Author Archives: Beth Malmskog

2017 Art!

I spent even longer than usual at the JMM Mathematical Art Exhibit this year.  In the back left corner of the exhibit hall, there are 107 different pieces by over 70 different artists.  There is “math that is pretty,” “art that looks like math,” and a whole range of pieces that truly hybridize the two disciplines in ways I can’t totally categorize.  I can’t possibly show all the great pieces in one post, but luckily a full catalog of the art can be found here.

Andrew Smith and his Protogons at the art exhibition.

Andrew Smith and his Protogons at the art exhibition.

Andrew Smith, Mathematical Artist and instructor at the University of Waterloo created two lovely pieces using spirals formed by joining an equal-length side from each regular n-gon as n increases. These “protogons” have some magic-eye properties; the design in “Central Protogon” seems to move as a viewer moves closer or farther away.

Clayton Shonkweiler's "My Destination" represents the orbit of a point in hyperbolic space under modular transformations

Clayton Shonkweiler’s “My Destination” represents the orbit of a point in hyperbolic space under modular transformations

Clayton Shonkwiler, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Colorado State University, created the video “Rotation” and the print “My Destination,” illustrating two mathematical explorations in hyperbolic space.

More that I liked:

"Fish" by Umut Isik.

“Fish” by Umut Isik.

"Petersen-Embellished Non-orientable Blanket Square" by sarah-marie belcastro

“Petersen-Embellished Non-orientable Blanket Square” by sarah-marie belcastro

Marie-Renne Laurent's "Implausible Star"

Marie-Renne Laurent’s “Implausible Star”

"Champy" by George Hart

“Champy” by George Hart

The art show includes a prize competition.  Entries were judged based on:

  • Mathematical depth and sophistication,
  • Craftsmanship,
  • Aesthetic appeal,
  • Originality and innovation, and
  • Overall interest.
"Torus" by Jiangmei Wu

“Torus” by Jiangmei Wu

The top entry in the textile, sculpture or other medium category was the stunning “Torus” by Jiangmei Wu.  This sculpture was folded from a single sheet of uncut paper and is lit from within by small lightbulbs.

"AAABBB, two juxtapositions: Dots & Blossoms, Windmills & Pinwheels" by Mary Klotz

“AAABBB, two juxtapositions: Dots & Blossoms, Windmills & Pinwheels” by Mary Klotz

An honorable mention went to Mary Klotz, a Maryland/West Virginia artist, for “AABB, two juxtapositions: Starts and Tadpoles, Dots and Triceratops.”  Her two weavings follow identical patterns with different starting colors.

"Fractal Monarchs" by Doug Dunham and John Shier

“Fractal Monarchs” by Doug Dunham and John Shier

The top photograph, painting or  print was “Fractal Monarchs” by Doug Dunham and John Shier of the University of Minnesota Duluth.  The areas of the butterflies are determined by a formula involving the Hurwitz zeta function.

And We’re Off…

Justin Marks of Gonzaga University, pausing in his run between sessions.

Justin Marks of Gonzaga University, pausing in the skybridge on a run between sessions.

Saturday afternoon was full of running around and saying goodbye.  I ran into Justin Marks, of Gonzaga University, who had literally been running around the conference.  He decided that wearing running clothes and jogging between sessions made the most sense in the sprawling Atlanta meeting.  He also had been jogging in to the meetings in the morning “My hotel is like 10 minutes away–I have to move fast to avoid frostbite!” he says.

Saturday

Today is starting off with ice on the trees and lots of worries about travel.

Icy Trees on Baker Street in Atlanta, Saturday Morning

Icy Trees on Baker Street in Atlanta, Saturday Morning

Luckily there is math aplenty to take our minds off the ice.  Today the AMS bloggers will be at:

Mathemati-con! is happening at the Hyatt today.  So much fun! Featuring James Tanton, Ingrid Daubches, a Math Wrangle, Arthur Benjamin, and more.
AWM Workshop: Special Session on Number Theory, 8:00 a.m.-11:50 a.m. and 1:30-4:50 p.m. A704, Atrium Level, Marriott Marquis

MAA Panel: Outside the Equation – Exploring Alternative Forms of Mathematical Communication 9:00-10:20 a.m. International 6, International Level, Marriott Marquis. Organized by Samuel Hansen, ACMEScience, featuring our own Anna Haensch,  of Dusquense Univeristy, Robert Schneider of Emory University, Edmund Harriss of University of Arkansas, and Tim Chartier of Davidson College.

Last chance to see "Fish" by Umut Isik!

Last chance to see “Fish” by Umut Isik!

Last chance for the Mathematical Art Exhibit today 9 a.m.-12 p.m. in the Exhibit Hall on the lowest level of the Hyatt Regency.

Who Wants to Be a Mathematician? Also so much fun! 1-2:45 PM today Regency Ballroom VII, Ballroom Level, Hyatt Regency

MAA Undergraduate Poster Session

The JMM MAA Undergraduate Student Poster session!

The JMM MAA Undergraduate Student Poster session!

Undergrads are amazing these days!  At least at the MAA Undergraduate Student Poster Session, anyway.  Looking around at the over 200 posters, I came to the conclusion that I was a real underachiever in those days.  These students are doing really exciting things.  They are confident, they are polished, they are pretty much killing it. Here are a few scenes from the floor:

Shaquille Dixon of Costal Carolina University presented a poster on space filling curves. His project was inspired by a YouTube video, which got Shaquille thinking about how to change an image into an audible signal for the visually impaired.

Shaquille Dixon of Costal Carolina University presented a poster on space filling curves. His project was inspired by a YouTube video, which got Shaquille thinking about how to change an image into an audible signal for the visually impaired.

Anne Marie Crinnion, Harvard, explains her poster to Bjorn Poonen of MIT.

Anne Marie Crinnion, Harvard, explains her poster to Bjorn Poonen of MIT.  Anne Marie’s poster describes her work using graph theory to develop a model for human speech recognition.

Thayer Meyer, of Virginia Military Institute, began his poster with a very heavy question: "What is the shape of reality?"

Thayer Meyer, of Virginia Military Institute, began his poster with a very heavy question: “What is the shape of the universe?”

Kayla Perez of The Evergreen State College and Elsa Magness of Seattle University presented a poster on Knot Lineage. Their poster included their own REU work with Alison Heinrich and Brianna Zimmer on the Trefoil knot.

Kayla Perez of The Evergreen State College and Elsa Magness of Seattle University presented a poster on Knot Lineage. Their poster included their own REU work with Alison Heinrich and Brianna Zimmer on the Trefoil knot.

Three judges visited each poster and talked with the student.  The top posters will receive glory and fame tomorrow morning at 9 AM, and all students will get written feedback from the judges.  The MAA also  provided travel funding for select students to come to the JMM and present their posters.  Here, MAA Programs Coordinator Margaret Maurer and Dora Cardenas Ahmadi, also of the MAA, cut apart and sort the ballots.  Dora and Margaret swear that next year the ballots are going digital.

Dora Ahmadi and Margaret Maurer of the MAA processing the judging slips.

Dora Ahmadi and Margaret Maurer of the MAA processing the judging slips.

Friday!!

We are taking hot news tips on the retro newsroom phone...

We are taking hot news tips on the retro newsroom phone…

...and eating toasted bagels. This is the life.

…and eating toasted bagels. This is the life.

Starting off the second half of the JMM with bagels and coffee in the pressroom, because the line at Starbucks is yet again incredibly long.  The pressroom is extra deluxe today, as well–the caterers even brought a toaster for the bagels!

Lots of great events today.  Here are a few places that the JMM bloggers will be hanging out:

Francis Su’s MAA Retiring Presidential Address is sure to be awesome.  I mean, it’s entitled “Mathematics for Human Flourishing”–this is something I need to know about.  Friday, January 6, 2017, 9:00 a.m.-9:50 a.m. Atrium Ballroom, Atrium Level, Marriott Marquis Atlanta.

Anna Wienhard, Heidelberg University, gives an AMS Invited Address: “A Tale of Rigidity and Flexibility – Discrete Subgroups of Higher Rank Lie Groups”  Friday, January 6, 2017, 10:05 a.m.-10:55 a.m. Atrium Ballroom, Atrium Level, Marriott Marquis.

The Current Events Bulletin is a chance to learn about the most current developments in mathematics from expert mathematicians in different fields, presented for non-experts. According to founder David Eisenbud, “The Current Events Bulletin Session at the Joint Mathematics Meetings, begun in 2003, is an event where the speakers do not report on their own work, but survey some of the most interesting current developments in mathematics, pure and applied.  The wonderful tradition of the Bourbaki Seminar is an inspiration, but we aim for more accessible treatments and a wider range of subjects.”  These talks happen today, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Imperial Ballroom A, Marquis Level, Marriott Marquis.

Public viewing of the MAA Undergraduate Student Poster Session takes place today, 4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Marquis Ballroom, Marquis Level, Marriott Marquis.

Thursday Morning

The Starbucks line this morning.

The Starbucks line this morning.

Thursday morning is starting off with a long line at the Marriott Starbucks.

Just taking a minute this morning to point out some incredible invited lectures:

MAA Invited Address: Lillian Pierce, Duke University, “From Gauss to Today: Class Numbers and p-torsion in Class Groups of Number Fields” 9:00 a.m.-9:50 a.m. Atrium Ballroom, Atrium Level, Marriott Marquis 

AWM-AMS Noether Lecture: Lisa Jeffrey, University of Toronto, “Real Loci in Symplectic Manifolds10:05 a.m.-10:55 a.m. Atrium Ballroom, Atrium Level, Marriott Marquis 

SIAM Invited Address: Irene M. Gamba, University of Texas at Austin “The Dynamics of Particle Systems by Boltzmann Type Models” 11:10 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Atrium Ballroom, Atrium Level, Marriott Marquis 

AMS Invited Address: Gigliola Staffilani, Massachusetts Institute of Technology “The Many Faces of Dispersive and Wave Equations” 2:15 p.m.-3:05 p.m. Atrium Ballroom, Atrium Level, Marriott Marquis Atlanta

The blog crew will also be checking out some sessions today, as well as heading to the exhibit hall.  We will be at:

8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Mathematical Art Exhibition. Grand Hall, Exhibit Level (LL2) Hyatt Regency.

1:00 p.m.-4:20 p.m.
MAA Invited Paper Session on Technical Tools for Mathematical 3D Printing
A602, Atrium Level, Marriott Marquis.  Organized by Elizabeth Denne, Washington and Lee University, and Laura Taalman, James Madison University. 

7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
AMS-MAA Special Film Presentation
The Man Who Knew Infinity, presented by the US National Committee for Mathematics Atrium Ballroom, Atrium Level, Marriott Marquis.

Nicer views at the Marriott...

Nicer views at the Marriott…

Nicer views at the Marriott...

Lillian Pierce Rules the World

Lillian Pierce, Duke University

Lillian Pierce, Duke University

Or at least rules math, violin, and telling a story.  Lillian’s MAA Invited Address, “From Gauss to Today: Class Numbers and p-torsion in Class Groups of Number Fields” was a tour de force.  In his introduction, Ken Ono told us that Lillian is a professional-level violinist.  Lillian proceeded to provide a live musical soundtrack to the historical development of a problem of Gauss: classifying the representation of integers by binary quadratic forms.  She told us what we’d have been wearing if we’d been hanging out with Fermat when he considered a precursor to the problem.  She explained equivalence classes of quadratic forms through an analogy to Scotch eggs.  She defined class groups, and then played a piece from 1863 in appreciation of Dedekind.  Imagining Gauss computing thousands of class numbers by hand I was filled with wonder.  Then Lillian brought us up to the modern era with “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” a piece by Gershwin and the resolution of one of Gauss’s conjectures on class numbers by Landau, During, Mordell, and Heilbronn.  In the final segment of the talk, Pierce outlined her own substantial work on class numbers and some open problems: “For me that nemesis is 5 torsion in quadratic fields.”  In speaking of unsolved problems, she referenced Werner Herzog’s “My Best Fiend” and concluded with a piece by Bach.  Amazing!

Answering questions after the talk

Answering questions after the talk

violin

Lillian Pierce with her violin

 

Profession, State Of

Carlos Castillo-Chavez, Duane, Helen Grundman, Kristin Lauter, and Talithia Williams.

Carlos Castillo-Chavez, Duane Cooper, Helen Grundman, Kristin Lauter, and Talithia Williams.

In the spirit of sharing things in time for quick readers to partake in awesome events, I am live blogging at the AMS Committee on the Profession Panel Discussion: Diversity and Inclusion in the Mathematical Sciences.  Moderator Helen Grundman (brand new AMS Director of Education and Diversity) has just asked the panelists, Carlos Castill0-Chavez of Arizona State University, Duane Cooper of Morehouse College, Kristin Lauter of Microsoft Research and outgoing president of the AWM, and Talithia Williams of Harvey Mudd College, to give one suggestion each to increase diversity in the profession. Carlos Castillo-Chavez kicked off with a great answer that we need to both remember what it is like to be an undergraduate, and remember that times have changed, so we cannot insist on giving our students exactly the same training we ourselves had.  “It is not the middle of the last century,” he says, and pretending that it is a ticket to driving students away.

Duane Cooper says, “Do what you can, where you can.  I would encourage professors to be aware of just how powerful our opinions are to our students, and our encouragement.” “Identify the potential, polished or raw, in the students that you encounter.”  “Make a point to say something, and encourage that.  See yourself as a headhunter for mathematics.  Share the possibilities of mathematics with students–they may not know.”

Kristin Lauter has noted that increasing diversity is more than an ethical imperative–“It is truly good for the profession.”  She notes that under 10% of tenure track positions at Research 1 universities are held by women. “That’s my number one priority–to hire more women in research positions at universities.”  In support of this goal, Kristin has devoted an incredible amount of energy to building research networks to support women doing mathematics.  She says, “Doing mathematics research is a community endeavor.  People think it’s merit based but it’s not–it’s network based.”

Talithia Williams, a “mathemastatistician” (my new favorite word) says that in high school in Columbus, GA, “I wasn’t a star student.”  Her AP calculus teacher took “17 seconds” to tell her that she was actually talented in math and she should consider majoring in math in college.  “Those 17 seconds have lived with me every day in this life.”  “Intentional invitations to the mathematical table” are essential, she says.  “Stop people where they are and encourage people to dig into the field.”

This promises to get better and better.  Further controversial quotes: “No more calculus reform!” “We do not live in a meritocracy!” Stop by in A601, Atrium Level, Marriott Marquis.  The panel was organized by Pamela Gorkin, Monica Jackson, and John McCleary, started at 4:30 and continues until 6 PM.

Good Morning, JMM!

Mike Breen from the AMS, Kelsey Houston-Edwards, and Adriana Salerno having a nice morning in the press room. Check out our retro phone!

Mike Breen from the AMS, Kelsey Houston-Edwards, and Adriana Salerno having a nice morning in the press room. Check out our retro phone!

Here in the press room we’re drinking coffee and planning today’s blogging (and video blogging!) fun. I am really excited to be writing this week with Kelsey Houston-Edwards, Adriana Salerno, and Anna Haensch. You’ll hear a lot more from us in the next few days but here’s a quick preview of some of the events the AMS press crew will be attending today:

Art and Math: This morning I’m hanging out (and speaking about quilts) at the MAA Session on Mathematics and the Arts, which has its first session 8:00-10:55 AM.

Barry Simon’s AMS invited address: Spectral Theory Sum Rules, Meromorphic Herglotz Functions and Large Deviations, 10:50-10:55 AM, Atrium Ballroom, Atrium Level, Marriott Marquis.

Alice Silverberg’s AMS/MAA invited address: “Through the Cryptographer’s Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There” 11:10 AM- Noon, Atrium Ballroom, Atrium Level, Marriott Marquis.

Laura Taalman’s MAA Invited Address: “Math by design: 3D printing for the working mathematician.” 2:15 p.m.-3:05 p.m, Atrium Ballroom, Atrium Level, Marriott Marquis

Diversity and Inclusion in the Mathematical Sciences, 4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. A601, Atrium Level, Marriott Marquis

Special Panel Presentation “The Mathematics and Mathematicians Behind Hidden Figures.” 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. A704, Atrium Level, Marriott Marquis

John Preskill’sAMS Josiah Willard Gibbs Lecture: “Quantum computing and the entanglement frontier.” 8:30 p.m.-9:20 p.m. Atrium Ballroom, Atrium Level, Marriott Marquis.

Association for Women in Mathematics Reception and Awards Presentation, 9:30 p.m.-11:00 p.m.  Imperial Ballroom B, Marquis Level, Marriott Marquis