Fall 2005

[ 9/20 [ 9/27 | 10/6 | 10/11 | 10/26 | 11/15 | 11/29 | 12/6 ]

12/6: Where do you go from here? Careers and graduate school in mathematics and computer science.
Math and Computer Science Faculty
Dickinson College

Our faculty members will discuss careers and graduate school in these disciplines options, outlook and what you can do now to prepare. Sarah Bair from the Education Department will join us to talk about careers in teaching mathematics and the certification process. We are planning a panel-style discussion with many opportunities for questions and comments, so have your list of questions ready.

11/29: Do you want to deal? (The Mathematical Analysis of Le Her)
Dr. Barry Tesman
Associate Professor of Mathematics
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Dickinson College

The dealer seems to have the advantage in many popular card games. (Did you ever think about why you are not allowed to deal blackjack in the casinos of Las Vegas?) In this talk, I will describe a very simple two-person card game where the answer to the question, "Do you want to deal?", is not immediately apparent. The analysis of this game, which involves elementary aspects of combinatorics, probability, decision theory, infinite series, and game theory, provides some surprising results and interesting lessons concerning competitive strategies.

11/15: Euler's Polyhedral Formula: 1750 - 1850
David Richeson
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Dickinson College

In 1751, Leonhard Euler proved that a polyhedron with F faces, E edges, and V vertices satisfies F - E + V = 2. Or did he? Euler never defined the term "polyhedron" and this lack of precision began a mathematical dialogue that continued for the next 100 years. During this time mathematicians tried to come to grips with Euler's "theorem". They asked the nontrivial questions: what is a polyhedron? What shapes satisfy Euler's formula? We will discuss this fascinating history and see how it gave birth to the field of topology.

10/26: A Brief History of Calculus
William Dunham
Truman Koehler Professor of Mathematics
Muhlenberg College

"The calculus," wrote John von Neumann, "was the first achievement of modern mathematics, and it is difficult to overestimate its importance." In that spirit, we take a stroll through the history of calculus, stopping along the way to consider those who created the subject in the late 17th century (Newton, Leibniz, the Bernoullis, l'Hospital), the great 18th century consolidator (Euler), and a few of the figures who carried it through the 19th century and up to the present (Cauchy, Weierstrass). The talk is primarily historical and expository, although some math will appear for calculus lovers.

10/11: What Mathematicians Never Told You About Solving Problems
Dick Forrestor
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Dickinson College

In this talk we introduce the main concepts of numerical analysis, which is the branch of mathematics that deals with methods for solving problems by purely numerical computations. We will discuss how many of the solution techniques learned in calculus and linear algebra are not as straightforward and reliable as they seem. Specifically, we will consider the challenges of interpolation - the fitting of a function to a given data set.

10/6: Discrete Logarithms and the Secret Sharer
Jeff Martens
Department of Information Systems
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

A brief overview of cryptography and an introduction to sharing secrets. Along the way, we'll discuss Diffie-Hellman, finding discrete logarithms, and generating large primes.

9/27: Computer Science Major in the Silicon Valley
Stevan Kominac '06
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Dickinson College

Stevan will talk about his summer internship at Intel, addressing topics such as what roles liberal arts students play in a high-tech industry; how to take advantage of social networking and the "small world" phenomenon to assure an interview; how an applicant can succeed in an interview in a high-tech company.

9/20: Learning to use the Java Constraint Kit
Ben Krause '07
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Dickinson College

A discussion of a student's summer work learning to use the Java Constraint Kit, a set of Java-based tools used to find solutions that satisfy certain constraints. The research involved using this constraint kit to test specifications written in the JML formal specification language.