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MATH AT BATES
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Welcome to the Bates College Mathematics Department Newsletter!
Mount David Summit
This year's Mount David Summit was held Friday, April 1. Seniors Dave Alie, Heather Bracken, and Chi Nguyen presented posters on their senior theses while senior Jennifer Hanley gave a talk on her honors thesis.
Bates students Melissa Geddes, Jennifer Hanley, Emily Katz, Cassandra Kirkland, Nate Stambaugh, Alicia Voukides and faculty member Meredith Greer attended the annual Hudson River Undergraduate Mathematics Conference held at Williams College on April 30. Two students gave presentations: Nate talked about the mathematics of roller coasters and Emily discussed the convergence of subharmonic series. Here is what Emily says about the experience:
Joint Mathematics Meetings
Seniors Jennifer Hanley and Oliver Gjoneski attended the annual Joint Mathematics Meetings in January 2005 along with faculty members Meredith Greer, John Rhodes, and Peter Wong. Jennifer gave a talk on her summer research program and presented a poster on her senior thesis. Oliver says the following about his talk and his experience:
The Math Council and SWIMS cohosted an alumni panel composed of actuaries Susan Pierce and Tori Peterson, researcher Maria Joachim, lawyer Racehl Hampe, graduate student Caleb Shor and professor Jill Shahverdian. The panelists described their career paths and answered all sorts of questions from a group of students eager to learn about life after Bates.
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.
The Math Council sponsored two meetings in which faculty members and current seniors discussed the capstone experience for the benefit of future math majors. There was pizza to go with the interesting discussion.
On Friday, April 8, the last day of winter semester classes, all math major and concentrators were treated to a feast of delicacies prepared by their instructors.
Throughout the day, the halls of Hathorn were abuzz with excitement as rumor and speculation circulated about the secret ingredient in Professor Ross's legendary brownies. I determined to learn the identity of this ingredient not just for myself, but for you, dear reader.
At first sight of the brownies, my mouth began to water.
After eating one, my palate was atingle. After two, my taste buds were in ecstasy. Devouring the third brownie, I began to feel a warm glow. Upon eating the fouth, I was at peace with the world.
Swallowing my fifth delicious brownie, I suddenly realized the identity of the mystery ingredient. Thrilled with my discovery, and perhaps a bit overconfident as a result, I continued to eat more and more of Ross's scrumptious snacks.
Alas, gentle reader, after ten or twelve brownies, my mind (and the room) began to spin and my memory to fade. I staggered out of the building and back to my room. When I awoke the next morning, I realized to my dismay that I had forgotten the name of the secret ingredient. (I had also forgotten my impressions of all the other math professors' treats, but my friends assure me that I loved them all and swore eternal devotion to the chefs.)
Although I admit defeat to the brownies this year, I vow to conquer them at a future math food feast and thus uncover Professor Ross's secret. Just don't let me eat more than five next time.
Last fall, the Great Ideas in Mathematics course was offered for the first time. Here is what Brittany Zuckerman says about the course:
This fall, students will think about shortest paths between two locations in the course Graph Algorithms. The course will be developed during summer by Pallavi Jayawant and Eric Towne. (We thank the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for funding the development of the course.)
This year's Math Camp students are finding out that, although it is never wise to favor style over substance, style points do count. Some key tips they have been given so far are the following.
2 out of 3 math instructors consider it extremely bad form to start a sentence with a number or symbol.
The uninterrupted use of the word "so" to link implications in a proof runs the risk of boring the reader and causing the writer some humiliation. So, the students have been getting accustomed to using other connectives, such as "thus" and "consequently".
The abbreviations "i.e." and "e.g" do NOT mean the same thing, for crying out loud! I.e., you should not use them interchangeably.
Check back next year for more style tips, or just ask your favorite Math Camper.
This page was last updated May 11, 2005. Email the current editor if you have comments, suggestions ... or a submission for the next issue!