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Sessions for Undergraduate Students

Note: All sessions are listed in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT = UTC-4:00)

The MAA endeavors to ensure that all the mathematical sessions at MathFest are accessible to a broad audience and undergraduate students are invited and encouraged to attend any of them. In addition, check out the range of programming below, which MAA has designed with undergraduate students and educators in mind.

Poster Session

Research in Motion (Undergraduate Student Poster Session)

Friday, August 5, 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., Franklin Hall A
Note: Judges and students only 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Click here for the Student Abstracts Listings

This session features research done by undergraduate students. Appropriate content includes, but is not limited to, a new result, a new proof of a known result, a new mathematical model, an innovative solution to a Putnam problem, or a method of solution to an applied problem. Projects that are currently "in progress", but leading towards one of these outcomes are also welcome. Purely expository material is not appropriate for this session.

Eric Ruggieri, College of the Holy Cross
Sara Malec, Hood College
Jeb Collins, University of Mary Washington

Committee on Undergraduate Student Programming (CUSP)


    Invited Address

    Chan Stanek Lecture for Students

    Jeanette Shakalli, Panamanian Foundation for the Promotion of Mathematics


    Thursday, August 4, 1:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m., Salon GH

After earning my PhD in Mathematics, I knew that my career would follow a different path than academia or industry. It wasn't until many years later that I finally discovered what my true purpose in life is. In this talk, I will share my story starting from the very beginning as a young kid who loved eating pasta and opening Christmas presents to a woman whose dream about sharing her passion for mathematics with others came true. It brings me so much joy to have created a safe space where kids and adults can have the opportunity to learn mathematics by playing games and solving puzzles. Join me and discover the beauty of FUNDAPROMAT!


Invited Address

Student Activity Speaker

Allison Henrich, Seattle University

How to Turn Your Knots from Blah into Fabulous

Friday, August 5, 1:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m., Salon GH

Are you tired of tying boring old shoelace knots? Frustrated with messy knots in your spaghetti that are impossible to undo? Wish you could make friends and influence people with your amazing knot-tying ability? Then come join us in the Student Activity Session! You’ll learn to harness the power of mathematics and the fourth dimension to unlock the secrets of knots. Discover how to make tangled up messes magically disappear and make knots apparate out of thin air. But wait! There’s more! Impress your friends and family with fancy phrases, like “persistent tangle” and “Reidemeister moves.” Make your rivals wish they had come to MathFest 2022! Come to the Student Activity Session, and all your wildest dreams will come true.


   Invited Address

   Martin Gardner Lecture

   Jason Rosenhouse, James Madison University

   The History and Future of Logic Puzzles

   Saturday, August 6, 2:00 p.m. - 2:50 p.m., Salon GH

A hallmark of Martin Gardner's writing was his ability to use games and puzzles to illuminate broader themes in mathematics. In honor of this aspect of his work, we will tell the history of logic by discussing some of its most interesting puzzles. For example, Lewis Carroll saw logic puzzles as a device for illuminating subtle questions in Aristotelian logic. Later, Raymond Smullyan took a similar view with regard to propositional and mathematical logic. We will also look to the future by considering the opportunities afforded to puzzlers by the current interest in nonclassical logics.

Contributed Paper Session

Recreational Mathematics: Puzzles, Card Tricks, Games, and Gambling

Part A: Saturday, August 6, 9:00 a.m. - 11:55 a.m., Salon I
Part B: Saturday, August 6, 1:00 p.m. - 1:40 p.m., Salon I

Puzzles, card tricks, board games, game shows, and gambling provide an excellent laboratory for testing mathematical strategy, probability, and enumeration. The analysis of such diversions is fertile ground for the application of mathematical and statistical theory. Solutions to new problems as well as novel solutions to old problems are welcome.

Paul Coe, Dominican University
Sara Quinn, Dominican University
Kristen Schemmerhorn, Concordia University Chicago

SIGMAA on Recreational Mathematics (SIGMAA-REC)

Part A: Friday, August 5, Salon J

Playing Wordle with Entropy
9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.
Jeffrey Clark, Elon University

Permutation Groups, the 15-Puzzle and Its Variations
9:20 a.m. - 9:35 a.m.
Dibyajyoti Deb, Oregon Institute of Technology

A Mathematical Exploration of Enemy-Protector
9:40 a.m. - 9:55 a.m.
Edward Fuselier, High Point University
Adam Graham-Squire, High Point University

Classroom Blackjack: A Tool for Introducing Optimal Gaming Strategy
10:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.
Daniel Martin, University of Hartford

Pascal’s Gambling Problems
10:20 a.m. - 10:35 a.m.
David DeSario, Shawnee State University

Magic Squares "Trick" on National Television
10:40 a.m. - 10:55 a.m.
Lyn McQuaid, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Lindsey Moyer, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

An Impartial Combinatorial Game on a 3 x 3 Board with Magic Square Constraints
11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
Matthew Coppenbarger, Rochester Institute of Technology

Arrangements of Mutually Non-Attacking Chess Pieces of Mixed Type
11:20 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.
Doug Chatham, Morehead State University

A Lucas Surprise
11:40 a.m. - 11:55 a.m.
Jay Schiffman, Rowan University (Retired)

Part B: Friday, August 5, Salon J

Fitch Cheney's 5-Card Trick Reduced to 2 Cards
1:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Colm Mulcahy, Spelman College
Derek Smith, Lafayette College

Other Mathematical Session

Math Jeopardy

Wednesday, August 3, 5:00 p.m. - 5:45 p.m., Salon D

Answer: A fun undergraduate mathematics contest to lead off MathFest.
Question: What is Mathematics Jeopardy?

Four teams of students will provide the questions to go with the mathematical answers in many categories. All interested students in the audience can enter their names to be chosen to play on one of the four teams of four players. There will be prizes for all the participants. Come cheer for your favorite team.

Robert W. Vallin, Lamar University
Ron Taylor, Berry College

Other Mathematical Session


Thursday, August 4, 4:00 p.m. - 5:45 p.m., Salon A

They're called Fermi problems...
How heavy is the Eiffel Tower?
How many prime numbers have distinct digits?
How many calories would you be eating if you had "one of everything" at the Cheesecake Factory?

If you're looking for a mindbending mixture of math and trivia, look no further! Jane Street Capital presents The Estimathon contest: teams will have 30 minutes to work on 13 problems, ranging from totally trivial to positively Putnamesque. Can your team beat the all-time best score?? The top teams will receive prizes! As in past years, we will run 2 contests. Feel free to show up to either one!

(Please show up 15 minutes before the start time of the contest you want to join.)

Our target schedule is as follows:
4:00 pm. Welcome, overview of rules and scoring
4:15 pm. Estimathon contest #1
5:00 pm. Estimathon contest #2

Andy Niedermaier, Jane Street Capital

Social Event

MAA Ice Cream Social

Friday, August 5, 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., Salon D

Besides cake and ice cream, we will recognize all students who gave talks in the MAA Student Poster Session, and award prizes for the best of them. All are invited.

Eric Ruggieri, College of the Holy Cross

Other Mathematical Session

Preparing for Industrial Careers in the Mathematical Sciences (PIC Math) Showcases

Saturday, August 6, 8:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Salon E

PIC Math prepares mathematical sciences students for industrial careers by engaging them in research problems that come directly from industry. In this session students who participated in PIC Math will give talks and poster presentations about their research, and mathematicians in industry will talk about what it is like to work in industry and what students need to do to succeed.

· Saturday 8:00-10:00 am: eight students talks at 15-minute intervals
· Saturday 10:00-11:00 am: two mathematicians from industry speak in 30-minute intervals
· Saturday 11:00 am - 12:00 pm: break
· Saturday 12:00 - 1:30pm: PIC Math student poster session

PIC Math is a program of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). Support is provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF grant DMS-1722275).