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MATH AT BATES
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Welcome to the Bates College Mathematics Department Newsletter!
The Math Council this winter/spring was amazing!
Many thanks to our hard-working and dedicated organizers.Laura and Melissa's Adventures in the Cornhusker State
In January this semester (right before classes began) I got to travel to New Orleans for four days to participate in the 2007 Joint Mathematics Meetings in New Orleans, Louisiana. The JMM is an annual event that brings mathematicians together for a grand celebration of math and the appreciation of its history. At the conference, the Bates Mathematics department was represented by Professors Bonnie Shulman, Caleb Shor, Meredith Greer, and Peter Wong. I merited the opportunity to participate in this prestigious event owing to my final project in the Mathematical Models in Biology class taught by Professor Shulman. Among the many applicants for the poster presentation, my project on the group decision making in honeybee colonies when finding a new home was accepted for a final exhibition. On hearing the news from the American Mathematical Society, I was extremely happy and even happier when Bates awarded me a Hughes grant to travel to New Orleans. Following my acceptance into the conference, I began to work even harder under the meticulous supervision of Professor Shulman until the final printing of the poster
The flight to New Orleans was an eight hour ordeal full of expectation and anticipation. Except for neighboring New England states, I had never being anywhere else in the US. Once in New Orleans, I was fascinated by the scenery of the French Quarter where I lodged for the duration of my stay. The Marriott, the hotel that I lodged in, was very welcoming of participating mathematicians. The room was top notch as I had two massive beds to myself as well as a first class bathroom, and the always crucial television set with cable to keep me sane. My experience got better when I opened the window to the most breathtaking sight I had ever seen. In my view was the Mississippi River surrounded by the happening streets of the city. However, I had to retire to my comfortable bed because I was so exhausted. Did I mention I had two comfortable beds to myself?
Prior to the day of my performance, I got the chance to attend a couple of presentations with Professor Shulman and her husband Don. One of the presentations was on bivariate coordinates, a digital strategy used in animated movies. Later in the day, I admired the French Quarter with Professor Shulman ending our tour with lunch at a seafood restaurant. Yet again I had to retire early to my room to prepare for the presentation and get a good night sleep.
Finally, the day of reckoning for the poster arrived and I was moderately nervous. It was not particularly sunny as I had anticipated; maybe I should have checked the weather update and not have relied on my spider senses. I had three hours to prepare, have breakfast and set my poster up at my station. It did not take long before the room was filled with over 200 people. I had three judges assigned to my poster. On average I spent 15 minutes explaining my poster to the judges. Basically, my ultimate goal was to convey to the judges that honey bees find a new home based on a quorum decision. This implies that given the potential new sites found by the dancing scout bees in the colony, the colony will migrate to the site with the most bees still dancing for its recommendation at the end of the time the colony has to make a decision. Usually, this is also the best site. Also, I sought to explain that my project uses computer generated Leslie matrices to study the change in the population of dancing honeybee scouts. Often times, some judges that have not been assigned to your poster also question you. I know what you are thinking-- why? Why do they tease one's eagerness to get it over with? Among the 187 participants, 15 are chosen as winners. Unfortunately, I narrowly missed the final fifteen, but that did not stop me from relishing the experience by making a lot of friends, and later having dinner with Professor Caleb Shor who treated me to a fantastic seafood special at a Forest Gump themed restaurant - Go figure.
Till today, words have not expressed how fortunate I feel to have been part of this experience. Let's just say that while I was there at the conference I had an everlasting grin of excitement and amazement on my face. It was an honor to be surrounded by such knowledge and intelligent individuals, and I thank God for keeping me alive for the entire trip, Bates for giving the opportunity to attend the conference, Professor Shulman for her motherly assistance in the project and Brian Pfohl who helped me adjust and print a highly ornate poster.Mathematical Seminars
Winter Semester and Short Term kept up a healthy pace with talks sprinkled throughout and several visitors speaking at Bates. Two highlights: we followed up a visit from Nic Koban last Fall with a visit from his wife, Lori Koban... AND... we hosted the CBB seminar for this semester. Read on for details!
Math Camp this year was intense as usual, but social events and getting outdoors helped to keep the mood light. We had movies in class, a barbecue with upperclass math majors, a field trip to Range Ponds State Park, and a softball game against the History Hell class. Looks like a great crew of math students for the next few years!
This page was last updated May 24, 2007. Email the current editor if you have comments, suggestions ... or a submission for the next issue!