Program Highlights

This year's meeting will open with an address by our 1999 Burton W. Jones Distinguished Teaching Award Recipient, Professor Bill Briggs of CU-Denver. Respected as one of the best teachers within the University of Colorado system, Professor Briggs is widely recognized for excellence in both teaching and exposition. In addition to his DTA Invited Lecture entitled "An Ideal Problem: The Mathematics of Population Genetics", Professor Briggs has agreed to deliver a workshop entitled Quantitative Reasoning for Liberal Arts Students on Friday morning. See the abstracts on page 4 for more workshop information.

Another special feature of this year's meeting will be Professor Joseph Gallian's Polya Lecture "Breaking Drivers' License Codes" on Friday afternoon. Supported by the National MAA to promote excellence in Mathematics Exposition, the Polya Lecturer Program has selected Professor Gallian as one of its two current lecturers. Hailing from the University of Minnesota, Professor Gallian holds many teaching and exposition awards, including the MAA Trevor Evans Award for Exposition, the MAA Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching, and the MAA Allendoerfer Award for Exposition. He has authored several textbooks and numerous papers, and served as supervisor for over 70 student papers which have been accepted for publication in mainstream journals. Professor Gallian's highly entertaining talk will be especially interesting to students.

We are also delighted to have Professor Jim Tattersall, Associate Secretary of the MAA, join us at this year's millennial meeting. A historian of mathematics at Providence College, Professor Tattersall will speak on two historical topics. Friday evening's Banquet Address, "Two Texts that Spanned a Millennium", will provide us with a glimpse of mathematics in Western Europe during the first millennium AD. In Saturday morning's Keynote Address, Professor Tattersall will move forward in time with his talk entitled "Mathematics at Cambridge University in the Nineteenth Century". Both talks promise to provide food for thought on topics of contemporary concern for today's mathematics instructors, as well as for history buffs.

Rounding out the scientific program will be talks contributed by intelligent, involved and inspirational people like you! Please see the speaker information on pages 7 - 8 for more information on submitting a presentation for the Contributed Paper Sessions.

Other Meeting Highlights

Don't forget to visit the Exhibits Area on Friday afternoon! Publishers and other commercial exhibitors provide important support, financial and otherwise, to the section. Let them know how much we appreciate their support by stopping in to say hello. MAA Publications will also be available at a discounted price on both days of the meeting.

CSU Mathematics Department Chair Rick Miranda will host a special Department Chairs Luncheon prior to the official meeting opening on Friday. Department Chairs should watch for more information about the luncheon in the mail and on the section website.

Department Liaisons are invited to join section officers at a brief meeting on Friday afternoon prior to the Reception. Please forward topics for discussion to any section officer prior to the meeting.

All MAA members are also encouraged to attend the Section Business Meeting on Saturday morning. This is a great opportunity to provide the Section Executive Committee with your input on important issues facing the section membership. Please see the stories on pages 6, 11 and 12 for updates on current section business. More information on section business items will be mailed to all MAA mebmers with the Final Meeting Program in March.

The Program Committee also invites all meeting participants to attend the Friday Evening Reception featuring complimentary hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. The Friday Evening Banquet will follow the reception; please note that banquet reservations must be received by March 28th to guarantee availability.


Friday Morning Workshop

Quantitative Reasoning for Liberal Arts Students

Bill Briggs, University of Colorado at Denver

This workshop will begin by briefly surveying the rationale for developing a quantitative reasoning (QR) course for liberal arts students and discussing the issues that arise in teaching such a course. This discussion will draw on experience in developing such a course at the University of Colorado and writing a textbook (Addison-Wesley) to support the course. The remainder of the workshop will consist of classroom activities and presentations that are used in the University of Colorado courses. These activities will be highly interactive and will require the participation of those attending the workshop!

Burton W. Jones Distinguished Teaching Invited Address

An Ideal Problem: The Mathematics of Population Genetics

Professor Bill Briggs, University of Colorado at Denver

I have always thought that an ideal problem in mathematics should use a variety of methods to address a problem of interest in another discipline, it should have some noteworthy history, it should present avenues for further research, and it should involve material that can be used for teaching. Does such a problem exist? I think so and will talk about one such problem.

The century-long history of population genetics involves some of the most familiar names in mathematics, statistics, biology, and evolutionary theory. The overall goal of the subject is to design and analyze models that describe how traits are passed from one generation to the next under the effect of natural selection, random mating, and mutation. The beauty of the problem (if I may say so) is that it starts with elementary ideas about difference equations, differential equations, counting, and probability. The path passes by some classical results, but quickly leads to open research questions. It's a fascinating journey. I will start at the beginning and try to give a comprehensive overview of this ideal problem.

Friday Afternoon Polya Lecture

Breaking Drivers' License Codes

Joseph Gallian, University of Minnesota

Many states use complicated algorithms or formulas to assign drivers' license numbers but keep the method confidential. Just for the fun of it, Professor Gallian attempted to figure out how the states code their license numbers. In this talk he will discuss how he was able to break the codes for several of the states. The talk illustrates an important problem-solving technique that is not emphasized in mathematics classes. It also teaches the lesson that sometimes things done just for the sake of curiosity can have applications.

Friday Evening Banquet Address

Two texts that spanned a millenium

Jim Tattersall, Providence College

Introduction to Arithmetic (AD 150) by Nicomachus of Gerasa was one the few sources of knowledge of formal Greek arithmetic in the Middle Ages. The book is philosophical in nature, contains few original results, and no formal proofs. Perhaps that is why it served as a text in medieval universities for almost 500 years. The book contains several properties of numbers that are as intriguing today as they were more than two thousand years ago. Gerbert's Geometry (AD 1000) exhibits a fascinating account of right-angle geometry at the end of the millennium. Gerbert d'Aurillac (940-1003) distinguished himself as scholar, mathematician, and cleric (as Pope Sylvester II). He was an avid proponent of use of zero and the Hindu-Arabic system. Results from the texts will be generalized leading to several challenging problems.

Saturday Morning Keynote Address

Mathematical Vignettes from Cambridge University

Jim Tattersall, Providence College

The Educational Times, a monthly periodical devoted to pedagogical interest, contained a section devoted to mathematical problems and their solutions. We discuss the accomplishments of several ET problem solvers from Cambridge University including Hertha Ayrton, an accomplished scientist and first women to have been nominated a Fellow in London's Royal Society, Charlotte Scott, first women to receive first class honors on the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos, and Philippa Fawcett who placed above the Senior Wrangler on the 1890 Tripos. It was felt by many, in the eighteenth century, that mathematics provided the best training for a rational mind. As a consequence, in order to obtain an honor degree from Cambridge it was necessary to pass the Tripos. By the mid-nineteenth century, the Tripos had become the most formidable mathematical examination in Europe. Selected problems from The Educational Times and the 1880 and 1890 Mathematical Tripos exams will be included as well as a brief history of the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos.


Late last fall, program organizers at CSU learned that changes in Colorado Council of Higher Education policy will require us to use CSU's Office of Conference Services (OCS) for our meeting arrangements. Morever, any use of educational facilities for purposes other than student instruction will require OCS to collect a substantial fee for each meeting participant. Efforts to locate a more cost-effective alternative meeting site in Fort Collins proved unsuccessful.

After weeks of persistent campaigning by Darel Hardy, arrangments have been made to allow free registration for students. Darel has also obtained substantial concessions for non-student participants. Additionally, the CSU Math Department has stepped forward with financial support for the meeting.

Thanks to Darel's hard work and the generous support of the CSU Math Department, the per participant cost has been reduced to a level which the Executive Committee feels can be absorbed by a moderate increase in registration fees, combined with an increase in the section's meeting subsidy to CSU. The increased subsidy will be drawn from various savings garnered by the section in recent years.

While we regret the need to raise registration fees, please be assured that every effort was made to find an alternative before this course of action was taken. We hope that you will find the increase in registration fees to be reasonable, especially as the new advance registration fee for non-students will be only $15. Late registrations received after March 28th will be set at $25. All students will continue to register for free.

Please note that the cost-saving arrangements which Darel was able to make with OCS will require forms to be returned to two different locations. Namely, please be sure to return:

NON-STUDENT REGISTRATIONS to the Office of Conference Services;

STUDENT REGISTRATIONS to the Mathematics Department;

ALL SPEAKER RESPONSE FORMS to the Mathematics Department.

We regret the extra inconvenience which this arrangement will cause. Complete addresses for each location are given on the forms enclosed in this newsletter.

The Executive Committee invites you to join us in thanking Darel and the CSU Mathematics Department for their efforts on behalf of the section membership in making these financial arrangements while simultaneously working on putting together a great program.

The Executive Committee will be researching the long-term consequences of the CCHE policy which led to this fee increase in the coming months. A report on the situation, and recommendations for future meetings, will be made at the April 8th Business Meeting.

Other Meeting Information


Please note that refunds can not be granted in case of cancellation, but substitutions are permitted. There is a $17.00 charge for checks returned for insufficient funds. For registration questions, call Office of Conference Services at 970-491-7501 or e-mail at


Blocks of rooms have been reserved at two properties adjacent to the CSU campus, the Best Western University Inn and the University Park Holiday Inn. The following special rates are available if you identify yourself as a participant in the MAA conference. Reservations must be made before the block reservations expire on March 7 to obtain these rates.

University Park Holiday Inn

425 W. Prospect Rd. Single $70.50

Fort Collins, CO 80526 Double $80.50

(970) 482-2626 Triple $90.50

1-800-HOLIDAY Quad $100.50

Best Western University Inn

914 S. College Ave.

Fort Collins, CO 80524 Queen $48.00

(970) 484-1984 Two Double Beds $53.00


A complete listing of Fort Collins accommodations will be included in a confirmation packet to be mailed when your registration form is received by the CSU Office of Conference Services. This list can also be accessed through the section website at


Maps of Fort Collins and the CSU campus will be included in a confirmation packet to be mailed when your registration form is received by the CSU Office of Conference Services, and mailed to all MAA members with the Final Program in March. These maps can also be accessed through the section website at

Future Updates

Watch for meeting updates as they happen through the section website at

Second Call for Papers

2000 Annual Meeting

The deadline for submission of abstracts for the 2000 Spring Section Meeting has been changed to Monday, 6 March, 2000.

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 should reach the program chair 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.

For non-electronic submissions, students may use the Student Registration Form from the Student Flyer at the center of this newsletter. Non-students should use the Speaker Response Form located on the following page. E-mail equivalents of these forms are most welcome.

Please make sure your title and abstract provide as accurate a description of your talk as possible within the specified word limit!

All submissions should be returned to Darel Hardy at:

Rocky Mtn. MAA Annual Meeting

Department of Mathematics

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, CO 80523-0001


If you are interested in organizing a special topic session, a panel, or a workshop, please contact Darel by phone or e-mail.

Awards Update

The 2000 Burton W. Jones Distinguished Teaching Award Recipient has been selected! To be among the first to learn the identity of this individual, join us at the April 7th Awards Presentation at this year's Spring Meeting Banquet in Fort Collins. Thanks go out to the Selection Committee members for completing their charge at a very busy time of the year. This year's members were Shahar Boneh (Metropolitan State College of Denver), Bill Briggs (University of Colorado at Denver), Patrick Enright (Arapahoe Community College) and Heidi Keck (Western State College). As our 1999 Distinguished Teaching Award recipient, committee member Bill Briggs will also deliver the opening lecture at the CSU meeting. See page 4 of this newsletter for an abstract of Bill's talk.

Although the deadline for the 2001 Burton W. Jones Distinguished Teaching Award nominations is still months away, it is not too soon to begin thinking about the award! Experience shows that assembling the necessary nomination materials itself need not be difficult, if the process is begun early enough in the year. We know there are excellent teachers at all institutions in the Rocky Mountain Section. Please consider nominating one of your colleagues for this distinction. More information about the nomination process can be obtained from the Section Secretary, or the Section website.

Also coming up soon will be a call for nominations for the Section Certificate of Meritorious Service. The Certificates of Meritorious Service are presented for service to the MAA at the national level, or for service to a Section of the Association. The first such awards were made in 1984. At each January meeting of the Association, honorees from roughly six Sections are recognized. The next Rocky Mountain Section recipient will be honored at the January 2002 National Meeting. To meet the national deadline for Board of Governor approval of our selected recipient, we must complete our selection no later than Spring 2001. The Executive Committee is currently working on the design of a nomination and selection process that will allow us to meet this deadline, and will present its recommendations at the Spring 2000 Business Meeting on April 8th. If you have suggestions concerning this process, please contact any section officer prior to the CSU meeting.

Other Section Business

Nominations Requested

Nominees are now being sought for the position of 2001 - 2003 Section Chair. This individual will serve a one-year term as Chair Elect beginning April 2000, as well as a one-year term as Past Chair ending April 2004. The election will take place at the 2000 Spring Section Meeting in Fort Collins. If you would like more information about the position and its responsibilities, please contact the Section Secretary. To make a nomination, please contact any member of the Nomination Committee:

Hortensia Soto-Johnson (Committee Chair)

University of Southern Colorado, 719-549-2733

George Donovan Luann Linton

Metrpolitan State College of Denver Arapahoe Community College

Executive Committee Still in Need of Input

The Fall 1999 Newsletter contained several stories outlining issues currently facing the MAA and its members at the national and section level. Section initiatives currently being examined for effectiveness include the Section Activity Grants and the Professional Linkage Committee. (See page 14 of the Fall Newsletter for background on these two issues.) In his Governor's Report (page 15 of the Fall Newsletter), Bill Emerson asked for our input on the decline in MAA membership being experienced at the national level. Also from Ron Loser, Adams State College, came the following inquiry:

How are mathematics departments around the state of Colorado responding to SB 99-229 (that bases at 75% of funding increases on meeting CCHE performance indicators)? The proposed standards of CCHE for meeting the institutional actions have implications for mathematics curriculum at all public colleges and universities.

Send your comments on these issues, or any other issues you would like the Executive Committee to consider, to any member of the Executive Committee (see inside front cover for contact information). A copy of the Fall Newsletter can be obtained from the Section Secretary (, or visit the section website at

Faculty Updates

Metropolitan State College of Denver

Professors Richard Balay, Ernest Cisneros and Charles Howerton retired in 1998-99 and were named professor emeritus. Professor Jim Van Doren retired in the fall 1999, and Professor Nancy Thompson will retire at the end of this year.

We welcomed four new faculty this year: Professors Brad Kline, Patty McKenna and David Ruch in mathematics and Noel LeJeune in Computer Science.

More than 100 elementary age girls in the metro area attended the second Making Connections summer camp. The summer camps are one component of a three-year $1 million NSF funded grant awarded to Sara Cohen and Charlotte Murphy to stimulate interest in math and science among elementary age girls. Other major component of the Making Connections grant runs in DPS grade schools during the school year, including interdisciplinary activities (math, reading, writing, art, science, optics, etc.) for entire classe, as well as after school clubs for girls.

The NSF RMTEC grant ended in 1999 with both course content and teaching techniques changed in certain math courses involving students seeking licensure for both elementary and secondary teaching. NSF has awarded a follow-up grant to evaluate the success of the project through follow-up of students and activities. Dr. James Loats has been Co-PI for both and Dr. Gail Gliner has been the evaluator. The College has adopted a new Math Ed curriculum with changes in the Teacher Ed Sequence, partly as a result of the RMTEC grant.

This is the fifth year (of six) of the Interactive Mathematics Project (IMP). Dr. Lewis Romagnano is Co-PI of this grant introducing constructivist mathematics into the high schools of Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico. He is also the Co-PI of a Learning to Teach Mathematics NSF grant that is tracing mathematics students from their junior year through their first two years as a secondary mathematics teacher.

Graphing calculators are increasingly used in the mathematics courses and are now required in the Business math sequence, precalc, and all calculus courses not using Mathematica. Our Mathematica NExT lab has been upgraded to Mac G3's and the computer science lab has been upgraded to Sun Ultra 10's.

The Department's Computer Science program is growing rapidly and currently has around 550 majors. Courses in Computer Science offered as a community service also enjoy great popularity.

Check out the Fall 1999 Newsletter on the web

for Faculty News from other Rocky Mountain Section schools.

Don't forget to send your news items to your department liaison

with a request to forward it to the Newsletter Editor (

in time for the next newsletter issue!

News from The National

Project NExT Applications Due Soon

Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) is the MAAs very successful program for new or recent Ph.D.'s in the mathematical sciences who are interested in improving the teaching and learning of undergraduate mathematics. Applications for the 2000-2001 year are due on April 14, 2000. Application materials are available at the Project NExT web site at, or contact T. Christine Stevens, Dept. of Mathematics and Mathematical Computer Science, Saint Louis University, 221 North Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63103 [Email:; Phone: 314-977-2436].

Announcing MAA Special Interest Groups

The MAA is instituting a program of Special Interest Groups (SIGMAAs) for its members. SIGMAAs will provide MAA members who share common mathematical interests with opportunities to organize and interact professionally. SIGMAA activities may include holding meetings and receptions, creating newsletters and web pages, facilitating research and publications, working with other MAA organizations, and generally sharing ideas and establishing a network of interested colleagues. Any group of MAA members may propose the creation of a SIGMAA by submitting an application to the MAA Task Force on SIGMAAs. Visit for application information, or or contact Ed Dubinsky at (

MAA's CUPM Launches Curriculum Initiative

The Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (CUPM) kicked off a major curriculum initiative during the recent Mathfest in Providence. CUPM has determined that their curriculum initiative will focus on what students should know and experience as they complete their mathematics requirements, including the types of problems students should be able to solve, the technology students should be able to utilize, and the mathematical and process skills that students should have. CUPM invites all MAA Members and Mathematical Sciences Departments to become involved in discussions by forming focus groups and forwarding your conclusions, along with information about your programs and students, to CUPM. To contribute to the curriculum discussion, send email to CUPM at or hard copy to Tom Berger, Chair of CUPM, Department of Mathematics, Colby College, Waterville, ME 04901. Email contributions are preferred. For more information about the CUPM initiative, visit

Professional Development Calendar

Summer Short Course in Durango

Fort Lewis College will host an MAA Short Course entitled "Teaching Dynamical Systems Across the Curriculum" on June 5th -9th, 2000. The instructor for the course will be Robert L. Devaney from Boston University. The author of several textbooks in dynamical systems theory, Devaney has also written "Chaos, Fractals, and Dynamics: Computer Experiments in Modern Mathematics" and "A Tool Kit of Dynamics Acitivities". This course will focus on methods by which ideas from dynamical systems theory may be included in various parts of the undergraduate curriculum. These topics provide an ideal opportunity to give students (particularly lower division students) a glimpse of modern ideas in mathematics in a setting that is germaine to the course at hand.

For more information contact Annette Cooper, Math Department, Fort Lewis College, 1000 Rim Drive, Durango CO 81301, E-mail, or phone 970-247-7232.

MAA Summer Short Courses at Other Locations

June 4-9: Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA

Viewpoints: Mathematics and Art

Sponsored by the EPADEL Section on the MAA

Contact: Annalisa Crannell,

June 5-10: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY

Partnerships: Engineering and Mathematics

Sponsored by the National MAA.

Contact: Maureen Callanan, 202.265.2384,

Application Deadline: May 1, 2000

June 25-30: University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH

In Search of Newton

Sponsored by the Northeastern Section of the MAA.

Contact: Kelly Black,

June 28-30: Cedarville College, Cedarville, OH

Proofs and Conjectures:

The Story of the Alternating Sign Matrix Conjecture

Sponsored by the Ohio Section of the MAA

Contact: James Sellers, 937.766.7695,

July 17-20: Carroll College, Helena, MT

Partnerships: Life Sciences and Mathematics

Sponsored by the Nati9onal MAA

Contact: Maureen Callanan, 202.265.2384,

Application Deadline: May 1, 2000

Odds and Ends

Searchable Databases Expanded

The searchable database of articles published in Mathematics Magazine has been expanded to include articles from the College Mathematics Journal. One hundred years of the American Mathematical Monthly are also now available for searching and browsing on JSTOR. For more information, visit

From the Editor

What would you like to see in the newsletter? Your suggestions for regular columns and features are needed now! Volunteers to write regular features are also most welcome. In particular, anyone serving on a national committee for the MAA is invited to submit a report for the newsletter. Most of all, wouldn't a new cover logo be nice? Please send your suggestions and art renderings to Janet Barnett (

Upcoming Meetings Calendar

MAA Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Fort Collins, 7 - 8 April 2000

NCTM National Meeting, Chicago, 12 - 15 April 200

International Congress on Mathematics Education, Japan, 30 July - 6 August 2000

MAA Mathfest, Los Angeles, 3 - 5 August 2000

AMS Mathematical Challenges of the 21st Century, UCLA, 7 - 12 August 2000

CCTM Annual Meeting, Denver, October 2000

Joint Mathematics Meetings, New Orleans, 10 - 13 January 2001

NCTM National Meeting, Orlando, 5 - 7 April 2001

MAA Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Gunnison, April 2001

MAA Mathfest, Madison WI, Summer 2001

CCTM Annual Meeting, Denver, October 2001

Joint Mathematics Meetings, San Diego, 6 - 9 January 2002

NCTM National Meeting, Las Vegas, 22 - 24 April 2002

MAA Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Laramie, April 2002

CCTM Annual Meeting, Denver, October 2002