Category Archives: Day 2

How to get money to change mathematics education

I actually don’t know how to get money to change math ed. But I still went to the poster session featuring all sorts of projects funded by the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education. The first impression was the strongest: there were so many posters! This means that the NSF DUE really wants to fund innovative teaching projects! The second impression was that many of my friends and acquaintances were funded, which means there are people near me I can learn a lot from (like how to get money to change mathematics education). Below are a few pictures and highlights of the event.

Kristen Roland presents research on how to best train teaching assistants in Statistics courses.

Kristen Roland presents research on how to best train teaching assistants in Statistics courses.

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Ben Galluzzo, winner of one of the 2016 Alder Awards, presents TWO funded projects on inquiry-based math modeling education.

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David Farmer from the American Institute of Mathematics and collaborators worked on a project which curates courses, by tagging concepts in textbooks and linking those with videos on YouTube and other online content.

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Thomas Judson’s project explores how to use open-source software like Sage in the classroom.

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Sandra Laursen (personal hero) is doing extensive and important research on the effectiveness of inquiry-based and active learning.

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MAA’s Deputy Executive Director is very excited about the Guide to Instructional Practices!

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Linda Braddy presents a common vision adopted by all the societies represented at the JMM.

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Marie Snipes’ project explores using imaging as an inquiry-based approach to understanding applications of math.

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Jill Guerra is studying the effectiveness of POGIL (Project Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) in introductory courses in math.

A Special Special Session

Anna and I are not only co-bloggers extraordinaire, we also co-organized a Special Session titled “Discrete Structures in Number Theory” (the title was all Anna). We knew we had a good lineup from the time we started organizing, but I was pleasantly surprised by just how good our speakers were. The energy was extremely positive, the talks were interesting, and the whole event was just really fun. We also had several speakers who were on the job market, so I hope some of their interviewers came to their talks (*wink wink*).

From the organizational point of view, this was my first special session, and I must say it was a really fun process (of course, as you all know, Anna is great, and that helped).  I encourage all young mathematicians who have not yet organized a session to really consider doing it, it will be worth it! The deadline for an AMS Special Session is April 7, and you can go here. If you’d rather do an MAA Invited Paper Session, you have until March 15, and you can go here.

Favorite quotes/pictures from the session below.

First, a fun fact: Two of our afternoon speakers, Paul Pollack and Lola Thompson, are academic siblings (students of Carl Pomerance) and collaborators. Lesser known fact, Paul was able to train Lola’s guinea pigs to do some fun tricks! So now you know, even if you publish as much as Paul and give really good talks, you will only be as good if you’re an accomplished guinea pig trainer!

Christelle Vincent tells us about a project that she solved the previous night (again). "So this is not really that hard, you can probably do it in like 12 hours". I think she's being modest, but I appreciate the candor!

Christelle Vincent tells us about a project that she solved the previous night (again). “So this is not really that hard, you can probably do it in like 12 hours”. I think she’s being modest, but I appreciate the candor!

"If you can put a picture of the Mandelbrot set in your talk, you put a picture of the Mandelbrot set in your talk. " - John Doyle

“If you can put a picture of the Mandelbrot set in your talk, you put a picture of the Mandelbrot set in your talk. ” – John Doyle

aBa Mbirika explains a collaboration in terms a mathematician can understand. (Picture by Anna Haensch)

aBa Mbirika explains a collaboration in terms a mathematician can understand. (Picture by Anna Haensch)

Panel On Mentoring

It’s a bit after the fact, but I just wanted to say something brief about the AWM panel on Mentoring that I attended yesterday. Panelists were Helen Grundman (Bryn Mawr College and the AMS), Suzanne Weeks (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Emina Soljanin (Rutgers University), Kristin Lauter (Microsoft Research), and Deanna Haunsberger (Carleton College). The panel was moderated by Michelle Manes (U. Hawaii), who by the way, just won the AWM Service Award!

Outgoing AWM President Kristin Lauter is a tireless champion of the AWM and its various programs for students chapters and faculty looking for mentors.  Photo Credit: Kate Awtrey, Atlanta Convention Photography

Outgoing AWM President Kristin Lauter is a tireless champion of the AWM and its various programs for students chapters and faculty looking for mentors. Photo Credit: Kate Awtrey, Atlanta Convention Photography

Suzanne Weekes has done great work connecting students with careers in industrial math. Photo Credit: Kate Awtrey, Atlanta Convention Photography

Suzanne Weekes has done great work connecting students with careers in industrial math. Photo Credit: Kate Awtrey, Atlanta Convention Photography

The purpose of the panel was to discuss mentoring at all levels. There was some talk about establishing a mentor as a junior faculty member. To this end, Lauter reminded us of the AWM Mentoring Travel Grant. There was a also a good deal of talk on mentoring undergraduate students, particularly those very bight ones who you have an aptitude for research but for whatever reason aren’t ready to take the plunge. I thought Grundman gave a piece of very good advice, so I want to share it here. If you see a student with tremendous aptitude and you suspect they would succeed (and probably enjoy) graduate studies, have the take the GRE’s and establish letters of recommendation before they graduate from their bachelor’s degree. The energy required to ask for reference letters after being out of school for a year or two can often be the biggest deterrent to future studies, so take that right off the table. It seems like obvious advice, but I hadn’t every thought of it so succinctly.

Tomorrow I’m really looking forward to the AMS Committee on Science Policy Panel Discussion Grassroots Advocacy for Mathematics and Science Policy.

The Joint Prize Session

It is always such an inspiration to hear about the incredible bodies of work that people have generated over their careers in research, teaching, and service to the profession. Today we celebrated mathematicians young and old who have made significant contributions to our mathematical world.

Francis Su presents Martha J. Siegel with the MAA, the Yueh-Gin Gung and Dr. Charles Y. Hu Award for Distinguished Service in Mathematics.  Photo Credit: Kate Awtrey, Atlanta Convention Photography.

Francis Su presents Martha J. Siegel with the MAA, the Yueh-Gin Gung and Dr. Charles Y. Hu Award for Distinguished Service in Mathematics. Photo Credit: Kate Awtrey, Atlanta Convention Photography.

Outgoing MAA President Francis Su presented Janet Heine Barnett, Caren Diefenderfer, and Tevian Dray with the Haimo Award for Distinguished Teaching, and Martha J. Siegel with the most prestigious award of the MAA, the Yueh-Gin Gung and Dr. Charles Y. Hu Award for Distinguished Service in Mathematics. Su also presented the Frank and Brennie Morgan Prize which is given to recognize and encourage outstanding mathematical research by undergraduate students; the winner, David Yang, and honorable mention, Aaron Landesman, will both be giving talks tomorrow. Su also awarded Siobhan Roberts and Art Benjamin for their fantastic work in mathematical media and outreach. More details about the MAA awards can be found on the MAA website.

Outgoing AWM president Kristin Lauter presents Emmy Murphy with the Joan & Joseph Birman Research Prize in Topology and Geometry.  Photo Credit: Kate Awtrey, Atlanta Convention Photography.

Outgoing AWM president Kristin Lauter presents Emmy Murphy with the Joan & Joseph Birman Research Prize in Topology and Geometry. Photo Credit: Kate Awtrey, Atlanta Convention Photography.

Kristin Lauter also took the stage to present Emmy Murphy with the Joan and Joseph Birman Award for Reasharch in Topology and Geometry, to present Cathy Kessel with the Louise Hay Award, and to present Helen Grundman with the M. Gwyneth Humphreys Award. This award was given to Grundman in large part for her work as an outstanding mentor of the years, an experience that she spoke about so eloquently in the AWM Panel on Mentoring yesterday. More information about the AWM Prizes can be found at the AWM website.

The Frank Nelson Cole Prize in Number Theory was awarded to Henri Darmon. Photo Credit: Kate Awtrey, Atlanta Convention Photography.

The Frank Nelson Cole Prize in Number Theory was awarded to Henri Darmon. Photo Credit: Kate Awtrey, Atlanta Convention Photography.

Next AMS President Robert L. Bryant presented John Friedlander and Henryk Iwaniec with the Joseph L. Doob Prize for their book Opera de Cribro, which was received with a truly touching thank you speak by Iwaniec on the 45th anniversary of his marriage to his wife. Information on the other AMS Prizes More information on the AMS prizes can be found on the AMS website.

Many warm congratulation to all of the prize winners today! And in case you missed the joint prize session, you can still make it to the reception which is starting at 5:30 outside of the atrium ballroom at the Marriot.

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...

3D Printing with Laura Taalman

Yesterday Laura Taalman gave a fantastic talk on “Math by design: 3D printing for the working mathematician.” Afterward, we got a close-up look at some of the 3D printed objects in press room:

For more 3D printing excitement, check today’s session:

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. 

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

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Lillian Pierce with her violin