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Mathematics & Statistics


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Math Documentary Part II: Tues. Nov. 15

Mathematics Documentary!
Tuesday, November 15, 12:30 – 1:30 P.M.
421 Neville Hall
Cookies and drinks at 12:30, Video at 12:45

Dangerous Knowledge  (Part 2)  [Part 1 was shown the previous week.]

In this BBC documentary, David Malone looks at four brilliant mathematicians – Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing – whose genius has profoundly affected us, but which tragically drove them insane and eventually led to them all to committing suicide.

Pizza Pi: November 8

Pizza Pi!
Tuesday, November 8, 12:30 – 1:30 P.M.
421 Neville Hall
Pizza at 12:30, Video at 12:45

Dangerous Knowledge  (Part 1)  [Part 2 will be shown the following week when dessert will be served.]

In this BBC documentary, David Malone looks at four brilliant mathematicians – Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing – whose genius has profoundly affected us, but which tragically drove them insane and eventually led to them all to committing suicide.

An Introduction to Partition Theory: Nov. 3

University of Maine mathematics master’s student Emily Igo will be speaking in this week’s seminar: “An introduction to partition theory,” Thursday, November 3, 3:30 pm, in 108 Neville Hall. The abstract for her talk is here.

Students receive Fellowship

Undergraduates Emma Strubell and Avner Maiberg each received an Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Fellowship from the University of Maine College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for work they are doing with Associate Professor of Mathematics David Hiebeler. They will be developing computer simulations of the spread of internet worms, with the goal of developing strategies for combatting them.  Each award comes with a $1400 stipend, and they will share $1100 to purchase equipment.

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Colloquium Talk: Oct 27

Thursday, October 27, 2011
Prof. Ali Abedi, UMaine Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
“Smart Battery-Free Wireless Sensing”
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm, 100 Neville Hall.

Battery-free wireless sensors developed at the University of Maine under a cooperative agreement with NASA enable a myriad of applications ranging from structural health monitoring to biomedical and space explorations to name a few. Embedding these sensors in structures without the need for changing batteries, their rugged design to withstand harsh environments, and coded communication with multiple access features makes this new technology a desirable candidate for a variety of aerospace and civil infrastructure monitoring applications. This talk presents mathematical theories behind sensor design, communication schemes, and multi tier networking strategies developed to deliver a reliable wireless sensor system.

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Putnam Math Competition

The annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is a contest for undergraduate mathematics students. Students compete as individuals and as a team representing their university.  This year it will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3.   Interested students should contact Prof. Ali Ozluk on First Class.

A Gathering for Gardner

Martin Gardner was a writer specializing in recreational mathematics.  His monthly column in Scientific American from 1956-1981 had a profound impact, attracting many young people into mathematics.  In celebration of what would have been Martin Gardner’s 97th birthday, there will be Celebration of Mind gatherings all over the world on Friday, October 21st. These events are intended to highlight Martin’s life and work, and continue his pursuit of a playful and fun approach to Mathematics, Science, Art, Magic, Puzzles and all of his other interests and writings. Everyone is encouraged to bring a magic trick, puzzle, recreational mathematics problem or story about Martin to share.  Join us on Friday, October 21, 2011, 2:30 p.m.— 4:00 p.m.  in 108 Neville Hall.  For more information, contact Rick Eason or Robert Franzosa.  More information on the global event can be found here.

Colloquium Talk: October 20

Thursday, October 20, 2011
Dr. Jonathan Farley, UMaine Dept. of Computer Science.
“The Most Embarrassing Inequality of My Life”
Matchings in the Permutation Lattice
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm, 421 Neville Hall.

“Can you do it?”

In the spring of 1997, Anders Björner, a visitor at Berkeley’s Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, sent me a handwritten note in response to a question I had asked him. He wanted to know if I could prove, combinatorially, for an n-element poset of height r, that hk≥hn-1-k when k < (n-1)/2. I had been hunting this inequality for perhaps the previous four or five years. I believed that any fact about ordered sets, except artificially-rigged statements, must be provable by order-theoretic means. To my embarrassment, however, I could not deduce this inequality combinatorially. Nor could I concede defeat.

Perhaps I should explain.

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Twisted Mathematics: Rubik’s Cube

Tuesday, Sept. 27, 12:30pm – 1:20pm in Room 421 of Neville Hall.
Speaker: Kevin Roberge, Mathematics Instructor and Graduate Student of Physics.
Pizza will be served!

Rubik’s cube and the many other twisty puzzles that have been created embody a beautiful part of mathematics known as group theory. These hand held puzzles invite problem solvers from all walks of life to enjoy the clearly stated challenge of each puzzle: return to a state of order.

In this discussion Kevin Roberge, a long time fan of twisty puzzles, will introduce some history, mathematics and future of Rubik’s cube and twisty puzzles. He’ll have his modest collection with him and will discuss some of the challenges in solving the puzzles and in creating new puzzles.

Image Description: Rubik's Cube

UMaine to host the Maine/Quebec Number Theory Conference

The annual Maine/Québec Number Theory Conference will once again be hosted by the Department of Mathematics & Statistics at the University of Maine on October 1-2, 2011.  Around sixty Number Theorists from New England, Québec, and beyond will gather to present and discuss their research.  The conference is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, and internally by the Office of the Vice President for Research, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Department of Mathematics & Statistics.  For the scientific program and other information, see the conference website.


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Mathematics & Statistics
5752 Neville Hall, Room 333
Orono, Maine 04469
Phone: (207) 581-3900 | Fax: (207) 581-3902
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1865