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MAA Distinguished Lecture Series

The MAA sponsors a variety of public lectures, many of them held at the MAA Carriage House. Whether a Gathering 4 Gardner event or part of the NSA-funded Distinguished Lecture Series, the lectures feature some of the foremost experts within the field of mathematics, known for their ability to make current mathematical ideas accessible to non-specialists. The presentations provide a fabulous and fun learning opportunity for both professionals and students, as well as anyone interested in learning more about current trends in mathematics and the relationship between mathematics and broader scientific, engineering and technological endeavors.

Abstracts and speaker biographies will appear on this page as lectures are added to the events calendar.

Slidecasts and video clips of MAA public lectures are available here.

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Trachette Jackson, University of Michigan
March 13, 2007

Abstract: It is now appreciated that cancers can be composed of multiple clonal subpopulations of cancer cells which differ among themselves in many properties, including, growth rate, ability to metastasize, immunological characteristics, production and expression of markers, and sensitivity to therapeutic modalities. Such tumor heterogeneity has been demonstrated in a wide variety of tumors, including those that originate in the prostate. In an effort to assist in the understanding of recurrent prostate cancer and the cellular processes which mediate this disease, I will present a mathematical model that describes both the pre-treatment growth and the post-therapy relapse of human prostate cancer xenografts. The goal is to evaluate the interplay between the multiple mechanisms which have been postulated as causes of androgen-independent relapse. At the end of the the talk, I will also comment on possible causes of tumor heterogeneity including the Cancer Stem Cell Hypothesis.

MAA Distinguished Lecture: Trachette Jackson

Biography: Trachette Jackson is an associate professor at the University of Michigan. She received a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics in 1998 from the University of Washington. Her research interests focus on applying mathematics to modeling the growth and control of cancer. Professor Jackson has held post doctoral positions at Duke University, the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota, and the National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory of the Environmental Protection Agency. She is the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and the Career Enhancement Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation. At the University of Michigan she received the Amoco Faculty Undergraduate Teaching Award. She is currently a Co-PI on an NSF grant for a program that will allow undergraduate students to develop knowledge and acquire skills in research areas that are at the interface of Biology and Mathematics. Professor Jackson is a frequent invited lecturer at conferences and universities.

Read more about Trachette Jackson's talk

Doron Zeilberger, Rutgers University

Abstract: I will present five combinatorial gems where alternating paths play a major role.

MAA Distinguished Lecture: Doron Zeilberger

Biography: Doron Zeilberger is a Board of Governors Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University. He is widely known for the development of "WZ" (Wilf-Zeilberger) Theory and Zeilberger's algorithm that are used extensively in modern computer algebra software. Zeilberger was the first to prove the elusive result in combinatorial theory known as the alternating sign matrix conjecture. Among his honors are: the MAA Lester R. Ford award for a paper in the American Mathematical Monthly; the American Mathematical Society Steele Prize for seminal contributions to research (co-recipient with Herb Wilf); the Institute of Combinatorics and Its Applications Euler Medal for "Outstanding Contributions to Combinatorics;" the Laura H. Carnell Professorship at Temple University; in the spirit of Paul Erdos, challenge cash prizes from Richard Askey, George Andrews and Ron Graham; and Persi Diaconis's favorite living mathematician!

The citaton for the Euler Medal describes him as "a champion of using computers and algorithms to do mathematics quickly and efficiently." In his opinion "programming is even more fun than proving, and, more importantly it gives as much, if not more, insight and understanding."

More about Doron Zeilberger

Larry Schumaker, Vanderbilt University

Abstract: I will describe the explosive development of splines and their application over the past 40 years. Splines are piecewise polynomials which are extremely useful in approximation theory and numerical analysis for fitting and approximating functions. They have also found applications in many areas of business, engineering, medicine, science, and elsewhere. I will discuss some of these applications. The talk will be quite general with little mathematical background needed.

Biography: Dr. Schumaker is a Stevenson Professor at Vanderbilt University. His research areas include approximation theory and computer aided graphical design. He is an author or co-author of 37 books or proceedings. He has been the advisor of 21 Ph.D. students. Dr. Schumaker has won the Alexander von Humboldt Prize and he has been elected a foreign member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.