Conference, Salt Lake City, 13 - 16 November 2003

Joint Mathematics Meetings, Phoenix, 7 - 10 January 2004

NCTM National Meeting, Philadelphia, 22 - 24 April 2004

ICME - 10, Copenhagen, Denmark, 4 - 11 July 2004

MAA Mathfest, Providence, 12 - 14 August 2004

Joint Mathematics Meetings, Atlanta, 5 - 8 January 2005

MAA Mathfest, Albuquerque, 4 - 6 August 2005

2002 Business Meeting Report

Dick Gibbs (Fort Lewis) reported on student competitions in the section. Funds provided by AKAMAI during the past two years (in support of an Invitational High School Exam and student recognition within each state) may not be available in the future. The AMC State Director structure is being phased out; Gibbs suggested we may wish to appoint an AMC liaison. Gibbs also announced this will be his last year on the Competitions Committee, and thanked the section for the honor of being named the 2002 Meritorious Service Certificate recipient.

Talman announced that the Executive Committee approved a $150 grant to support the Colorado Mathematics Award Reception in 2002, and reported that the committee is creating a fund by which students from across the section can be similarly recognized.

Various announcements were made by Talman, including dates of upcoming meetings, the selection of Gene Abrams as the 2002 Burton W. Jones Distinguished Teaching Award Recipient, and the names of top scorers in the section on student competitions.

Jim Loats (MSCD) reported on changes in the Colorado Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Meeting. This year's meeting will feature a Keynote Address by Sylvia Nasar (author of "A Beautiful Mind) on Thursday evening, October 3, with one-day of workshops on Friday, October 4. No Saturday sessions will be held.

Emerson announced that Friday Workshop proposals for the 2003 Spring Section Meeting should be submitted to the Executive Committee early in fall 2002.

Barnett led a discussion concerning a proposal that the responsibilities of Newsletter Editor and Secretary/Treasurer be separated. Few sections combine the three duties. While this arrangement makes some sense (the secretary has possession of information needed by the editor), there are arguments against it (it's difficult for one person to manage the various responsibilities). Although creating a new position on the Executive Committee requires a by-law change, the editing task could be delegated to a volunteer on a trial basis; interested individuals should contact Barnett. It was remarked that, once we have access to members' e-mail, it may make sense to officially appoint a newsletter editor, who could perhaps take over the website editing as well.

Talman led a discussion concerning the possible expansion of an academic journal produced by MSCD as a service to the section membership at-large. The journal is currently distributed in the local Denver area and includes research and expository articles on mathematics, as well as reports on teaching and service related activities. Metro is interested in expanding the scope of the journal, tying it more closely to section activities, and making it (at least in part) a refereed effort. Concerns surrounding the proposal include production and mailing costs, the constitution of an editorial board, the effect which a published proceedings could have on the nature of papers submitted to the meeting, and the journal's title. Mike Brilleslyper (USAFA) announced that the Academy may have funds to assist with costs for a 2003 Conference Proceedings. Talman asked for an "endorsement in principle" that would allow the Executive Committee to negotiate details with MSCD. The motion was approved.

The Section moved to thank the University of Wyoming and Program Chairs Sylvia Hobart and Bryan Shader for their efforts in organizing and hosting the meeting. The business meeting was adjourned by Talman at 8:55 a.m.

Respectively submitted, Janet Heine Barnett, Secretary/Treasurer


Odds and Endings

Reviews Wanted

How do you search for the right textbook for your course? Do you just look at the books that publishers' representatives bring around? Do you wander around to each publisher's booth at the Joint Meetings? Do you type in "abstract algebra texts" at Do you wish there were an easy way to find out whether particular texts would be appropriate for your students?

MAA now have online a Catalog of Commercial Materials as part of MathDL, the Mathematical Sciences Digital Library. You can access the Catalog through a link from MAA Online or go to it directly at There you will find a listing of most textbooks available for any given course, with a link to the publisher's home page, where you will find a description (written by the publisher's marketing department) and where you can order an examination copy.

Unfortunately, although there is also a link to "user reviews", reviews are not yet available for most books. So to make this Catalog useful, MAA requests your help in writing reviews.

If you have taught from any of the books listed in the Catalog in the past few years—or are teaching from one of them this semester—please consider writing a brief review. Tell everyone the strengths and weaknesses of the book, the responses of your students, and whether you plan to use the book again. Reviews will be posted online so that others can access it. Even if your textbook is not listed in the Catalog, you can still write a review, and the book can be added to the Catalog.

About Our Logo

The logo for the Rocky Mountain Section of the Mathematical Association of America was created by Mark Petersen as part of a Student Logo Competition conducted in AY 2000 - 2001. A graduate student in the University of Colorado at Boulder Applied Mathematics Department at the time, Mark created his entry using Adobe Illustrator and Microsoft Word Art.

Mark says of his design: "The mountain symbols were chosen because analysis is the foundation for all of mathematics. The equation eip + 1 = 0 must rank among the most beautiful formulas in mathematics. It connects the five most important constants of mathematics with the three most important operations - addition, multiplication, and exponentiation. These five constants symbolize the four major branches of classical mathematics: arithmetic, represented by 0 and 1; algebra, by i; geometry, by p; and analysis, by e. (Quoted from Eli Maor's e, The Story of a Number). I chose to portray this equation as a train because rail has historically been the life blood of the American West, and trains are complimentary to any mountain scene."

Congratulations, Mark, on your successful entry!