During the winter break, math majors Rachael Kelly '19, Josh Wagner ‘19, and Erik Wendt ’19 attended the largest mathematics meeting in the world, in San Diego, CA. Together the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the American Mathematical Society (AMS) held the 2018 Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM).
“I think that we all had a fabulous experience,” wrote Wagner. “We attended the receptions for undergraduate students, graduate students, and first-time participants, and enjoyed getting to know mathematics students from across the country, happy for a chance to network with our peers. We also met up with Ryan Matzke ‘15 [currently in a Ph.D. program for Mathematics at the University of Minnesota] for dinner, and went to his talk, Stolarsky Principle and Energy Optimization on the Sphere.
We attended some of the larger talks, including: an invited address on Topological Modeling of Complex Data; the AMS Josiah Willard Gibbs Lecture on Privacy in the Land of Plenty; and the MAA-AMS-SIAM Gerald and Judith Porter Public Lecture on Political Geometry: Voting districts, ‘compactness,’ and ideas about fairness. Of all the talks, Political Geometry was our favorite. It discussed methods of measuring how gerrymandered congressional districts are, and it was one of those great talks that ends with a standing ovation.
Overall, we were impressed and inspired by math talks which discussed cancer research, ethical use of big data, gerrymandering, and a host of technical topics.
We each presented posters at the MAA Student Poster Session, and our posters seemed to be well received even by the faculty judges who gave written feedback for our presentations.
Oh, and we won the Estimathon! for the second year in a row! Erik and I must have the magic touch.”
The Estimathon! is a mind bending mixture of math and trivia. Jane Street Capital presents the contest: teams have 30 minutes to work on 13 problems, ranging from totally trivial to positively Putnamesque. They’re called Fermi problems...
- How heavy is the Eiffel Tower?
- How many prime numbers have distinct digits?
- How many calories would you be eating if you had “one of everything” at the Cheesecake Factory?