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MAA Distinguished Lecture Series

The MAA is proud to relaunch the Distinguished Lecture Series (funded by the Paul R. and Virginia P. Halmos Endowment Fund) - now in a virtual format! 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 scheduled.

Upcoming Lectures


Pamela E. Harris - January 27, 2022

7pm E.T.

"Multiplex Juggling Sequences and Kostant's Partition Function"

Multiplex juggling sequences are generalizations of juggling sequences (describing throws of balls at discrete heights) that specify an initial and terminal configuration of balls and allow for multiple balls at any particular discrete height. Kostant’s partition function is a vector function that counts the number of ways one can express a vector as a nonnegative integer linear combination of a fixed set of vectors. What do these two families of combinatorial objects have in common? Attend this talk to find out!


Watch Live on YouTube  Watch Live on Facebook


About the Speaker

Pamela E. Harris serves as Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Faculty Fellow of the Davis Center and the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Williams College. She cohost the podcast Mathematically Uncensored and serves as President of Lathisms: Latinxs and Hispanics in the Mathematical Sciences. Her research interests are in algebra and combinatorics, particularly as these subjects relate to the representation theory of Lie algebras. For fun she likes to (dead)lift heavy things and spend time with her partner Jamual, daughter Akira, and three dogs: Bubba (American bulldog), Ginger (black lab), and Scottie (beagle mix).

Alexander Diaz-Lopez - February 23, 2022

7PM E.T.

"Encryption Methods: Past, Present, and Future"

The history of cryptography, the study of techniques for secure communication, is filled with intellectual discoveries, ethical dilemmas, and massive challenges. In this talk, we will discuss some of the most important encryption methods of the past and present and then chat about what a post-quantum future might hold.



About the Speaker

Alexander Diaz-Lopez is an award-winning teacher and math researcher currently working at Villanova University. Born and raised in the archipelago of Puerto Rico, Alexander attended the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez and then moved to the University of Notre Dame to obtain his PhD in Mathematics. He has been involved in organizing several initiatives such as Lathisms, Villanova’s Co-MaStER program, and MAA’s Virtual Programs, among others.

Nathan Carter - March 23, 2022

7PM E.T.

"Mathematics in Data Science"

The exploding field of data science has some unexpected connections to pure mathematics, from simple ideas like functions and relations to more advanced ideas like proof writing.  Those connections will be our on-ramp to two fascinating open research questions in machine learning.



About the Speaker

Nathan Carter works in the interplay between mathematics and computer science.  He mostly writes software and books, such as Visual Group Theory (MAA, 2009), Introduction to the Mathematics of Computer Graphics (MAA, 2016), and Data Science for Mathematicians (editor, Taylor & Francis, 2020).  His primary interests are logic, mathematical visualization, and data science.  He is currently serving as a Wilder Teaching Professor at Bentley University near Boston.