Laura Taalman, James Madison University
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Abstract: For a pure mathematician, mathematics is a set of abstract constructs completely separated from reality, and using technology to explore mathematics can seem like, well, cheating. But with the rise of undergraduate research in mathematics comes a need for elementary unsolved problems that students can pursue. Modern technology can help fill this need and support exploratory, investigative mathematics, even for those of us who are old-school mathematical purists at heart. Going a step further, the recently accessible technology of 3D printing can take abstract mathematical objects and literally make them real. A 3D printing demonstration will accompany this talk.
Biography: Laura Taalman is a Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at James Madison University, where she joined the faculty after graduate work at Duke University and undergraduate work at the University of Chicago. Her mathematical research interests include singular algebraic geometry, knot theory, and the mathematics of games and puzzles. Dr. Taalman is the director of the JMU MakerLab mathematical 3D-printing lab and the JMU 3-SPACE general education 3D-printing classroom. She is a co-author of the recent Taalman/Kohn Calculus textbook and seven books on Sudoku and mathematics. In 2013 she was a recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, and has received the Alder Award and the Trevor Evans Award from the Mathematical Association of America.