The Vanderbilt Undergrad Seminar

The Undergraduate Seminar in Mathematics is a weekly, hour long talk. There you can hear about some of the many deep and interesting areas of mathematics beyond what you would see in the classroom of most math classes. The talks are designed to be accessible to any college student; little to no math background is required. The seminar occurs most weeks on Tuesday from 6-7pm, in Stevenson 1206. Come by and enjoy some pizza and soda before the talk, and hear about something new. We hope to see you there!

This semester’s talks: (This list will be updated as talks are scheduled.)

February 5: Hayden Jananthan
Title:
What’s Yellow and Equivalent to the Axiom of Choice?
Abstract:
In the early and mid 20th century, the foundations of mathematics were a hot topic that plagued many of the finest mathematicians of the time. One particular issue was with the use of an axiom known as the “Axiom of Choice”. Today, we accept the Axiom of Choice without too much fuss, but we still often acknowledge its use with extra care than is taken with other axioms. Why was this axiom so contentious? What eventually won mathematics over to its favor? What’s Yellow and Equivalent to the Axiom of Choice? In our talk, we will explore the answers to these questions and related topics.

February 12: Professor Jesse Peterson
Title:
Banach-Tarski Banach-Tarski
Abstract:
Nearly a century ago, Stefan Banach and Alfred Tarski discovered a result which had been sought by alchemists for centuries prior. It is possible to take the unit ball, break it into finitely many pieces, and then translate and rotate the pieces so that their union give two disjoint unit balls. This paradox, seeming to create a ball ex nihilo, has had a lasting impact on mathematics, and the techniques involved continues to be expanded in modern research. In this talk I will discuss the proof, and also some of the implications, of the Banach-Tarski paradox.

February 19: Srivatsav Kunnawalkam Elayavalli
Title:
Sharks in the Shallows
Abstract:
On a fine sunny day, little Sri decided to go fishing because he really enjoyed it and was passionate about it and wanted to become a great fisher. Since he wasn’t an expert nor an experienced fisher, he decided to go to the local shallow waters thinking that he’ll find only small fish, and it’ll be a tractable job for him to catch them. Everything was going well until he discovered that several unconquerable beasts and sharks have been hiding there for centuries tricking several young and amateur fishers into catching them. Sometimes, even great expert fishermen go back to these shallows to try and catch them, and indeed a very few of them have succeeded and received immense glory and fame… Do you want to know more about the mystery of these legendary beasts??? Come to my talk.

February 26: Jon Ashbrock
Title:
Computation v. Simulation or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the RNG
Abstract:
Computation of probabilities and averages is one of the most common tasks asked of applied mathematicians in industry. While most problems of this type are tractable via pen-and-paper calculation, I claim this is not the best approach. With the use of your favorite RNG and a little bit of coding knowledge, you can estimate the probability in a much faster method. Tonight, we’ll demonstrate this technique in two ways: showing you how to have the most fun playing roulette and by providing an introduction to Monte-Carlo integration.

March 12: Zack Tripp
Title:
TBA
Abstract:
TBA

March 19: Professor Adam Prenosil
Title:
TBA
Abstract:
TBA

March 26: Levi Sledd
Title: TBA
Abstract: TBA

April 2: TBA
Title: TBA
Abstract: TBA

Check out all of the awesome talks we have had in the past!