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Welcome to the Bates College Mathematics Department Newsletter!
The Sampson Lecture: Jeff Weeks
photos courtesy of Chip Ross



Dr. Weeks presents to a large crowd in the Filene Room


Meredith Greer and Jeff Weeks, after the evening lecture

This year's Sampson Lecturer was Dr. Jeff Weeks. On October 28, Dr. Weeks gave two fantastic talks: an
afternoon workshop titled "A Beginner's Tour of Curved Space" and an evening public lecture titled
"The Shape of Space". We include the abstracts below.
A Beginner's Tour of Curved Space
Is the universe curved? How can one visualize curved space?
The audience will first construct physical models introducing
the concept of a curved surface. Interactive 3D graphics will
then extend the concept to curved 3dimensional space.
The insights gained will make it easy to see how measurements
of cosmic microwave radiation are now revealing the curvature
of the universe.
For math and science undergraduates, as well as faculty.
This workshop complements the evening presentation,
with only a tiny overlap.


The Shape of Space
When we look out on a clear night, the universe seems infinite.
Yet this infinity might be an illusion. During the first half
of the presentation, computer games will introduce the concept
of a "multiconnected universe". Interactive 3D graphics will
then take the viewer on a tour of several possible shapes for space.
Finally, we'll see how recent satellite data provide tantalizing
clues to the true shape of our universe.
The only prerequisites for this talk are curiosity and imagination.
For middle school and high school students, people interested
in astronomy, and all members of the Bates community.

The Sampson Lecture was a delightful time for all. It was also one of MANY great talks this semester.
Read on for more!
Senior Thesis Presentations
contributed by the presenters
Our senior thesis students present at the end of each semester of their thesis. This semester, all
presentations are in the form of talks, each approximately an hour long. The following titles show the
diversity of their topics; the talks show the students' enthusiasm for their subjects.
November 29: 
"ZermeloFrankel set theory in the Scheme programming language", by Nick Violi. 
December 1: 
"Integral equations and inverse problems", by Heather Bracken. 
December 7: 
"Chaos and Cryptography", by Dave Alie. 
December 8: 
"Symmetric Designs and Difference Sets", by Oliver Gjoneski. 
December 8: 
"Riemann Zeta, padically speaking", by Greg Jukins. 
December 9: 
"How do we define Julia sets?", by Chi Nguyen. 
December 9: 
"BSE and Bifurcations", by Jennifer Hanley. 
Visiting  and Traveling  Talks
contributed by the presenters
September 28: 
Worldrenowned statistician
Herman Chernoff
teaches Melinda Harder's Probability class. He speaks from his consulting experience
about a waterworks system and all the legal and statistical issues surrounding it. 
October 18: 
Joseph Fehribach of
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
gives inside hints about graduate school at WPI, shares lunch, and talks about
"The Nonlinear Elastic String Equations: Graduate Math at WPI". 
October 29: 
Veronika Furst of
The University of Colorado  Boulder
introduces the students to wavelets: "Your very first wavelets talk". 
November 2: 
Arthur Benjamin
of Harvey Mudd College
talks about counting with Fibonacci numbers and shows magic tricks with numbers in "The magic of Fibonacci". 
November 10: 
Steve Fisk
of Bowdoin College tells our Great Ideas in Mathematics
class (MATH 110) about his work on the Art Gallery Theorem. Later that day, he
gives a seminar to the math department about questions that can be answered with polynomials:
"Points in polygons and other polynomials" .

November 12: 
Meredith Greer of
Bates College
gives this semester's CBB Mathematics Lecture at Bowdoin, titled "Prion Proliferation: Modeling, Analysis and
Impact". 
Departmental Seminars
contributed by the presenters
Seminars, held a few times each semester,
give math faculty a chance to explain our research and mathematical interests to each
other. We also use seminars as an opportunity to work through new problems and gain feedback from others.
September 22: 
Peter Wong:
"How do you recognize a fiber bundle when you see one?"

October 6: 
John Rhodes:
"Algebraic statistics and tensor rank" 
October 13: 
Pallavi Jayawant:
"Graphs and orthogonal polynomials" 
Math Council
contributed by Nate Stambaugh

The Math Council has held various relaxing and social events this
semester, with hopes of having one more event during finals week. On
Friday October 8th (during Parent's Weekend) we had a pizza dinner
gathering in the math lounge, where students, faculty, and even a couple
of parents socialized and played games. There have also been a
few meetings between math majors and students enrolled in a number of
math classes. The goal of these meetings was to provide a setting for
students and majors to share different perspectives on the math
department here at Bates. We are planning to have a relaxed lunch in the
math lounge on Monday, December 13th. 
Left: Rachel Philio enjoys pizza and company at the October 8 dinner. 
Other Social Events
photo courtesy of Chip Ross

Dinner with Ed Burger

We have had several visitors this semester!
Ed Burger
of Williams College
came to Bates in October to run a workshop on Quantitative
Literacy Across the Curriculum. The night before, he met several math faculty and students for
Thai takeout.
Veronika Furst,
who gave a talk on wavelets to a large and varied crowd of math students, met with
SWIMS
members for a long lunch, where we chatted about women in graduate school and mathematics.
November 6 was the annual math meet at Colby College. Bates students Emmanuel Drabo, Cassandra Kirkland,
Nate Stambaugh, and faculty members Pallavi Jayawant and Peter Wong, attended. Nate even came home
with a prize!
Our newest math class, Great Ideas in Mathematics, held a Heart of Mathematics fair on
December 1. There was a huge turnout, including LOTS of students as well as visiting mathematicians
from other Bates classes and nearby schools. Students from the class presented posters and demonstrations
on topics including infinity, codes, fractals, chaos, voting, mathematics of art and music, and more.
New Classes
photo courtesy of Chip Ross

The Math Department offers several new classes this year, and we are excited about all of them.
During the Fall Semester, we have Great Ideas in Mathematics, in which students
"contemplate some of the greatest and most intriguing creations of human thought, from Pythagoras to
the fourth dimension, from chaos to symmetry" (taken from the course description). This Winter
Semester, senior seminar students will contemplate wavelets for the ALMOSTfirst time, thanks to
Veronika Furst's
talk this fall. And during Short Term, students will reap the benefits of work last
summer by Leslie Milk '05 and Nate Stambaugh '06, who collaborated with Chip Ross and Meredith Greer to create
the unit "Roller Coasters: Theory, Design, and Properties". (We thank the Howard Hughes Medical
Institute for funding for this project.) 
Left: Nate Stambaugh presents a rolling ball roller coaster model at a poster
session celebrating student research projects. 
This page was last updated December 7, 2004.
Email the current editor if you have comments, suggestions ... or
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