Activities in the College of Sci & Math – March 2012

There’s a lot going on the College of Sciences and Mathematics in March! Please see this calendar for more details.


Colloquium 3/5: The Riemann Hypotheses

On March 5th at 3:30PM in Math 357, Dr. Clint Richardson will be talking about the analytic side of the Riemann Hypothesis. This should be an interesting talk to all levels of students and faculty.

Abstract: In 2000, the Clay Institute offered a $1 million prize for a solution to one of seven Millennium Problems. The Riemann Hypothesis was chosen as one of the Millennium Problems and is considered an important unsolved problem in mathematics. The Riemann hypothesis, proposed by Bernhard Riemann (1859), is a conjecture about the location of the zeros of the Riemann zeta function which states that all non-trivial zeros have real part 1/2. We will discuss what it means to find zeros of the Riemann zeta function using graphical and analytic techniques. This talk will be interesting to anyone who has an interest in mathematics: students, faculty, and fans of math.

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Colloquium 2/20: Math Teachers’ Circles

On Monday Feb 20th at 3:30 in Math 357, Dr. Judith Covington will be giving our colloquium on “ Math Teachers’ Circles”.


What is a Math Teachers’ Circle? This session will answer the who, what, why, when and where’s of Math Teachers Circles. Dr Covington will discuss her experience creating the North Louisiana Math Teachers’ Circle (NLMTC). The development of the NLMTC began with a training workshop in Washington, DC in summer 2010. Dr Covington will share how she created a leadership team and how they attracted local middle school teachers to attend the NLMTC events. She will share teacher feedback from various stages of the NLMTC program. The NLMTC had 30 middle school teachers participate in their four day summer workshop and have averaged 25 teachers at their monthly meetings. Future plans of the NLMTC will also be shared.

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Colloquium 2/13: Monte Carlo Simulations and Retirement Planning

On February 13th at 3:30 PM in Math 357, our colloquium will be given by Dr. Bob Henderson. His talk is titled “Monte Carlo Simulations and Retirement Planning.” This talk should be interesting and accessible to all levels of students.

Abstract:  In the process of retirement planning, it is necessary to make assumptions about the future behavior of several key metrics, notably annual return rates on equity, fixed income, and cash investments, as well as the annual inflation rate. The simplest form of projection is to assume a constant rate for each of these; however, it is a virtual certainty that such projections will be in error. As a result, other approaches that attempt to account for the uncertainty surrounding future projections of these values have been developed, of which Monte Carlo simulation is a popular technique. As practiced, this approach can produce results that are difficult to believe will ever actually occur. This talk will describe one approach to more effectively use available historical information on these key retirement planning metrics to produce more realistic and believable Monte Carlo simulation results.

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Colloquium 12/5: Discrete Fourier Analysis and New Circulant Weighing Matrices

On Monday December 5th at 3:30, Dr. Ken Smith will be giving a talk titled “Discrete Fourier Analysis and New Circulant Weighing Matrices.” This should be an interesting and accessible talk for all.


A circulant weighing matrix CW(n,k) is a square n x n matrix M with entries from {-1, 0, 1} such that MM* = kI. (Here M* is the transpose matrix and I is the n x n identity matrix.) Circulant weighing matrices have applications to signal processing and digital communications. Using techniques in “discrete Fourier analysis” and algebraic number theory, we construct a circulant weighing matrix with parameters CW(48,36). Such a matrix was conjectured not to exist. The techniques used in this construction are those of a first-year graduate class in higher algebra and should be accessible to a broad audience. (This is joint work with Bernhard Schmidt, Nanying Technological University, Singapore.)

Colloquium 11/7: How Children Develop the Idea of Number

On Monday November 7th at 3:30 in Math 357, Dr. Jane Long will be giving a colloquium titled “How Children Develop the Idea of ‘Number’”. The talk should be accessible and interesting to all levels of students.

Human beings are not born with an innate understanding of what numbers mean. They must construct this understanding for themselves in a process that begins in early childhood. In this talk, we will discuss some of the stages of numerical and mathematical development that children go through. Specific examples will be discussed. The main reference for the talk will be the work of Constance Kamii, a student and colleague of developmental psychologist Jean Piaget.

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