All posts by hrpowers

Copper Country Math Circle

Little child in front of huge blackboardThe College of Sciences and Arts Dean’s Office is partnering with the Copper Country Intermediate School District to launch the Copper Country Math Circle.

Students in grades 2-5 who are excited about mathematics are invited to attend. The first meeting is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in Room 243 of the Opie Library. Meetings will be held one Thursday evening per month thereafter.

David Hemmer, CSA dean and professor of mathematical sciences, will host the event, assisted by Michigan Tech graduate student Rachel Ledebuhr.

Math Circles are informal gatherings where students work on interesting problems or topics in mathematics. Through problem solving and interactive exploration, students develop an excitement and appreciation of mathematics. Math Circles are not intended to accelerate the traditional school curriculum, but to explore interesting topics not normally seen in the classroom.

There is no charge, but registration is required. More information including registration is available online.

CTL Instructional Presentation Series: Cécile Piret, 2018 Innovative and Out of Class Teaching Award Recipient

Cecile PiretIn the second presentation of our fall award series, Cécile Piret (Math), will discuss her use of 3-D printing techniques to visualize multivariable functions in teaching Calculus 3, titled “3-D Printing for Mathematics Education.” Her innovative approach has illustrated mathematical concepts that can be studied in unique and practical ways and was recognized as part of the Dean’s Teaching Showcase. Piret will present from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11.

Formal recognition of this award for Innovative and Out of Class Teaching will follow her presentation. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how you might innovate your own teaching and recognize Cécile’s success. Coffee and light refreshments will be provided to those who register by Monday, Oct 8.

Trefethen to Deliver Kliakhandler Lectures

Nick Trefethen
Photo by Sara Kerens

Nick Trefethen, professor of numerical analysis at Oxford University and Global Distinguished Professor at New York University, will deliver the fourth-annual Kliakhandler Public Lecture at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, in Dow 641. The title of his lecture is “The Mathematics of the Faraday Cage.”

Trefethen has received many honors for his research in Numerical Analysis: Fellow of the Royal Society, Member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Gold Medal from the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (UK), the Naylor Prize from the London Mathematical Society, etc. He is also past-president of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. His previous lecture at Michigan Tech, “Discrete or Continuous”, has the distinction of being perhaps the only standing-room-only mathematics lecture ever given at the University.

Trefethen describes his talk as follows: “Everybody has heard of the Faraday cage effect, in which a wire mesh does a good job of blocking electric fields and electromagnetic waves. Surely the mathematics of such a famous and useful phenomenon has been long ago worked out and written up in the textbooks? It seems to be not so, and indeed, one of the few treatments to be found in the textbooks, by Feynman, is incorrect. The shielding effect turns out to be not as simple as one might expect: it depends on the wires having finite radius. Nor is it as strong as one might imagine: it improves only linearly as the wire spacing decreases. This talk will explain how the Faraday cage works and tell the story of the surprises Jon Chapman, Dave Hewett and I encountered along the way.”

Everyone is invited.

Trefethen will also deliver a research colloquium to the Department of Mathematical Sciences at 4:05 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, in Fisher 138. The presentation is titled “Random functions, random ODEs, and Chebfun.”

What is a random function? What is noise? The standard answers are nonsmooth, defined pointwise via the Wiener process and Brownian motion. In the Chebfun project, we have found it more natural to work with smooth random functions defined by finite Fourier series with random coefficients. There are plenty of conceptual challenges in this subject, starting with the fact that white noise has infinite amplitude and infinite energy, a paradox that goes back in two different ways to Einstein in 1905.



A book co-authored by Don Kreher, titled “Graphs, Algorithms, and Optimization,” Second Edition, has been selected for review by Choice, a journal for librarians. Only three books from the publisher’s entire mathematics and statistics portfolio have been chosen for review this year.

In January, Choice will select their Book of the Year from the books reviewed. The review of Kreher’s book, co-authored by William Kocay of the University of Manitoba, places it in nomination.

New Funding

image94446-persMin Wang is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $10,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is titled, “Bayesian Inference in Statistics and Statistical Genetics.”  This is a one-year project.

Michigan Tech to Host UP Math Championships

Math09232013019Michigan Tech’s Department of Mathematical Sciences is hosting the UP Math Championships from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (April 15) in Fisher Hall. Students in grades 3 -12 from throughout the UP have been invited to participate.

Students will compete as individuals and in teams of four. High school students will be competing for 10 scholarships to Michigan Tech. The competition includes an individual test, a team test and a “GUTS” test in which teams race to complete as many problems as they can.

Prizes, in addition to scholarships, include laser tags, Texas Instruments calculators and 3-D printed trophies.

Sponsors, in addition to Tech’s Department of Mathematical Sciences, include OHM Advisors, GS Engineering, Respawn Laser Tag, Texas Instruments and Art of Problem Solving.

Math Students Present at Undergrad Research Symposium

imedImageThe Undergraduate Research Symposium highlights the amazing cutting-edge research being conducted on Michigan Tech’s campus by some of our best and brightest undergraduate students.

The students showcasing their work today have spent a significant portion of the past year working alongside Michigan Tech faculty and graduate students to explore, discover and create new knowledge. They’ve spent long hours in the lab or out in the field designing experiments, gathering data, creating new models and testing hypotheses. They’ve applied their classroom knowledge in new and sometimes unexpected ways, and developed new skills that will propel them forward in their careers.

Anthony Marcich – Applied and Computational Mathematics

Title: Preliminary Work for Autochrome Photograph Reconstruction: Scanning and Processing Design
Advisor: Dr. Cecile Piret
Overview: Marcich goal is to use Radial Basis Functions methods (RBF) to construct smooth and accurate images from scans of these photographs. Their investigation of RBF requires processing scanned photos into nodes. They then described the initial scanning and processing work necessary to obtain these nodes.

E. Yasmine Walton-Durst – Mathematics

Title: Rayleigh–Bénard Convection in Michigan Tech’s Cloud Chamber – A Statistical Analysis of High Frequency Temperature Fluctuations
Advisor: Dr. Will Cantrell
Overview: Walton-Durst used time series analysis and other statistical methods to identify trends in temperature fluctuations from a second to several minutes. We hypothesize that data from the temperature sensors can provide a signature of the characteristic fluid movement within the chamber.

Madison Heeringa – Acutarial Science Mathematics

Title: Finding Structure in Data
Advisor: Dr. Benjamin Ong
Overview: Heeringa’s goal is to learn about and understand PCA and multi-scale PCA. Which will eventually be used to classify land and canopy cover in satellite images.