On behalf of the Mathematical Association of America, it is our pleasure to invite you to attend the Opening Celebration of the MAA Carriage House Mathematical Sciences Conference Center, 1781 Church Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
On Friday afternoon, April 20, we will have a Colloquium in honor of Paul Halmos. We especially invite college and university faculty and students to these talks. RSVP for the Colloquium
On Saturday, April 21, we have scheduled a Math Fair, especially for high school students and their teachers. RSVP for the Math Fair.
The newly renovated Carriage House enables the MAA to present a broad range of mathematical programs for researchers, educators, students, and the general public in the greater Washington, D.C., area, as well as providing a venue for more focused events that bring together mathematicians from across North America and beyond. Events will include special lectures, research conferences, workshops, programs for students, public presentations, and more.
The creation of the Carriage House Conference Center was made possible by a generous donation from Paul and Virginia Halmos, and reflects their desire to advance the MAA's long-standing tradition of fostering high-quality mathematical exposition. The renovated facility combines a modern meeting space and the charm of the original 1892 carriage house, and provides an ideal environment to accomplish our goals.
Prime Time for Primes
As old as Euclid, prime numbers have recently started to yield their secrets. Mathematicians from California to India and elsewhere have shown us that primes regularly fall into strict patterns, they display unusual "clumping," and they are computationally easy to detect. While many mysteries remain, it does seem that this first decade of the new millennium is indeed a prime time for primes.
Carl Pomerance received his B.A. from Brown University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He joined the faculty at Dartmouth College after previous positions at the University of Georgia and Bell Labs. A number theorist, Pomerance specializes in analytic, combinatorial, and computational number theory, with applications in the field of cryptology. He was awarded the Chauvenet Prize and the Haimo Teaching Award from the Mathematical Association of America, as well as serving as both the Association's Polya Lecturer and Hedrick Lecturer, and was awarded the Conant Prize by the American Mathematical Society. Pomerance considers the late Paul Erdos his greatest influence.
Sudoku: Questions, Variations, and Research
James Madison University
Sudoku puzzles and their variants are linked to many mathematical problems involving combinatorics, Latin squares, magic squares, polyominos, symmetries, computer algorithms, the rook problem, knight tours, graph colorings, and permutation group theory. In this talk we will explore variations of Sudoku and the many open problems and new results in this new field of recreational mathematics. Many of the problems we will discuss are suitable for undergraduate research projects. Puzzle handouts will be available for all to enjoy!
Laura Taalman is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at James Madison University. She received her Ph.D. in mathematics from Duke University and was an undergraduate at the University of Chicago. Her research includes singular algebraic geometry, knot theory, and the mathematics of puzzles.
She is the author of a textbook that combines calculus, pre-calculus, and algebra into one course, and one of the organizers of the Shenandoah Undergraduate Mathematics and Statistics (SUMS) Conference at JMU. Her awards include the Trevor Evans Award and the Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching from the Mathematical Association of America. She is the coauthor of Color Sudoku, due to be released this May.
Sums of Squares and the "290-Theorem"
The famous "Four Squares Theorem" of Lagrange asserts that any positive integer can be expressed as the sum of four square numbers. That is, the quadratic form a2 + b2 + c2 + d2 "represents" all (positive) integers. When does a general quadratic form represent all integers? When does it represent all odd integers? When does it represent all primes? We show how all these questions turn out to have very simple and surprising answers.
In particular, we describe the recent work (joint with Jonathan Hanke, Duke University) in proving Conway's "290-Conjecture."
Manjul Bhargava was born in Hamilton, Canada, and grew up in Long Island, N.Y. He received his A.B. degree from Harvard University in 1996 and a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2001. After spending a year each at Harvard and the Institute for Advanced Study (on a Clay Research Fellowship), he joined the Princeton faculty as Professor of Mathematics in 2003. He is among the youngest full professors in the history of Princeton. Bhargava's research interests span algebraic number theory, representation theory, and combinatorics, though he also spends much of his time on algebraic geometry, linguistics, and Indian classical music.
Bhargava's other honors include the AMS-MAA-SIAM Frank and Brennie Morgan Prize (1997), the MAA Merten Hasse Prize for mathematical exposition (2003), the AMS Blumenthal Award for the Advancement of Research in Pure Mathematics (2004), a Packard Foundation Fellowship (2004), the Clay Research Award (2005), and the SASTRA Ramanujan Prize (2005). In 2002, Bhargava was named to Popular Science magazine's first list of "Brilliant 10," an annual celebration of ten scientists who are shaking up their fields.
Math at Top Speed: Exploring and Breaking Myths in the Drag Racing Folklore
Throughout his life, either as participant, support individual, or spectator, the speaker has been involved in some aspect of drag racing. As such he has witnessed the birth and growth of many myths concerning dragster speed and acceleration. In this talk the speaker uses his mathematical training to identify rather elementary mathematical frameworks for the study of a particular popular belief and then applies mathematics to better understand the belief at hand. In this manner some myths are explained and validated, while others are destroyed. Included in these examples will be attempts to determine how fast dragsters are really going and what is the maximum acceleration achieved by today's dragsters? The speaker will explain why dragster acceleration is greater than the acceleration due to gravity, an age-old inconsistency. The first part of the talk will be a historical account of the development of the sport of drag racing and will include shots of various family members. A component of the presentation will be several lively videos used to illustrate points.
Richard Tapia is a mathematics professor in the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He is internationally known for his research in computational and applied mathematics and is a national leader in education and outreach programs for underrepresented groups. Born in Los Angeles to parents who immigrated from Mexico, Tapia is the first in his family to attend college.
Professor Tapia is currently the Maxfield-Oshman Professor as well as the Director of the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education at Rice University. He is only the sixth person to earn the title University Professor at Rice, and the first mathematician to earn the distinction.
Among his awards and honors are: appointment to the National Science Board by President Clinton in 1996, induction into the National Academy of Engineering (the first native-born Hispanic to earn the honor) in 1996, and being named one of the 20 most influential leaders in minority math education by the National Research Council in 1990.
Harvey Mudd College
Dr. Arthur Benjamin is a mathematician and a magician. In his entertaining and fast-paced performance, he will demonstrate and explain how to mentally add and multiply numbers faster than a calculator, how to improve your memory for numbers, how to figure out the day of the week of any date in history, and other amazing feats of mind. He has presented his mixture of math and magic to audiences all over the world.
Arthur Benjamin earned his B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Carnegie Mellon and his Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences from Johns Hopkins. Since 1989, he has taught at Harvey Mudd College, where he is Professor of Mathematics and past Chair. In 2000, he received the Haimo Award for Distinguished Teaching by the Mathematical Association of America.
His research interests include game theory and combinatorics, with a special fondness for Fibonacci numbers. Many of these ideas appear in his book (coauthored with Jennifer Quinn), Proofs That Really Count: The Art of Combinatorial Proof, published by MAA. In 2006, that book received the Beckenbach Book Prize by the MAA. Professors Benjamin and Quinn are the co-editors of Math Horizons magazine, published by MAA, read by more than 20,000 readers, mostly undergraduate math students and their teachers.
Art is also a magician who performs his mixture of math and magic to audiences all over the world, including the Magic Castle in Hollywood. In 2005, Reader's Digest called him "America's Best Math Whiz."
Random Behavior in the Prime Numbers
Prime numbers, numbers whose only factors are 1 and themselves, are the fundamental building blocks of all of the numbers, and so mathematicians work very hard to try to unlock their secrets. We will explore what it means for primes to have random features, which will lead us to the question of how to compare two quantities that are both infinite. We'll see examples of both randomness and some surprising patterns (non-randomness) in the primes, and why you sometimes need to study primes as large as 608,981,813,029.
Melanie Matchett Wood is a graduate student at Princeton University studying algebraic number theory. As a high school student, Melanie was on the USA International Math Olympiad team, and as a college student at Duke University she was a Putnam Fellow. In 2004, Melanie won the AMS-MAA-SIAM Morgan Prize for the best mathematics research done by an undergraduate. She won a Fulbright and a Gates Cambridge Fellowship to study in the United Kingdom, and graduate fellowships from the National Science Foundation and Department of Defense.
The Mathematics of Juggling
University of California-San Diego
In a certain sense, the art of juggling is a physical realization of many of the principles that mathematicians know and love. Recently, a new way of describing juggling patterns has been discovered. This has led to a bewildering array of previously unknown patterns, as well as many new mathematical theorems. This talk will highlight some of these developments.
Ronald Graham holds the Irwin and Joan Jacobs Endowed Chair in Computer and Information Science and is Chief Scientist of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology at the University of California, San Diego. He joined the UCSD faculty in 1999, after a 37-year career with AT&T. Graham received his Ph.D. in mathematics from U.C. Berkeley in 1962. From 1962-95, he was director of information sciences at (AT&T) Bell Labs, and from 1996-99 Chief Scientist of AT&T Labs.
Graham is the Treasurer of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery, and a past President of both the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America. He has won numerous awards in the field of mathematics, including the Polya Prize in Combinatorics and the Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement awarded in 2003 by the American Mathematical Society.
Magic Tricks, Card Shuffling, and Dynamic Computer Memories
S. Brent Morris
Editor, Scottish Rite Journal
The talk starts with a card trick and its explanation, which involves the mathematics of card shuffling. Following this, a computer memory circuit is designed with a data accessing algorithm that's the same as the card trick, and both rest upon the same mathematics.
S. Brent Morris has a Ph.D. and A.M. in mathematics from Duke University and an M.S. in Computer Science from the Johns Hopkins University. He is believed to have the only doctorate in the world in card shuffling; his dissertation is entitled "Permutations by Cutting and Shuffling: A Generalization to Q Dimensions." He became interested in the perfect shuffle in high school and has pursued its mathematics for over 40 years. He worked his way through college and graduate school as a magician. He worked as a mathematician with the federal government for 25 years before retiring in 2000, and is now the editor of the Scottish Rite Journal, the largest circulation Freemasonry magazine in the world. He has been invited to lecture on the mathematics of card shuffling to the Lord Mayor of London, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, AT&T Bell Labs, the National War College, the Joint Mathematics Meetings of the MAA/AMS, and over 100 colleges and universities.
Breaking Driver's License Codes
University of Minnesota-Duluth
Many states use complicated algorithms or formulas to assign driver's license numbers but keep the method confidential. Just for the fun of it, Professor Gallian attempted to figure out how the states code their license numbers. In this talk he will discuss how he was able to break the codes for Minnesota and Missouri. The talk illustrates an important problem-solving technique by scientists but is not emphasized in mathematics classes. It also teaches the lesson that sometimes things done just for the sake of curiosity can have applications. The talk is intended for a general audience. No advanced mathematics is needed.
Joseph Gallian currently serves as President of the Mathematical Association of America. He earned his M.A. at Kansas in 1968 and his Ph.D. at Notre Dame in 1971. He has been Professor of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota Duluth since 1972. In 2002, Gallian earned the Council on Undergraduate Research Fellow award for his excellence in conducting research with undergraduates. Among other high honors, he was an MAA Polya Lecturer (1999-2001). He also won the Haimo award of the MAA for distinguished teaching and the MAA's Allendoerfer and Evans awards for exposition.
Gallian's many publications include the books Contemporary Abstract Algebra, 5th ed., Houghton Mifflin, 2002; For All Practical Purposes, W.H. Freeman, (coauthor), 3rd ed., 1994, 4th ed., 1997, 5th ed., 2000, 6th ed., 2003; and Principles and Practices of Mathematics, Springer-Verlag, (coauthor), 1997.