The Sampson Lecture
  Mathematical Induction
  Thesis, Posters, Pizza
  Mathematical Seminars
  Math Council



Welcome to the Bates College Mathematics Department Newsletter!

The Sampson Lecture: Jennifer Quinn   photos courtesy of Chip Ross
Our speaker, Jennifer Quinn, poses with several members of the math department (she is the one in the middle!)

A sizeable audience awaits the evening lecture

Professor Jennifer Quinn, of The Association for Women in Mathematics, packed the house - on a Friday night no less! - for this year's Sampson Lecture on November 10. The topic was "Fabulous Fibonacci Numbers" and local radio station WCNM, AM 1240 advertised the talk with this interview.

Jennifer also gave an afternoon talk titled "Synchronicity: Alternating Sums, Determinants, Continued Fractions & More".

Mathematical Induction   article courtesy of Eric Towne

At the stroke of noon on October 3, a set of math students and a group of instructors converged on Hathorn 104 for the College's first ever Mathematical Induction Ceremony. Though some might claim that such an event is derivative of similar gatherings held by fraternities and sororities, we hope that it will prove to be an integral part of the math major experience here at Bates.

Attendance was limited to math majors and those planning to declare themselves majors, and spirits were unbounded as we sampled a complex array of lunch treats. The success of the base case of this event leads us to conjecture that we can do it again and again, ad infinitum.

After the ceremony, all declared math majors received a gift in the form of a keychain with a domino and the words "Bates Math Induction" inscribed on it. This made many wonder about the significance of this present. Which of the following describes why the gift was chosen?

a) Math opens the keys to many doors.
b) Mathematical induction can be likened to a progression of infinitely many dominoes toppling over in order.
c) We need dominoes to help math majors to learn to count.
d) Both (a) and (b).
e) None of the above.

Answer at bottom of Newsletter.

Thesis, Posters, Pizza   photos courtesy of Meredith Greer
Alex Salton gets ready for the poster session to start Ben Clinton explains the code embedded in his poster border
Graham Enos draws a crowd to learn about cryptography Laura Clarkson connects M.C. Escher and wallpaper groups

This semester saw four great posters (photos above) by fall one-semester thesis students. At the end of the poster session, we celebrated with pizza for all. Year-long thesis students gave presentations, and we look forward to more from them next semester! Their talk titles follow.

  • On November 28, Abby Dalton talked about "A Look at Public Key Cryptography and Elliptic Curve Cryptosystems".
  • On December 4, Steve Tyler gave the presentation "It's a Small World After All: Generating Small-World Networks to Understand Real World Phenomena".
  • On December 5, Melissa Geddes explained "The Traveling Salesman Problem".
Mathematical Seminars   contributed by the presenters

This year the Math Department has returned to its usual seminar series, after a year of specially focused Seminars on Computing in the Bates Math Curriculum. The Fall 2006 semester included talks by many of the newest members of the math faculty as well as enjoyable visitors.

September 20

Meredith Greer: "A Prion Disease Model, R_0 Calculation, and Adaptations"

October 4

Nicholas Dzhelepov: "Weight Enumerators in Coding Theory and Algebra"

October 25

Nic Koban of The University of Maine at Farmington: "Two geometric invariants of infinite groups"

October 27

Laurie Heyer of Davidson College: "Computing with Bacteria to Solve the Pancake Problem", a special Seminar in Mathematical Biology Curriculum Initiatives

November 8

Caleb Shor: "Genus calculations - counting gaps with postage stamps"

November 17

Alex Ghitza of Colby College: "Graph theory and arithmetic geometry", the CBB seminar talk, held this semester at Bowdoin College

Math Council  

Math Council again sponsored an Ice Cream Social to get math students together early this semester! On October 11, they treated us to many flavors of ice cream, along with toppings of both the candy and gooey varieties.

From the email introducing Math Council the newest bunch of Batesies:

"The student-run Math Council has, over the years, sponsored many events ranging from info meetings about thesis (always followed by pizza and soft drinks), movies and spaghetti dinners at Frye Street Union, to lectures for students by outside speakers. Last year one especially fun event was an end of the year dinner at Margaritas! We want to continue this tradition of fun social events involving both faculty and students, *BUT* we NEED your input and participation."

[Answer is d.]

This page was last updated December 13, 2006. Email the current editor if you have comments, suggestions ... or a submission for the next issue!