Colloquium Abstracts


Miscellanea From Thomas Bradwardine's De Continuo

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 mathematico-logicians, 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.


Conducting an Orchestra/Conducting a Seminar

John McCleary
Vassar College

16 October 2007

ABSTRACT: We will discuss teaching mathematics in a seminar format.


Looking for the Limits of Discrete Mathematics

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.


An Introduction to Branching Processes

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.


Sum Math Talk

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, q-series, and the theory of modular forms, special complex-valued 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.


Ramanujan, Partitions and Mock Theta Functions

Dave Penniston
Furman University

1 April 2008 (Monday)

ABSTRACT: This talk will be about Ramanujan, partitions and the mock theta functions.


Mathematics and Games

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.


Some Applications of the Second Fundamental Theorem of Calculus

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.