Colloquium Abstracts
Dan Sloughter
Furman University
20 September 2006
ABSTRACT:
Thomas Bradwardine was a 14th century philosopher, logician,
mathematician, theologian, and, shortly before his death, the Archbishop
of Canterbury. C. S. Peirce said that Bradwardine ``anticipated and
outstripped our most modern mathematicologicians, and gave the true
analysis of continuity.'' Chaucer ranks him with Augustine and Boethius
for his writings on free will. In this talk, I will look at several
mathemtical examples from his work, with primary emphasis on his
treatise on the composition of the continuum and the question of whether
a line is composed from points.
John McCleary
Vassar College
16 October 2007
ABSTRACT:
We will discuss teaching mathematics in a seminar format.
Stephen and Sandra Hedetniemi
School of Computing
Clemson University
29 November 2007
ABSTRACT:
Discrete mathematicians live in a world that is at all times
abundantly rich with unsolved problems. And seemingly,
for every problem we solve, we generate 10 more that we
haven't solved. Many of these problems defy solution, and
some have remained solved for more than 150 years.
We will explore the methods that we use to solve these
problems, consider their inherent limits, and then discuss several
famous unsolved problems, including Graph Isomorphism,
The Queens Domination Problem, The Tree Packing Conjecture,
and several others.
Tom Lewis
Furman University
31 January 2008
ABSTRACT:
This talk will be a brief introduction to the theory and applications of
branching processes. Branching processes were introduced in the 19th century
to model the descent of family names. We will discuss the history of this
problem, examine the celebrated Criticality Theorem,
and look at some applications of branching processes
to queuing theory, random walk, percolation, and random fractal sets.
Sharon Anne Garthwaite
Bucknell University
11 February 2008 (Monday)
ABSTRACT:
Partitions are seemingly simple objects  they are based only on
basic addition and counting, yet these partition numbers have
surprising arithmetic properties. In this talk we will explore a
variety of methods for proving our observations, such as
combinatorics, qseries, and the theory of modular forms, special
complexvalued functions. Some of these methods are quite simple.
Others are more...complex!
This talk will be accessible to anyone interested in math. The only
prerequisite is a love of numbers.
Dave Penniston
Furman University
1 April 2008 (Monday)
ABSTRACT:
This talk will be about Ramanujan, partitions and the mock theta functions.
Ron Gould
Emory University
10 April 2008 (Monday)
ABSTRACT:
We will consider several games and
explore the mathematical background for these
games. A wide variety of interesting mathematics
can actually be developed by asking the right
questions about these games.
Tom Richmond
Western Kentucky University
1 May 2008
ABSTRACT:
If you want a 1 cm thick slice of a spherical orange with as much
peeling as possible, should you take a slice from the end or from the
center? The answer, known in Archimedes' time, is a common exercise in
modern calculus texts and gives an interesting property of spheres. The
Second Fundamental Theorem of Calculus will be used to find all other
surfaces of revolution with this property and to investigate some
properties of parabolas.
