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2014 - 2015 Academic Year

Abstracts & Biographies

Date: 4 September (Thursday)

Speaker: Dr. Edwin O'Shea
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
James Madison University

Title: Divisibility Tests Unified: Stacking the Trimmings for Sums

Abstract: Divisibility Tests are algorithms that can quickly decide if one integer is divisible by another. These tests first appeared in the Babylonian Talmud and have drawn the affections of such mathematical luminaries as Fibonacci, Pascal, Lagrange and many others. Our first aim in this talk is to introduce divisibility tests to the uninitiated by drawing on familiar tests like the last-digit test for 2 and 5, and the summing-the-digits test for 3 and 9. Less familiar tests include the trimming test for 7. Our second aim is to discuss the many other tests beyond the well known cases and show that, at their heart, most tests are either of the "trimming'' or "summing'' variety.  The trimming and summing families of tests are thought of as two distinct techniques but we will show that they are effectively the same.

We introduce the notion of "stacking'' and use only the most basic of divisibility properties to achieve our aims. With this being the first colloquium of the academic year, this talk will be especially suitable for freshmen and sophomores and everyone else is welcome too.

Bio: Edwin O'Shea is an assistant professor of mathematics at James Madison University. His scholarly expertise is in geometric and algebraic combinatorics with a general interest (but little expertise) in number theory and the history of mathematics. Professor O'Shea has supervised nine REU students in the past three years and teaches courses across the curricular spectrum; he has a particular vocation for courses with non-STEM majors and future high school math teachers. He lives in Staunton, Virginia with his wife and their young family and likes to walk, chat, bake and read in his spare time. He has recently become a student again, currently taking a workshop class in woodworking and cabinet making.


Date: 23 September (Tuesday)

Speaker: Dr. Brian Heinhold
Associate Professor of Mathematics
Mount St. Mary's University

Title: e

Abstract: The number e ≈ 2.718 is familiar to Calculus students everywhere, but how much do you really know about it? We will see where e comes from, who discovered it, and some of the surprising places it shows up.

Bio: Brian Heinold graduated from Montclair State University in 2001.  He earned a PhD from Lehigh University in 2006 and has been a faculty member at Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg, MD since 2006.  There he teaches a variety of math and computer science courses. His research interests include graph theory and mathematical imagery.


Date: 21 October (Tuesday)

Speaker: Dr. Caren Diefenderfer
Professor of Mathematics
Hollins University

Title: MegaMenger

Abstract: The #MegaMenger project culminates during the week of this colloquium.  We will build some smaller parts of Menger cubes and discuss the fractals surrounding them.

Bio: Caren Diefenderfer is a Professor of Mathematics at Hollins University.  She is currently Governor of the Maryland-DC-Virginia Section of the Mathematical Association of America.


Date: 13 November (Thursday)

Speaker: Dr. Susan Goldstine
Associate Professor of Mathematics
St. Mary's College of Maryland

Title: You can never have too many bracelets: Adventures in mathematical beading

Abstract: Sometimes, when opportunity knocks, it comes bearing jewelry.

Six years ago, I embarked on an unexpected journey into the realm of mathematical beading.  Along the way, my colleagues and I uncovered fascinating connections between mathematics and art, and I will show you a few of the highlights of our travels into the realms of geometry, number theory, topology, and abstract algebra.  Together, we will look at how geometry and modular arithmetic intersect in bead crochet, the structure of symmetry, the aesthetic principles of jewelry design, and bracelets.  Lots and lots of bracelets.

Bio: Susan Goldstine received her A.B. in Mathematics and French from Amherst College in 1993 and her Ph.D. in Mathematics from Harvard University in 1998.  She joined the faculty of St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2004, where she is currently Associate Professor of Mathematics and Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.  Her joint and individual artworks have appeared in Math Horizons, the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, and various art exhibits including the 2013 Exhibition of Mathematical Art at the national Joint Mathematics Meetings, where she received the Honorable Mention for Tessellation Evolution, a framed bead crochet necklace with over 4300 beads.  Her guiding principle is that a professor’s office can never have too many toys.


Date: 24 February (Tuesday)

Speaker: Dr. David Clark
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Randolph-Macon College





Date: 19 March (Thursday)

Speaker: Ms. Elizabeth Creath '09
Mathematics Lecturer
University of North Carolina Wilmington





Date: 26 March (Thursday)

Speaker: Dr. Paul Hemler
Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science
Hampden-Sydney College





Date: 9 April (Thursday)

Speaker: Dr. David Taylor
Associate Professor of Mathematics
Roanoke College