Fall 2017

Professor Dave Richeson
"Four Tales of Impossibility"
Tuesday, September 12th

"Nothing is impossible!" It is comforting to believe this greeting card sentiment; it is the American dream. Yet there are impossible things, and it is possible to prove that they are so. In this talk we will look at some of the most famous impossibility theorems—the so-called "problems of antiquity." The ancient Greek geometers and future generations of mathematicians tried and failed to square circles, trisect angles, double cubes, and construct regular polygons using only a compass and straightedge. It took two thousand years to prove conclusively that all four of these are mathematically impossible.

Noon | Tome 115
Lunch provided

Ricardo Conceicao, Gettysburg College
"On Pennies, McNuggets, Polynomials, and How to Help the Government Save Money"
Tuesday, September 19th

In the 80's, McDonald's restaurants used to sell boxes containing 6, 9 or 20 chicken McNuggets. It was impossible to purchase exactly four or ten nuggets. What other exact numbers of nuggets were impossible to buy? The solution to this question is related to a classical problem in the frontier of number theory and discrete mathematics known as the Diophantine Frobenius Problem.

In this talk we discuss how this famous problem connects the apparently random string of words in the title. Along the way, we will learn about some of its history, applications and generalizations. As an example, we show that it can be used to help the American government not only to save $52.9 million yearly but to also turn a modest profit.

Noon | Tome 115
Lunch provided

Dick Forrester,
Professor of Mathematics, Dickinson College & Laura Kilko, Associate Director of the Career Center, Dickinson College
Tuesday, October 10th

"Where Do I Go From Here?"

In this chat we discuss a wide variety of careers and opportunities for students majoring in mathematics and computer science. In addition, we will talk about graduate school options, internships, and REUs (Research Experience for Undergraduates). Specific information about our recent graduates will be provided.

Noon | Tome 115
Lunch provided

James Whitmore,
Open Group Certifited IT Architect and former IBM Distinguished Engineer
Tuesday, October 24th

"Improving Attention to Security in Software Design with Analytics and Cognitive Techniques"

The drive for better outcomes for secure development and increased developer productivity led to experiments to augment developer knowledge and eventually realize the goal of “building the right security in”. This topic, presented to the 2017 IEEE Security in Development Conference, reviews the approach, recent experiments and findings from a seven-year effort to enable consistency across a large, diverse development organization and software portfolio via policies, guidance, automated tools and services.

Noon | Tome 115
Lunch provided

Amanda Lohss,
Messiah College
Tuesday, November 14th

"Tableaux and the ASEP"

Combinatorics is an amazing area of mathematics in which seemly simple objects are surprisingly rich in applications. Tableaux are such combinatorical objects which are as simple to define as the rules for Sudoku (and actually quite similar). Several variations of tableaux have recently been introduced due to connections with an important particle model, the ASEP, which has been said to be the default model for transport phenomenon and is used extensively in physics, biology, and biochemistry. This connection allows various questions about the ASEP to be translated in terms of tableaux and proven in a mathematically elegant way. This talk will discuss the surprising relationship between tableaux and the ASEP as well as some results on tableaux which solve previous conjectures significant in terms of the ASEP.

Noon | Tome 115
Lunch provided

Evelyn Lamb,
Freelance Writer, Salt Lake City, UT
Friday, November 17th

"Building a Creative Career in Mathematics"

What can you do with a math degree? Accounting, finance, and computer programming might come to mind, but what about writing and journalism? Whether you are interested in a career as a math and science communicator at a magazine or museum or just need to be able to explain technical aspects of your latest project to your coworkers, communication is essential in all sorts of math and science careers. She'll talk about the meandering path she took into her career as a math and science writer and some career and communication tips for people interested in becoming better STEM communicators.

12:30pm | Tome 115
Lunch provided

Kathryn Haymaker,
Villanova University
Tuesday, November 28th

"Polynomial Evaluation Codes for Local Recovery"

Codes with locality address some of the challenges associated with data storage systems that keep information in more than one location, where locations are connected by a network. Big tech companies (Facebook, Google, Microsoft) each have their own version of a distributed storage system. Error-correcting codes are commonly used to efficiently replicate and store data in a large system where nodes may suffer errors or even just be temporarily taken off-line. This talk will give an introductory look at simple evaluation codes based on polynomials, which were first discovered in the 1960s, as well as some exciting recent developments that apply more sophisticated codes to deal with modern distributed storage issues.

Noon | Tome 115
Lunch provided