Spring 2015 Talks

February 3: Ryan Solava
Title: This Title is Self-Referential
Abstract: Self-reference can lead to some fascinating but logic defying examples, such as the well-known Epimenides paradox (“This sentence is false”). Despite this, or perhaps because of it, self-reference has been put to good use in several important results in mathematics, including the Halting Problem and Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem. We will examine these results and on the way, explore mathematical thinking and it’s limits.

February 10: Victor Falgas-Ravry
Title: Chaos Does Not Exist
Abstract: In this talk, I will give a gentle introduction to Ramsey theory, a beautiful area in extremal combinatorics. The crux of Ramsey theory is that in every large structure we can find some very ordered substructures. In other words utter chaos does no exist, no matter what your experiences at university may have taught you.

February 24: Michael Northington
Title: Math, Music, and Machine Learning
Abstract: Software tools such as Garage Band and Audacity, allow musicians to analyze and create music, but how do these tools work? In this talk, I will introduce a branch of mathematics called harmonic analysis and its most important tool, the Fourier Transform. I’ll show how this can be used to break down a short piece of music into its frequency components, and (hopefully) show how some techniques from machine learning can be used to allow a computer to identify what chords/notes are being played based on these frequencies.

March 10: Zach Gaslowitz
Title: The Prisoner’s Dilemma
Abstract: Two bank robbers are arrested and taken to separate interrogations rooms. The police know that they only have proper evidence for a traffic violation, which carries a hefty fine but no jail time. Somehow, though, they offer each prisoner a deal that persuades them to turn on their partner, and both end up serving time. This simple example highlights a perhaps counterintuitive idea in game theory, which pops up in various forms throughout our daily lives. We will discuss some of the theory behind it, see a few ways in which it comes up, and figure out ways we can change the game to get a more satisfying outcome.

March 17: Min Gao
Title: Mathematical Modeling
Abstract: In this talk, I will give a brief overview of mathematical modeling approaches with their applications in various medical case studies. Different types of data have different features which can be visualized and analyzed by certain types of mathematical techniques such as histograms, scatter plots, and mean/median, variance. We can select appropriate modeling techniques for certain types of data to analyze the results and predict future trends.

March 24: Sandeepan Parekh
Title: Polygons and polyhedrons in space and beyond
Abstract: How many regular polygons are there? Equilateral triangles, squares … as many as you like. Surprisingly, the answer to how many regular solid polyhedrons (3D version of polygons) there are, is a mere 5! I shall prove why there are just five of these Platonic Solids and attempt to argue that there ought to be more, hidden in hyperbolic space.

March 31: Charley Conley
Title: Mr. Newton & Mr. Fusion
Abstract: Can a centuries old calculus problem lead the way to a tabletop fusion reactor? Take a walk on the applied side in a highly interactive presentation and look at some basic math related to energy production–past,present,and future! And calculate if the PRICE is RIGHT!

April 7: Josh Sparks
Title: An “Urn”est Look at Probability Models
Abstract: Like most of the mathematical sciences, we strive to use modeling to mirror the real-world phenomenon. In this talk, we shall take the ideas of probability theory and stochastic processes and develop something called an “Urn Model”. These models can turn a simple urn filled with different colors of balls and mimic both discrete and continuous probability distributions that can connect to heat dispersion and binomial trials.