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UMaine Math Department to host Maine/Québec Number Theory Conference

The University of Maine Department of Mathematics & Statistics will host the Maine-Québec Number Theory Conference on October 5-6, 2013.  Approximately 60 number theorists from New England, Québec, and beyond will gather at the annual meeting to present and discuss their research.  Among the 38 scheduled lectures is a plenary address by Barry Mazur, a Harvard professor and 2013 recipient of the National Medal of Science.

The meeting provides an opportunity for young mathematicians and graduate students to interact with leading scholars.  It was founded in 1998 by UMaine professor Chip Snyder and Laval University professor Claude Levesque.  This year, the event will be held in their honor on the occasion of their retirement.

The event is funded by the National Science Foundation, the University of Maine Office of the Vice President for Research, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.


2013 Capstone Presentations

It’s that time of year again- when the senior Mathematics majors give talks on their Capstone papers. Come hear what they have been working on. The schedule of lectures and list of topics are here.

2012 Mathematics Contest Winners

All students of Calculus I and II (MAT 126-127) were invited to participate in this year’s Mathematics Contest.  The test consisted of three challenging calculus problems, to be solved over one weekend, and turned in on November 14th, 2012.

The results are in, and the following cash awards were given:

Calculus I (26 participants)

First Prize winner, $150:   Aleksander Cole
Second Prize winners, $75 each: Channosphea But, Riley Mattor, John Mucrose
Third Prize winners, $40 each: Jenn Seneres, Samuel Wallace

Calculus II (18 participants)

First Prize: No winner
Second Prize winners, $100 each: Hue Weon Hwang, Maso Urban
Third Prize winners, $50 each: Mitche Beroit, Yi Peg.

Congratulations to the winners!

2011 Mathematics Contest Winners

The department of Mathematics and Statistics ran a contest in 2011 for Calculus students.   There were 37 contestants, 25 enrolled into Calculus I and 12 into Calculus II.  Students of Calculus I and II were given different sets of problems and were not competing with each other.

Place Name Class Prize
First Nathan Dunn
Elliot Ossana
Calc II
Calc II
Second Andrew Dicbeon
Nicholas Carter
Albano Drazhi
Aman Maskay
Calc I
Calc I
Calc I
Calc I
Third Jaime Potvin
Connor Chu
Calc I
Calc II
Honorable Mention Taylor Plaisted
Curtis Tompson
Hannah Dewey
Kyle Nolan
Gwendolyn Beacham
Calc I
Calc II
Calc II
Calc II
Calc II

* UMaine Bookstore gift certificate

The Contest Committee also recommended Calculus instructors to award the above contestants with extra credit points.

Stay tuned for the announcement of the 2012 contest!

Math Major awarded Fellowship

Stuart Lathrop has been awarded a CLAS Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Fellowship for this year. Mr. Lathrop, who is a senior math major, won the $1400 fellowship for his proposal entitled Contributions to the Foundations of the Theory of Transcendental Numbers. He is writing an extensive survey on the theorem of Gelfand and Schneider asserting that αβ is transcendental whenever α is an algebraic number number different from 0 and 1, and β is an irrational algebraic number.  This project grew out of Stuart’s Mathematics Capstone paper on transcendental numbers.  He will present his work at the CUGR Showcase in the spring.  He is being advised on the project by Chip Snyder and Andrew Knightly.

2012 Quebec/Maine Number Theory Conference

The annual Québec/Maine Number Theory Conference took place on the weekend of September 29-30. The conference was co-organized by number theorists at the Unversity of Maine and at Laval University in Québec City.  This year, the conference was dedicated to the memory of UMaine mathematician Ali Ozluk, who passed away last year.  Prof. Peter Sarnak, a number theorist at Princeton University, gave a lecture touching on aspects of Ali’s work. UMaine professors David Bradley and Andrew Knightly also gave  talks on their research.

Pizza Pi: Lessons on train schedules

Pi Mu Epsilon / Pizza Pi talk
Thursday, April 5, 2012, 11:30am-12:30pm.
Neville 421
Pizza at 11:30 am, Talk 11:50-12:30.

Dr. Eisso Atzema, University of Maine Math Department
Lessons on Train Schedules: From String Charts to Teaching Tools.

The early 20th-century was a time of major reforms in the teaching of mathematics all across the Western world. Among the many changes that were adopted was an increased emphasis on the use of the function concept in its various representations (sounds familiar?). In particular, in a very short time span, graphical illustrations of functions became commonplace in mathematics textbooks.

In this presentation, I will talk about the inclusion of so-called graphical railroad time tables (see figure above) as an example of such a graphical illustration. Among other things, I will discuss the origins of this real-life application of mathematics, its actual use, and how its inclusion in the textbooks evolved over time.

In Memoriam: Ali Erhan Özlük, 1952-2012

Ali Erhan Özlük, Professor of Mathematics, 1952-2012
Our dear colleague, Professor Ali Özlük, passed away unexpectedly at his home in Bangor on March 1, 2012. Prof. Özlük was born Sept. 13, 1952, in Denizli, Turkey. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from Bogazici University in Bebek/Istanbul in 1974, he attended graduate school at the University of Michigan, where he received his Ph.D. in analytic number theory under the direction of Hugh Montgomery in 1982.Professor Özlük authored or co-authored 18 scholarly journal articles devoted to gaining insights into the distribution of the prime numbers, zeros of zeta functions and applications to problems in statistical mechanics and theoretical physics. In a pioneering 1993 paper coauthored with University of Maine Professor Chip Snyder, Professor Özlük studied the statistical properties of low-lying zeros of the family of real quadratic Dirichlet L-functions. This deep and insightful work attracted the attention of world-renowned experts in the field, as it provided some of the earliest evidence for the emerging Katz-Sarnak philosophy that such zeroes should behave statistically like the eigenvalues of certain random matrices. In 1998, Prof. Özlük was honored with an invitation to chair a session and speak at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Berlin. He had been an invited lecturer at numerous other venues, including the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, Berkeley, Calif., and Newton Institute, Cambridge, England. During his 25-year career at the University of Maine, Professor Özlük supervised or co-supervised many graduate students, taught just about every mathematics course the department offers from remedial algebra through Advanced Field and Galois Theory, and every fall semester recruited and coached the UMaine team participating in the annual Putnam Mathematics Competition. Students consistently spoke of his great patience with their questions, and colleagues marveled at the breadth of his knowledge and the depth of his insights into areas of mathematics quite remote from his own specialty. Professor Özlük was a cheerful and kind person, much loved by his family, friends, students and colleagues.  He will be greatly missed.

Phi Beta Kappa / Mathematics seminar: Tartaglia’s solution to the cubic equation

Thursday, December 1, 2011
Arielle Saiber, Associate Professor of Italian, Bowdoin College.
“Niccolo’ Tartaglia’s Poetic Solution to the Cubic Equation”
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm, 421 Neville Hall.

Click here for the abstract.

Grad seminar: Irrational Rotations and Invariant Sets, Nov 17

University of Maine mathematics master’s student Trevor Vadas will be speaking in Thursday’s seminar: “Irrational Rotations and Invariant Sets.”  The abstract for his talk is here.
Thursday, November 17, 3:30 pm, in 108 Neville Hall.