Virginia Tech Regional Math Contest

Come have a chance to win cash prizes. The event will be held in 111 TMCB on Saturday, October 21st. Breakfast will be served at 8:30 AM, come no later than 8:45. Email Dr. Nielson with questions, pace@math.byu.edu. No sign up is necessary.

Focus on Math: Pamela Harris – Professor

Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 4:30:pm in 1170 TMCB

Title: Invisible Lattice Points

Abstract: This talk is about the invisibility of points on the integer lattice ℤ ✕ ℤ, where we think of these points as (infinitely thin) trees. Standing at the origin one may notice that the tree at the integer lattice point (1, 1) blocks from view the trees at (2, 2), (3, 3), and, more generally, at (n, n) for any n ∈ ℤ≥0. In fact any tree at (ℓ, m) will be invisible from the origin whenever 𝓁 and m share any divisor d, since the tree at (ℓ/D, m/D), where D = gcd(ℓ, m) blocks (ℓ, m) from view. With this fact at hand, we will investigate the following questions. If the lines of sight are straight lines through the origin, then what is the probability that the tree at (ℓ, m) is visible? Meaning, that the tree (ℓ, m) is not blocked from view by a tree in front of it. Is possible for us to find forests of trees (rectangular regions of adjacent lattice points) in which all trees are invisible? If it is possible to find such forests, how large can those forests be? What happens if the lines of sight are no longer straight lines through the origin, i.e. functions of the form f(x) = ax with , but instead are functions of the form f(x) = axb with b a positive integer and a ∈ ℚ? Along this mathematical journey, I will also discuss invisibility as it deals with the underrepresentation of women and minorities in the mathematical sciences and I will share the work I have done to help bring more visibility to the mathematical contributions of Latinx and Hispanic Mathematicians.

Math work is joint with Bethany Kubik, Edray Goins, and Aba Mbirika. Diversity work with Alexander Diaz-Lopez, Alicia Prieto Langarica, and Gabriel Sosa.

Biography: Pamela E. Harris is a Mexican-American Assistant Professor in the department of Mathematics and Statistics at Williams College. She received her B.S. from Marquette University, and M.S. and Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research interests are in algebra and combinatorics, particularly as these subjects relate to the representation theory of Lie algebras. Her recent research on vector partition functions and projects in graph theory has been supported through awards from the National Science Foundation and the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics. Harris co-organizes research symposia and professional development sessions for the national conference of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, was a Mathematical Association of America’s Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) Fellow from 2012-2013, and is an editor of the e-Mentoring Network blog of the American Mathematical Society. In 2016, she co-founded www.Lathisms.org an online platform that features prominently the extent of the research and mentoring contributions of Latins and Hispanics in the Mathematical Sciences. She is also the lead editor for the Special Issue on Motherhood and Mathematics of the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics.

Dr. Fisher Receives Young Scholar Award

BYU recently honored Associate Chair Dr. Todd Fisher by presenting him with the Young Scholar Award during the 2017 Annual University Conference. Only given to three faculty members per year, and within the first ten years of their appointment, this award commends Dr. Fisher for his excellent research in Dynamical Systems. According to Dr. Fisher, Dynamical Systems is primarily concerned with the mathematics that studies complicated systems and how they evolve in time. Department faculty members nominated Dr. Fisher who was then selected by the university committee to receive the award.

Internship Panel

Join us on October 12th at 4:30 pm in 1170 TMCB to learn from Math Interns past experiences. We’ll have students that interned at the following: Goldman Sachs, NSA, Lawrence Livermore, Intermountain Healthcare, Harvard University, Amazon, Federal Reserve and the FBI.  Refreshments will be served.

To Be Or Not To Be: A Math Major

The annual Math Department Information Session, To Be Or Not To Be(TBONTB), is this Thursday, October 12th in TMCB 1170. Come eat free pizza and have the opportunity to ask Math professors questions about the major.

Alumni Tailgate

Casey Johnson – Careers in Math

Date: Thursday, 5 October 2017
Time: 4:30 PM
Place: 1170 TMCB
Topic: Opportunities for mathematicians with the Department of Defense

Biography: Casey Johnson grew up in southern Idaho and served in Mexico León mission. He attended Brigham Young University, where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics. He received a PhD in mathematics from the University of Utah with a dissertation in representation theory. Since graduation, he has worked as a mathematician. He lives in Maryland with his wife and two children.

Robert J. Lang, Focus on Math

Date: Thursday, September 28, 2017

Time: 4:30PM

Room: 1170 TMCB

Title: From Flapping Birds to Space Telescopes: The Mathematics of Origami

Abstract: The last decade of this past century has been witness to a revolution in the development and application of mathematical techniques to origami, the centuries-old Japanese art of paper-folding. The techniques used in mathematical origami design range from the abstruse to the highly approachable. In this talk, I will describe how geometric concepts led to the solution of a broad class of origami folding problems – specifically, the problem of efficiently folding a shape with an arbitrary number and arrangement of flaps, and along the way, enabled origami designs of mind-blowing complexity and realism, some of which you’ll see, too. As often happens in mathematics, theory originally developed for its own sake has led to some surprising practical applications. The algorithms and theorems of origami design have shed light on long-standing mathematical questions and have solved practical engineering problems. I will discuss examples of how origami and its underlying math has enabled safer airbags, Brobdingnagian space telescopes, and more.

Robert J. Lang is recognized as one of the foremost origami artists in the world as well as a pioneer in computational origami and the development of formal design algorithms for folding. With a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Caltech, he has, during the course of work at NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Spectra Diode Laboratories, and JDS Uniphase, authored or co-authored over100 papers and 50 patents in lasers and optoelectronics as well as authoring, co-authoring, or editing 25 refereed papers, 17 books, and a CD-ROM on origami. Since 2001, he has been a full-time artist and consultant on origami and its applications to engineering problems. He received Caltech’s Distinguished Alumni Award, in 2009 and was elected a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society in 2013.

Math Opening Social

Come join the Math department for fun, food, and games at Kiwanis Park on Friday, September 29th, at 6PM. Everyone is welcome.

Careers in Math: Eric Neilson (Amazon)

Eric graduated from BYU with a B.S. in Electronics Information Technology. He worked locally, at Workfront, for many years before moving to Amazon. Currently, he manages the development of AWS Snowball and AWS Snowball Edge. In his free time Eric loves to he loves to go snow skiing, water skiing, wake surfing, dirt bike, and boating.