- FEATURE COLUMN and MATH IN THE MEDIA - APRIL ISSUES
This month's Feature Column is "Mathematics and Sports," by Joe Malkevitch. Malkevitch notes that the first areas where people think about mathematics being applied are in the sciences and engineering. Yet mathematics plays a large role in the efficiency of sports. The April Math in the Media includes
Tony Phillips' Take (Electronic topology of annulenes, "The Joy of x", Issey Miyake meets William Thurston, Fermat's last stand, and New math symbols); Math Digest: summaries of media coverage of
mathematics and mathematicians, including a couple of articles about math and the Olympics; and Reviews. (Photo: Mikaye models on the runway, wearing clothing inspired by topology. Photograph by Frédérique Dumoulin, used courtesy Issey Miyake USA.)
- CINEMATH: A FESTIVAL OF MATH FILMS
The AMS is pleased to co-sponsor a festival of screenings and airings of
math films in Rhode Island, April 9-18. First comes a screening at the Rhode
Island School of Design of Between the Folds, the fascinating documentary
exploring the science, art, creativity and ingenuity of many of the world's
best paper folders. The screening is April 9 at 7:00 p.m., with filmmaker
Vanessa Gould ) available after the screening for Q&A
and to meet the audience. During the week of April 12, Rhode Island PBS will
air Hunting the Hidden Dimension, Hard Problems: The Road to the Toughest
Math Contest, Between the Folds, Gearing Up, It All Adds Up, and Designing the Future. On April 17 and 18, the Providence Public Library
will show Stand and Deliver, Good Will Hunting, and A Beautiful Mind.
Cinemath 2010 is made possible by the AMS, AMTRAK, ClickWhirlImage, the
Providence Public Library, and Rhode Island PBS.
- WHO WANTS TO BE A MATHEMATICIAN AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Read about the contest and a lecture "Prime Factorization" by Michael Zieve (University of Michigan), which made up a delightful morning of mathematics at the university. The big winners were Neil Gurram (Detroit Country Day School)--back row, second from right--who won $3000 and a TI-Nspire graphing calculator and Whit Froehlich (Greenhills School)--back row, far left--who won $500 and a TI-Nspire. In addition to talking about number theory, Zieve--front row, no t-shirt--explained why he is a mathematician.
- NCSU MATHEMATICS DEPARTMENT RECEIVES AMS NATIONAL AWARD
The Mathematics Department at North Carolina State University has received
the 2010 AMS Award for an Exemplary Program or Achievement in a Mathematics
Department, for its effective programs that blend interdisciplinary and foundation research, its student-centered approach, high-quality teaching and mentoring, strong ties to industry, and welcoming environment for underrepresented groups. (Photo: Participants in the 2009 North Carolina State University REU in Mathematics. Photo courtesy of the NCSU Mathematics Department.)
- TWO PROGRAMS HONORED FOR OUTSTANDING EFFORTS TO BRING UNDERREPRESENTED GROUPS INTO MATHEMATICS
The AMS honors two programs that do an outstanding job of bringing more
individuals from underrepresented minority groups into the mathematical
sciences. For 2010 the honored programs are the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics
at Rice University, and the Summer Program in Quantitative Sciences at the
Harvard School of Public Health.
Photos: (Top) Richard Tapia with students. Photo courtesy of Rice Center for Excellence and Equity in Education.
(Bottom) The 2009 Summer Program in Quantitative Sciences student group, Harvard School of Public Health. Photo by Catherine Haskell, Diversity Program Coordinator, Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health.
- THREE MATH PROJECTS IN THE 2010 INTEL SCIENCE TALENT SEARCH TOP TEN
The following students presented math projects that finished in the top 10 in the 2010 Intel Science Talent Search.
Akhil Mathew (left) of Madison, New Jersey won third place and US$50,000 for his project on Deligne categories, combining algebraic geometry, representation theory and category theory in his work. He was able to show that under certain finiteness assumptions, important properties of the categories are determined by constructible sets. Akhil moderates an online math forum run by Johns Hopkins University and has taken courses at Drew University since he was in the eighth grade. He hopes to continue his studies at either Harvard or MIT.
Lynelle Lin Ye (left) of Palo Alto, California won fourth place and $40,000 for her analysis of the game of Chomp, in which she sought a way to find the winner of two-person combinatorial games assuming perfect information. In her project she produced a general method which allowed her to analyze certain subset-takeaway games, including those played on bipartite graphs and complete n-partite graphs. She received a gold medal in the 2008 China Girls Math Olympiad when she was the team's top scorer. Lynelle volunteers as a math coach and finds combinatorial game theory both elegant and fascinating. She would like to continue to do research in game theory and plans to work toward a PhD in mathematics.
Katherine Rebecca Rudolph (left) of Naperville, Illinois won eighth place and $20,000 for her project on sphere packing. She improved a lower bound on the maximal density of sphere packing in dimensions higher than three (assuming a conjecture of Torquato and Stillinger). She is the captain of her school's math team and plans to major in math in college at MIT or Caltech. Her career goal is to become a research mathematician.
The top prize of $100,000 went to Erika DeBenedictis of Albuquerque, New Mexico for her project to help improve space travel. The Intel Science Talent Search is administered by the Society for Science & the Public.
- NOTICES OF THE AMS--APRIL ISSUE
April is Mathematics Awareness Month and this year's theme is "Math and Sports." Some of this month's articles on that theme are: a feature article, "Baseball and Markov Chains: Power Hitting and Power Series," by John P. D'Angelo; "The Science of a Drive," by Douglas N. Arnold; and "Can Baseball Be Used to Teach Statistics?," a review by Mason A. Porter of Teaching Statistics Using Baseball, by Jim Albert. Other feature articles---on mathematics and the profession---are "Life on the Mathematical Frontier: Legendary Figures and Their Adventures," by Roger Cooke; "Seized Opportunities," by Victor H. Moll; and "Awareness of Ethical Pitfalls: A Requirement for Professional Protection," by Catherine A. Roberts. The April issue also contains "A Photographic Look at the Joint Meetings, San Francisco, 2010," and the 2010 AMS prizes.
- PI DAY SUDOKU
Brainfreeze Puzzles has created a Sudoku puzzle for Pi Day (3-14). To celebrate Pi Day, the given clues are the first
18 digits of pi = 3.14159265358979323... . See "Sudoku Squares and Chromatic Polynomials," (pdf) by Agnes M. Herzberg and H. Ram Murty in the June/July 2007 issue of Notices for more on math and Sudoku. (Click here for a slightly larger version of the puzzle.)
- MATH IMAGE TAKES FIRST IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING VISUALIZATION CHALLENGE
The image at left, Kuen's Surface: A Meditation on Euclid, Lobachevsky, and Quantum Fields, by Richard Palais and Luc Benard of the University of California, Irvine, tied for first in the Illustration category in the 2009 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. The illustration shows sketches of Kuen's surface and the expression that generates it. Palais said, "We wanted to talk about these equations in a way that non-mathematicians could understand. So we took a symbolic approach: The surface itself stands as a symbol for that equation." Benard used more than 200 hours of computer time to render the surface. Science, together with the National Science Foundation, presented the winners in its February 19 issue. Click here to see a larger version of the image. In addition, you can see all the winners at the NSF site or at Science's site (the latter is free but you have to register).
- AMS EPSILON FUND MAKES 2010 AWARDS
The AMS has chosen the following ten summer mathematics programs to receive Epsilon grants for 2010:
* All Girls/All Math, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Gwendolen Hines, director
* Lamar Achievement in Mathematics Program (LAMP), Lamar University, Beaumont, TX, Sandra Richardson and Otilia Urbina, directors
* MathPath, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN, Stephen Maurer and George R. Thomas, directors
* PROMYS, Boston University, Glenn Stevens, director
* PROTaSM (Puerto Rico Opportunities for Talented Students in Mathematics), University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Luis F. Cáceres, director
* Research Science Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, Maite Ballestero, director
* Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC), Stanford University, Stanford, CA, Rick Sommer, director
* Stony Brook Mathematics Camp, State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook, Lisa Berger, director
* Texas State Honors Summer Math Camp, Texas State University, San Marcos, Max Warshauer, director
* Young Scholars Program, University of Chicago, Paul J. Sally, director
One participant in last summer's Texas State Honors Summer Math Camp said: "Math Camp opened my eyes to many things. I learned to do math for the sake of learning and discovery, instead of slogging through problems." See a list of summer programs, which has links to the programs above. (The image is from the 2009 MathPath summer program [the plastic in John Conway's mouth was used to protect a knot that the students undid using Reidemeister moves].)
- MATHEMATICS AT THE 2010 AAAS MEETING
Read about mathematics-related events at the 2010 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Among the themes of symposia related to mathematics are:
*First-Person Solvers? Learning Mathematics in a Video Game
*Traffic, Crowds, and Society
*Real Numbers: Mathematical Technologies for Counterterrorism and Border Security
*Moving Across Scales: Mathematics for Investigating Biological Hierarchies
*Mathematics and the Analysis of Fairness in Political Processes
(Image courtesy of Keith Devlin.)
- HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2010 JOINT MATHEMATICS MEETINGS
See write-ups, photos and slideshows of the 2010 meetings in San Francisco in January. Nearly 5,800 mathematicians, exhibitors and students attended. Students presented posters, met with their friends and mentors, heard talks, attended the annual Prize Ceremony and receptions, and saw a wide range of exhibitors.
- MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR UNDERGRADUATE EXPERIENCE
Here are some ways to take advantage of your experience as an undergraduate: join a math club or a student math chapter; find and use a mentor; present a poster at a math conference (pictured here are undergraduate poster presenters with other participants and judges at the 2009 national SACNAS conference); attend local or national meetings of the professional societies (AMS, ASA, AWM, MAA, SIAM, SACNAS); write a math paper for an undergraduate journal (e.g. SIAM Undergraduate Research Online, Involve, Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Math Journal, Harvard College Mathematics Review); think about applying to a summer REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates program); ask the math department chair or a faculty member about resources available in the department and library; collaborate with your fellow math students on a problem; rent a math film; and consider graduate school -- compare mathematics graduate programs all over the U.S. and attend the annual Grad School Fair at the Joint Mathematics Meetings. See more resources to help you on your way.
- KEEP A LOOKOUT TO SEE NEW POSTINGS ON THESE WEBSITES:
- AMS GRADUATE STUDENT BLOG
The AMS Graduate Student Blog is a blog by and for math graduate
students, managed by Frank Morgan, AMS vice-president, and professor of
mathematics at Williams College. "Graduate students are the future of the
AMS, and they have a lot to talk about," says Morgan. The Graduate Student
Editorial Board members are Asher Auel, Adam Boocher, Diana Davis, Daniel
Erman, Fernando Galaz, Brian Katz, Alex Levin, Kathryn Lindsey, Andrew Obus,
David Shea Vela-Vick, Clay Shonkwiler, Annalies Z. Vuong, and Tom Wright.
Morgan hopes that more graduate students from around the country will join
the board. The blog entries to date concern organizing a reading seminar,
how to give a good mathematics talk, advice for beginning teaching
assistants, navigating seminars and finding an advisor--topics of great
importance to graduate students, who are all are invited to join the
community by posting comments, questions and advice on the blog, hosted by
*Recently posted on the Grad Student Blog is an interview with Terence Tao.
- DISCOVERIES AND BREAKTHROUGHS INSIDE SCIENCE
How is math used to create special effects in movies? How does math used in origami help design the best way to fold an airbag for optimum deployment and compute the optimum configuration of space telescope lenses? How can math help allocate resources to best benefit all parties? How could math prevent icicles from forming on power lines? The AMS partners with the American Institute of Physics to contribute toward the production of Discoveries and Breakthroughs Inside Science, video segments on the latest discoveries and applications of mathematics that are aired on local TV news programs all over the country. The AMS page links to several of the video spots on mathematical applications.
- NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MATH CIRCLES
The National Association of Math Circles (NAMC) website is for the community of students, parents, teachers, and math circle organizers. Math circles join math-related professionals and motivated middle and high school students in informal after-school settings to work on interesting problems and topics in math. There are currently 58 math circles in the U.S. See the NAMC website to locate local math circles and search for summer math camps, math events, and math competitions--from regional to national to international Olympiads.
- PLUS MAGAZINE - NEW ISSUE
"If you have ever felt the need for speed, then this is the issue for you!
Andy Green tells us how maths is going to help him break his own land speed
record by driving a supersonic Bloodhound at 1,000mph. But if you prefer a
more sedate pace, then why not try your hand at juggling, search for a
Gomboc on the seashore, contemplate your bathroom floor, or just gaze out
at the horizon. And find out how probability can give you the winning edge,
whether you are playing the markets, or the beautiful game." From the editors of Plus.
- THE GNARLY GNEWS
The latest edition of this humorous math newsletter tells us about racing:
* Bikes (what went wrong on the Tour de France in 1904?)
* Cars (does the average speed of cars in the Indy 500 get bigger every year?)
* Horses, including steeplechasers (do you know how steeplechasing got its name?)
* Humans (was there ever an Olympic games solely for women?)
* Chariots (were the first chariot races in Greece or Rome?)
Read the Racing Issue of the Gnews and you'll find answers to all these questions.
- CHECK OUT THESE WEBSITES:
- MUSEUM OF MATHEMATICS
The new Museum of Mathematics--the only one in the U.S.--strives to enhance public understanding and perception of mathematics. Its dynamic exhibits and programs will stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of mathematics. The museum’s activities will lead a broad and diverse audience to understand the evolving, creative, human, and aesthetic nature of mathematics.
- WHEN WILL I USE MATH?
Did you know that Art Garfunkel, of Simon & Garfunkel, has a Master's degree in math? The new website, When Will I Use Math?, hosted by Brigham Young University's Math Department, includes lots of interesting facts and valuable information on nearly 40 careers. For instance, if you are interested in being a computational biologist, the site lets you know the potential salary range, what math courses would be required, how math is used in the job, and other important information. Explore the website to see "how to succeed in math", "did you know?" and "resources for teachers." Image courtesy of the BYU Mathematics Department.
- FAMOUS MATHEMATICS MAJORS
Did you know that basketball player Michael Jordan started out as a math major, or that Teri Hatcher (Lois Lane on "Lois and Clark") was a mathematics and engineering major at DeAnza Junior College? See a list of famous individuals from the worlds of sports, entertainment, politics, writing and finance on this web page created by the Rose-Hulman Math Club.
- MATH EN JEU - A NEW INTERACTIVE MULTIMEDIA GAME
How does this online game work?
* create your own identity;
* launch a new game or join a game in progress;
* and it's started!
Math en Jeu was developed by SMAC (Sciences and Mathematics in Action), directed by Professor Jean-Marie De Koninck and a team at the department of mathematics and statistics of Université Laval, and is offered in English or French. "This is basically a board game with a mathematical flavor. Up to four players confront each other in a game by moving on a randomly created board. The players try to accumulate as many coins as possible before the time runs out. To be able to win coins, each player must answer mathematical questions. The more spaces in a move, the harder the question, and the more coins it is worth." See the Math en Jeu website to read more about how the game works, learn about the question bank, and start playing!
- WHO'S YOUR FAVORITE FICTIONAL MATHEMATICIAN?
The PLUS Magazine Blog asks the question and invites readers to pick from among a list of 18 fictional characters. The Square (Flatland)? Charlie Eppes (Numb3rs)? Professor Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes)? You can also view the results of the poll, which re-calculates on an ongoing basis the voter favorites. And if your favorite character isn't on the list you can submit a comment to the blog editors.
- L'EXPLOSION DES MATHEMATIQUES
The Société Mathématique de France (French Mathematical Society) has translated into English "L'explosion des mathématiques," an illustrated booklet on the many applications of mathematics. Chapters include "What lies behind mobile phones," "Preventing waves from making noise," "From DNA to knot theory," "How to rationalize auction sales," "Puzzles for airline companies," "Financial options pricing," and more. Download individual chapters or the entire pdf of the English-language version of the "L'explosion des mathématiques" booklet.
- NUMB3RS MATH ACTIVITIES
The Mathematics Department at Cornell University has developed a series of materials on math behind the TV show Numb3rs. To date there are over 60 topics related to episodes in the first four seasons, including "Counterfeit Reality," "In Plain Sight," "The Mole," "Pandora's Box," and "Tabu." (Image to left: Diagram from Cornell's "Tabu" of a "tabu search, a kind of local search in which one moves from point to nearby point, trying to find an optimal solution." Graphic used with permission.) Each topic includes a brief synopsis of the program's plot and how the mathematician character Charlie used math to solve the crime, a more in-depth look at the mathematics, and often a suggested activity or a "Tangent"--a tidbit of historical background or other application of the mathematics.
- MOVIES ON THE FUTURES CHANNEL
See a series of brief movies that connect math to the real world: "First one in the ballpark," "Air coasters," "Ingrid's cross-country practice," "Tetradice," "Response time," and "New car tips," are just a few of the topics.
- MAA STUDENT WEB PAGE
See postings about MAA events, meetings (including Mathfest), and publications, plus guides for students on giving a good presentation and more.
- MATH DOCTORAL PROGRAMS WEBPAGE
The webpage has separate lists for doctoral programs in mathematics, applied
mathematics and operations research, statistics/biostatistics, and mathematics education. The page was created and is maintained by Sarah-Marie Belcastro.
- HELP AT DIFFERENT STAGES IN YOUR MATH CAREER
The Art of Problem Solving website lists mathematics scholarships including national
mathematics scholarship competitions, university-specific mathematics
scholarships, and links to other opportunities such as study abroad and
summer programs. Use the 2008 Assistantships & Graduate Fellowships in
the Mathematical Sciences to compare graduate math programs, see
stipend amounts, locate sources of support, and more. See what past math
majors are doing now, on the Early Career Profile
Network. See the AMS web page for job-seekers that
includes links to advice on how to develop your curriculum vitae, interview,
decide if teaching is for you, apply for jobs, and more.
- SELECTED MATH BLOGS
See these sites for interesting math blogs, and give the authors feedback:
bit-player, by Brian Hayes,
Senior Writer for American Scientist; Numb3rs, by Mark
Bridger, Northeastern University; What's New, by Terence Tao, University of California, Los Angeles; MathTrek Blogs, by Julie J. Rehmeyer, Science News Web Editor and Mathematics Writer; The Mathematical Tourist, by Ivars Peterson, MAA Director of Publications for Journals and Communications; Teaching College Math Technology Blog, by Maria H. Anderson, Muskegon Community College; and Carnival of Mathematics, hosted by WordPress.com.