Fall 2004

[ 9/16 | 9/23 | 10/7 | 10/14 | 11/11 | 11/18 | 12/2 ]

12/2: Local reality - The Mathematics and the Physics
Dr. Michael Frey
Department of Mathematics
Bucknell University

Our intuitions inform us that ours is a world of local reality; that is, that objects have properties bound up in (real to) the object and that these properties are uninfluenced by sufficiently distant phenomena (local). We pose a thought experiment and explore the mathematical consequences of local realism, and, in particular, we state and prove a version of Bell's theorem. We then mathematically re-examine local realism from the viewpoint of modern quantum theory and discover a contradiction. What's correct? An important experiment completed in 1982 gives us the answer.

11/18: Student Internship Reports
Jonathan Rogers & Sean Shappell
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Dickinson College

Inferior Corporations: Jonathan Rogers, a Junior mathematics major, will speak about his summer work combining mathematics and economics. There is an economic term "inferior good" which is a product which individuals consume less of as their income increases. Some corporations fit this trend as well and advertise that to that effect. Walmart and other discount retailers show that by focusing on these inferior goods and setting prices below the abilities of their competitors, they may dominate and even create market demand.

Working in College IT: Sean Shappell, a senior computer science major, will discuss his experiences last summer working in the Information Services and Resources Department of Bucknell University. His talk will cover his day to day responsibilities and his primary project, developing an inventory database and client interface.

11/11: Myth busting: The controversies surrounding Euler's polyhedral formula
David Richeson
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Dickinson College

Euler proved that any convex polyhedron with F faces, E edges, and V vertices satisfies the simple relationship F-E+V=2... or did he? Some say that Euler's proof of this relation, which is now called Euler's polyhedral formula, is flawed. Others say that Descartes proved this same relation over 100 years before Euler did. Like mathematical myth-busters, we will look at Euler's proof (or so-called proof) and see if he did or did not prove the relation. We will also examine what, exactly, Descartes' contributed this subject.

10/14: Newsline: A technological solution for providing news to the blind
Ryan McGirr
National Federation of the Blind
(and Dickinson Class of 2000)

Every morning millions of people read the newspaper over a cup of coffee. Now imagine the challenge of this everyday activity if you were blind. National federation of the Blind's Newsline is a service which enables blind people access to the information in newspapers and magazines at the same time as their sighted peers. With over 200 selections available, all accessed with a toll free phone call, the blind will no longer be without the critical information needed to function in school or in the workplace, enabling them to live much more independent lives. The speaker will be discussing how Newsline is used, the technology and software behind it, and where Newsline is headed.

10/7: An Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Vladimir Brajovic
Masters Student in Computer Science
Shippensburg University

Finite element analysis is a technique used in the the modeling and design of complex systems ranging from massive dams to microscopic electronic components. Mr. Brajovic will introduce finite element analysis with a brief overview of some of these applications. He will then present an in-depth example of the use of finite element analysis. This example will focus on the modeling and design of a quartz crystal, such as those used in to keep accurate time in watches and computers. His talk will conclude with a brief description of the wide range of commercial and free tools available for finite element analysis.

9/23: Applied Mathematics and Computer Science in the Real World: Examples and Insights
Ltc. Rene' G. Burgess
US Army War College
Center for Strategic Leadership

What do the skills learned as an undergraduate Computer Science or Mathematics student have to do with the life "out there" in the real world of American business? What's the point of learning how to program when there are high school kids writing both games and viruses? This week's presenter had a number of the same questions during both his undergraduate studies at the US Military Academy at West Point, where he earned a Bachelor of Science, as well as at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, where he earned his Master of Science in Modeling, Virtual Environments, and Simulations. For five of the past seven years, the author has served in the US Army in the new career field called Simulation Operations. He has acted as a software designer, requirements generator, and application distributor for a significant portion of the Army's training plan to meet the digital information age. In this lecture LTC Burgess will discuss some of the lessons learned and insights from his experiences over the past several years in an effort to shed some light on the questions above as well as provide some exposure to his current work at the US Army War College where he is the Army lead developer for two strategic leader development games.

9/16: Summer Internship Reports
Jennifer Reitmeyer & Craig Daugherty
Department of Mathematics & Computer Science
Dickinson College

Two of our own majors will be the presenters. Computer Science Major, Craig Daugherty, will be telling us about his internship with Penn Manor School District, working on their website and other IT projects. Mathematics Major, Jen Reitmeyer, will tell us about the new Medical Informatics Department at Capital Blue Cross and how they use their predictive modeling tool.