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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, March 24. Seniors Chrissy Anderson, Tanya Nauvel, Nate Stambaugh, and Lucia Tiererova presented posters on their senior theses.
Eric Towne, a member of the audience, says the following about a "Wicked Cool" talk hosted by the Math Council.
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.
The Math and Science Panel 2006 was jointly organized by SWIMS and the Math Council in March, 2006. For a detail account and photos, check out the SWIMS website.
Toward the end of short term, on May 17, 2006, math majors, math minors, math camp students and math department people enjoyed a relaxing dinner hosted by the Math Council at a local Mexican restaurant. It was a time of celebration and reflection on the year that had gone by.
This semester the department continued its computational seminars project that began in Fall 2005. More information about the project is in the Fall 2005 newsletter. David Haines talked about the use of the programming language Scheme in his course Computers and Abstract Mathematics. Grace Coulombe discussed the use of the Apps menu on TI-83 and TI-84 calculators, showing how it helps to graph and transform functions and to fit curves given data sets.
Blood, Sweat, and Tear
No, that's not a typo in the title. This year's Math Camp picnic featured all three of these elements.
Blood, drawn from the lower lip of Mai Hoang by the elbow of Dylan Mogk, and
Sweat, on the faces of Nick Bartlett and Eric Towne after riding 21+ miles from Bates to the picnic and being chased by a non-trivial number of dogs along the way, and
Tear, in the seat of Razin Mustafiz's pants, suffered while playing soccer.
The picnic was graciously hosted by Professor Shulman and her husband, Don McCarthy, at their wonderfully-situated and exotically-shaped home in Poland.
When the guests saw a fire truck with lights flashing racing down the hill, some thought that surely all the intellectual firepower present had combined, perhaps with the assistance of the several charcoal grills in use, to ignite a blaze. In fact, the fire was a short distance away near the shoreline of the pond. The cause remains under investigation, and as we go to press, no math student is suspected; however, we do know the following to be (vacuously) true: if the fire was started by a Math Camper, that person's name is Alex Jorge.
Differential Equations Poster Session
Amid the hustle and bustle of finals week, the students of Bonnie Shulmanís Differential Equations class provided an entertaining and educational break with their poster session. The posters encompassed a semesterís worth of independent investigation. Topics varied widely, as each student designed his or her own project, thus reflecting the individualís personal interests.
Senior economics major Will Richards studied the differing rates of memorization of his peers. Will conducted his own research, designing and distributing quizzes to the participants in his study. His counterpart, senior David Shear looked at lake pollutants and how fast they can destroy an eco-system. He illustrated his points with a combination of a creative hand-made poster and an interactive computer aid. Andrew Loula investigated the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Fascinating pictures of the bridge and its collapse accompanied his mathematical discussion of the phenomenon using the harmonic oscillator model. Several students even explored the same topics. Rebecca Kunzendorf and Deidre Goode both examined the use of differential equations in distinguishing between art forgeries and originals. Deidre looked at the situation from a more historical perspective, citing the Van Meegeren incident, while Rebecca focused on the derivation and application of the necessary equations. In addition Kerry Glavin and Mike Wilson analyzed the use of differential equations to model the success rate of relationships and love affairs. Mikeís project followed one couple through the years at Bates and projected whether the relationship could remain lustful after Bates. On the other hand, Kerry played with variables to depict three very different relationships us: Jack and Diane, Romeo and Juliet, and Harry and Sally. Other topics students discussed included the Lorenz equation, the spread of gastroenteritis at Bates College, predator-prey models and optimum amount of time a traffic light should stay yellow.
Chai, chocolate covered strawberries and the promise of differential equations applied to real world situations created a personal and lively atmosphere. Visitors included both professors from the department and those less mathematically-inclined. Throughout the session, guests circulated through the posters as Diff. E. Q-ers animatedly talked about their semesterís work. Though outside the gray clouds reflected the grim atmosphere of finals week, the combination of desserts, discussion and differential equations illuminated Skelton Lounge.
Quickly Exhausting Dictionaries
That's what this year's Math Camp students have been doing as they try to find new and original ways of indicating the end of their proofs. Tired of the old-fashioned Q.E.D. or that little square at the termination of a proof, they've instead been very creative and employed a variety of other concluding words, including the following.
Shazam! Yahtzee! Tada!
Wowza! Voila. Booyakasha.
Proof! There it is. Cool beans.
Smokin' High fives all around.
And the crowd rejoices.
This page was last updated May 22, 2006. Email the current editor if you have comments, suggestions ... or a submission for the next issue!