Fall 2010

Date | Location | Speaker | Title |
---|---|---|---|

Thursday September 9 |
UW-Platteville Ottensman 144 |
James Swenson UWP |
π is irrational |

Wednesday September 15 |
Loras College Hennessy 250 |
Ben Ellison UW-Richland |
Infinity in 45 Minutes or Less |

Thursday September 23 |
UW-Platteville Ottensman 144 |
Leonida Ljumanovic UWP |
Does the Majority Always Rule? |

Friday October 1 |
Loras College Hennessy 250 |
Dave Gaebler University of Iowa |
Information Theory: Classical and Quantum |

Wednesday October 20 |
Loras College Hennessy 250 |
Dan Willis Loras College |
What is Numerical Analysis? |

Thursday October 28 |
UW-Platteville Ottensman 144 |
Chris Frayer UWP |
The Mathematics of Rock Climbing: Taking a Whipper |

Friday November 5 |
Loras College Hennessy 250 |
Judy Munshower Clarke University |
Some Amazing Sums |

Thursday November 11 |
UW-Platteville Ottensman 144 |
Mu-Ling Chang UWP |
How Many Guests Were There? |

Friday November 19 |
Loras College Hennessy 250 |
Ed Hanson UW-Madison |
Graphs and Matrices |

Wednesday December 1 |
Loras College Hennessy 250 |
Clem Jeske UWP |
Who's Guarding the Gallery? |

**Speaker**- Dr. James Swenson
**Title**- π is irrational
**Abstract**π is the most famous irrational number, but we don't often get to see a proof that π really is irrational. We'll examine a recent proof, due to Zhou and Markov, that uses only techniques from Calc II.

James Swenson is in his sixth year at UWP. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, studying algebraic topology under the direction of Mark Feshbach. In his spare time he hangs out with his family, reads, plays games, and directs a choir. He likes both pie and π.

**Speaker**- Dr. Ben Ellison
**Title**- Infinity in 45 Minutes or Less
**Abstract**Infinity is a word that is used on a daily basis. But what do we really know about infinity? How big is it? Can we make infinity even bigger? In this talk, I'll describe how infinity was originally considered, describe how mathematicians came to see infinity, and how this seemingly difficult topic has led to some really interesting discoveries that mathematicians still investigate today. I will include some theorems that should be accessible to everyone, regardless of mathematical background.

Ben Ellison is an Assistant Professor in the math department at the University of Wisconsin - Richland.

**Speaker**- Dr. Leonida Ljumanovic
**Title**- Does the Majority Always Rule?
**Abstract**These days we cannot avoid hearing about the elections and voting. However, we often do not ask ourselves about the voting methods, even though we all know that it is important how the votes are counted. In the first part of the talk, we will briefly go over some different voting methods and discuss the issues of fairness in these methods. We will see that in fact the majority does not necessarily always rule. Furthermore, we will discuss and prove Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem, which states that no voting method is perfect.

Leonida Ljumanovic is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at UW-Platteville. She graduated from the University of Iowa in 2008, under the direction of Dr. George Nelson.

**Speaker**- Dave Gaebler
**Title**- Information Theory: Classical and Quantum
**Abstract**Information theory is a branch of mathematics which seeks to quantify how much information is in a message, computer file, or block of text. We will discuss Shannon's classical definitions of information and entropy, as well as applications to data compression, error-correcting codes, and cryptography. We will also briefly describe the newer field of quantum information theory, and some of the current efforts to develop an analogous theory in this setting.

Dave Gaebler is currently a graduate student at the University of Iowa.

**Speaker**- Dr. Dan Willis
**Title**- What Is Numerical Analysis?
**Abstract**Realistic mathematical models in science and engineering generally lead to complicated equations. These equations are so complicated that they can’t be solved exactly. When this happens a digital computer may be used to generate approximate solutions. These approximate solutions are often accurate enough to make predictions about the system being studied.

Numerical Analysis is the study of the accuracy and efficiency of the algorithms that are used to generate these approximate solutions. The study of Numerical Analysis requires a solid foundation in undergraduate-level Mathematics (especially Calculus and Linear Algebra), some facility with computer programming, and a background or interest in applications.

In this talk I will introduce some problems that are typical of those studied in Numerical Analysis. These will include recurrence relations, limits, numerical differentiation, numerical integration, solution of nonlinear equations, solution of linear systems, and the numerical solution of ordinary differential equations. Numerous difficulties including instabilities and other pitfalls will be encountered along the way. Problems will be posed -- but not solved -- in hopes that the interested student (or teacher) will be inspired to learn more about the subject.

Dan Willis is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Loras College. Dan has a Ph.D. in Mathematics (Numerical Analysis) from the University of Iowa. His scholarly interests include Mathematics Education and Computational Physics.

**Speaker**- Dr. Chris Frayer
**Title**- The Mathematics of Rock Climbing: Taking a Whipper
**Abstract**In the world of climbing, "taking a whipper" means taking a long fall, where the climber is whipped around by the rope as it breaks the fall. But experienced climbers are aware that the length of a fall does not tell the complete story with respect to the dangers involved. One such danger is the impact (force) delivered to the climber by the rope as the fall is arrested. We will study the maximum force that a rope exerts on a climber and discuss the implications for how manufacturers test climbing gear.

Chris Frayer earned his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in 2008 and has been at UW-Platteville for the past 2 years. When not spending time with his family or thinking about mathematics his primary interest is rock climbing. Over the past 8 years Chris has spent time climbing in 14 states and 3 countries.

**Speaker**- Dr. Judy Munshower
**Title**- Some Amazing Sums
**Abstract**In this talk, we look at some famous as well as not-so-famous series, whose proofs are attributed to Carl Gauss, Jakob Bernoulli, Pietro Mengoli, and Leonhard Euler. The series were chosen because of the ingenuity used in discovering what they sum to. This talk should be accessible to everyone with an interest in mathematics.

Judy Munshower is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Clarke University. Judy has a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to math, Judy enjoys being with her family, reading and taking long walks.

**Speaker**- Dr. Mu-Ling Chang
**Title**- How Many Guests Were There?
**Abstract**This talk is ideal for students who have completed or are enrolled in Calculus I. We will focus on solving the following problem: On the night of a certain banquet, a caterer offered the choice of two dinners - a steak dinner for $8 and a lobster dinner for $13. At the end of the evening, the caterer’s receipts totaled $1571. What is the maximum number of people who could have attended the banquet?

Mu-Ling Chang came to Platteville in 2001. She is originally from Taiwan and received her PhD from the University of Maryland at College Park. Her specialties are Algebraic Number Theory and Algebra. In the past few years, Dr. Chang has been very active within the Confucius Institute at UW-Platteville. Last year she helped with the first Chinese New Year celebration and served as a judge at the 6th Annual Wisconsin Statewide Chinese Language Speech Contest at UW-Platteville. In her spare time she likes to cook, garden, and help others.

**Speaker**- Ed Hanson
**Title**- Graphs and Matrices
**Abstract**In combinatorics, the term graph refers to a collection of vertices and a collection of edges that connect pairs of vertices. Graphs have a variety of applications throughout mathematics, science, and engineering. Algebraic graph theory is a branch of mathematics that utilizes linear algebra to study problems about graphs. This talk will introduce some basic notions from algebraic graph theory. Little to no background in linear algebra will be assumed.

Ed Hanson is currently a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

**Speaker**- Dr. Clem Jeske
**Title**- Who's Guarding the Gallery?
**Abstract**An art gallery is in the shape of a polygon with n sides. What is the minimum number of guards that are needed so that every point in the gallery can be seen by at least one guard? Where should the guards be placed? Is the answer different if the gallery has a more traditional orthogonal shape where all walls meet at right angles?

Dr. Clem Jeske is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin - Platteville.