News & Notes
Best Wishes for the Holiday Seasons and Safe Travels!
Senior Honors and ARTU (Advanced Research Training for Undergraduates) Presentations
All students and faculty are welcome ro these presentation which will mostly be given in late March. Additional speakers will be posted here as the dates are set.
- February 16, 2015 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm: Patrick Lopatto, Schatten-class Truncated Toeplitz Operators
Loeb Undergraduate Lecture in Mathematics
The Mathematics Department welcomes this year's speaker, Francis Edward Su, the Benediktsson-Karwa Professor o fMathematics at Harvey Mudd College and current President of the Mathematical Association of America to speak on Voting in Agreeable Societies
Thursday, March 19, at 4:30 p.m.
Brown Hall, room 118
Refreshments will precede the talk in the Math Lounge (Cupples I, 200)
Abstract: When does a majority exist? How does the geometry of the political spectrum influence the outcome? What does mathematics have to say about how people behave? When mathematical objects have a social interpretation, the associated results have social applications. We will show how some classical mathematics about the geometry of convex sets and their intersections can be used to model people's preferences and understand voting in "agreeable" societies. This talk also features research with undergraduates.
This annual lecture is made possible by a generous gift to the Department by friends Carole B. Loeb and Jerome T. Loeb. It is an annual event for our students. Your can see more about the history and past speakers at Loeb Undergraduate Lecture in Mathematics.
Math Club First Spring Meeting
Monday, January 26, 5:30 in Cupples I, room 199
Speaker: Professor Renato Feres
Topic: Geometry in Very High Dimensions
Abstract: Peculiar things happen to volumes when the dimension of space grows to very large values. In this talk we'll see some of these properties and how probability theory can help make sense of them.
The Math Club President for 2014-2015 is Peter Lu. Contact him to get involved or ask to be added to the Math's Club's email list. If you're interested in hearing about a specific topic at Math Club, or would like to give a talk yourself, feel free to speak up or email Peter.
Interested in Helping to Provide Math Enrichment for Motivated Middle School Students? Check out Math Circles!
Here's a 2015 article about the program from the W.U. Newsroom
Summer Research Programs
Undergraduate majors, especially those interested in graduate work in mathematics, should consider applying to one of the many summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. Students most often participate after the junior year but, depending on your preparation, after the sophomore year might also work. Applications for the coming summer are usually due by about mid February. Explore our web page Undergraduate Study/Internship Opportunities and talk with Professor Ron Freiwald if you might be interested.
Juniors: Latin Honors and Distinction in Mathematics Awards for May 2016
If you think you're interested, please look at the requirements for graduation with Distinction or Latin Honors. The Distinction requirements require extra courses and a high GPA in math. Latin Honors and higher levels of Distinction require a senior thesis. You should be planning coursework now so that requirements aren't "piled up" at the end.
For juniors who plan to be candidates for Latin Honors: the Department must submit a list of all senior candidates for Latin Honors in May 2016 to the College by September 1, 2015. To be on this list, you need to have an overall and a math GPA that would qualify you for Latin Honors, and you need to have submitted a proposal for your honors thesis, signed and approved by a faculty advisor. It's usually best to get all this lined up and submitted by the end of your junior year. That way, you avoid a rush at the start of the senior year, and can use part of the summer reading for work on the senior thesis. Here's the link to the form you need to submit to be admitted to candidacy for Latin Honors.
Note: If you're not on the list of Honors Candidates submitted on September 1, 2015, it might well happen that you cannot be considered as a Latin Honors candidate by the College. There is no guarantee that the College will approve later additions to the list.
Not everyone will agree, but this article is worth considering.
Washington University Actuarial Club (WUAC)
- If you want to be added to the WUAC mailing list
- If you are interested in becoming an executive member of WUAC. This is a fairly low time commitment and a great way to meet actuaries from many different lines of business.
- If you are interested in having an informational meeting about what classes to take for what exams, the exam process, general actuarial info, etc. If there is enough interest, we will put a presentation/ Q&A session together
- If you have any questions or feedback.
Join the WUAC Facebook group.
WU Chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM)
The WashU Chapter of the AWM serves to introduce and connect students into a supportive network of other female college math majors and professionals. We will have activities focused around networking and professional skills, post-graduate opportunities, speakers, and group outings. We will also be doing big/little mentorship pairings for those who are interested.
Some upcoming events include: people share their math-related summer experiences with the rest of AWM (9-30) and a workshop on how to create a cv in LaTeX (10-07).
If you'd like to receive information on WashU AWM, please add yourself to our email list here.
Nationally, the purpose of the Association for Women in Mathematics is to encourage women and girls to study and to have active careers in the mathematical sciences, and to promote equal opportunity and the equal treatment of women and girls in the mathematical sciences.
Benefits of getting involved with an local AWM student chapter include: free AWM membership, networking opportunities, a stronger sense of community, and more. In order to start an AWM student chapter at WashU, we must have 3 students willing to serve as officers and a faculty sponsor. The faculty Sponsor for the AWM WashU chapter is Professor Roberts.
Upcoming Math Competitions
- 20th annual Missouri Collegiate Mathematics Competition: March 26-27, 2015, at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla, MO) We will be sending 2 teams of 3 students each. This competition consists of ten problems, divided into two 2.5 hour sessions: one Thursday evening and the other Friday morning. Papers are graded Friday afternoon and the results announced at a banquet on Friday evening. If you want read more about the competition (including old exams and solutions), go to the competition website.
- William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, sponsored by the MAthematical Association of America (MAA): Saturday, December 5, 2015 (approximately 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.)
Any number of students can participate, and there will be practice preparation sessions during the fall 2015 semester. Here's how the MAA describes the mathematics background suggested for participants and a partial history of the Putnam Competition). You can view past contest problems and solutions at the Putnam web page maintained at Santa Clara University. Results from the December 2014 competition should be announced in late March 2015. Questions? Contact Professor Renato Feres.
Math Competition Results: 2013-2014
William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition
On Saturday, December 7, 2013, nineteen Washington University students participated in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition. More than 4000 students, representing several hundred institutions across the United States and Canada took part in this challenging six hour competition that contains 12 problems. Participants work on questions individually, and their work is scored over a period of a few months. Contestants are then ranked by score (there are multiple ties of rank for the same score).
Three of the participants were designated as the Washington University "Team" in the competition, the "Team Score" being the sum of their three individual scores.
The results for the December competition were released in late March. The Washington University team ranked 10th among over 400 teams participating. The team members were Anthony Grebe (sophomore), Patrick Lopatto (junior), and Jongwhan Park (freshman).
Individually, two Washington University students ranked 136, and an additional six ranked among the top 400. Washington University has participated in the Putnam Competition every year for many years. During the past 20 years, the W.U. team has ranked among the "top ten teams" 7 times (including twice in the top 5).
The Putnam Competition is sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and consists of twelve problems, divided between two 3-hour sessions. It is held each year on the first Saturday in December.
Results from the most recent competition (December 2014) should be announced near the end of March, 2015.
Missouri Collegiate Mathematics Competition Spring 2014
Two WU teams participated in the 19th annual Missouri Collegiate Mathematics Competition, sponsored by the Missouri Section of the Mathematics Association of America. The competition was held on March 27-28 on the campus of St. Louis University. The W.U. teams placed 1st and 3rd among the 47 teams participating. The 1st place team scored a perfect "100", the first in the history of the competition, and the 3rd placed team was close behind with a "98."
1st place: Anthony Grebe, Alan Talmage, Fangzhou Xiao
3rd place: Yu Tao Li, Stephen Rong, and Jason Zhang
William Chauvenet, from the Washington Magazine
Mathematician William Chauvenet was the second Chancellor of Washington University. The Department's Chauvenet Postdoctoral Lecturer positions are named after him. Our Chauvenet Lecturers for 2013-2014 are Professors Ivan Horozov, Peter Luthy, and Songhao (Travis) Li.
Annual Mathematics Department Awards Ceremony
At this ceremony we recognize and present honors cords (to wear at Commencement ceremonies) to those graduating majors who have been recommended for Latin Honors or the Distinction in Mathematics Award, as well as those who are receiving ARTU certificates or one of the Department's named prizes. We also take note of other student achievements such as success in mathematics competitions. We recognize a graduate student who has won a Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching and also present the Department's Guido Weiss Award for Teaching and Service to a faculty member or graduate student.
The 17th annual Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics will be held January 23-25, 2015 in Lincoln, Nebraska. The conference, organized by the University of Nebraska (Lincoln), hosts more than 200 undergraduate women studying mathematics at more than one hundred schools all around the country. Take a look at the website for the 2015 conference.
The conference is a chance to meet with other women interested in mathematics, to learn about life in mathematics graduate school from current female graduate students, hear about summer research opportunities and careers in math. Undergraduate research presentations are also invited. There are also some excellent guest lecturers. You can also read comments from some of the W.U. majors who have attended these conferences in past years.
We expect that registration for the 2016 Conference will open online approximately October 1, and the available spaces fill up very fast--the Conference is usually fully registered within a few days of the opening of registration.
We always welcome feedback or questions from students
- Professor Blake Thornton (Coordinator of Lower Division Teaching: Calculus/Differential Equations questions and issues)
- Professor Ron Freiwald (Director of Undergraduate Studies)
- Professor David Wright, Department Chair