# USF Mathematics Colloquium

Fall 2014

Talks will be preceded by Math Tea at 3.15pm, outside LS 209.

**MY FAVORITE AUTOMORPHISMS**

**MY FAVORITE AUTOMORPHISMS**

Emille Lawrence, Univ. of San Francisco

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 -- 4.00-5.00pm in HR 232

Abstract: In this talk, I will convince you that the group of automorphisms of a mathematical object is, indeed, a gateway to understanding the object and is rich with compelling questions. We will survey some of my favorite automorphism groups, which may become some of your favorite automorphism groups.

### Future talks-- please check back for titles and abstracts:

**Pi Mu Epsilon Event ** -- December 3

**Pi Mu Epsilon Event**-- December 3

## Past talks

**Adding numbers and shuffling cards**

**Persi Diaconis, Stanford University**

Wednesday, November 5

Abstract: When adding numbers in the usual way, "carries" occur as you go along. Understanding the carries turns out to be the same problem as understanding the question "how many times should a deck of cards be shuffled to mix it?" I will explain the connection and tell what we know about both problems.

ET Math: How different could it be?

**John Stillwell, USF**

**Dance of the Planets: An Exploration of Newton's N-Body Problem**

**Elizabeth Zollinger, St. Joseph's CollegeWednesday, October 8 **

**Abstract:**
Ever since Newton tried to write down the equations of the motion of
the moon, celestial mechanics has been a proving ground for techniques
in calculus and differential equations. Many mathematicians, from Euler
to Lagrange to Poincaré have been pulled into the challenge of Newton's
N-Body Problem. Using only Newton's force and gravity laws, we will
derive the equations governing the motion of point masses in space.
With the equations at hand we'll look at a variety of orbits including
Chenciner and Montgomery's relatively recent figure-8 orbit as seen on
the space of oriented triangles.

**My College Roommate**

**Kiran Kedlaya****, UC San DiegoWednesday, September 24**

*Easy to state but hard to solve: My favorite open questions in Polyhedral Geometry***Jesus de Loera (UC Davis)**

September 10, 2014**Abstract:**Convex polyhedra are familiar objects since our childhood. Indeed, cubes, pyramids, and triangles are common staples in all kindergardens! Unknown to most people polyhedra, in their high-dimensional version, are also widely used in applied mathematics (e.g. operations research, finances, computer networks, and more). Their beauty and simplicity appeal to all, but very few people know of the many easy-to-state difficult unsolved mathematical problems that hide behind their beauty. The purpose of this lecture is to introduce an audience without prior background to some of these fascinating open questions on the frontiers of mathematical research! Even high-school students can understand some of them! Along the way we will talk about why is important to believe in yourself!

## Past talks (Spring 2014)

**Wednesday, May 7, 2014**

**Last Math Tea, Mathematics Dept. Awards, Pi Mu Epsilon Ceremony, Career Panel**

**Awards!**

**The Batey Prize: Helen Cleaves***The
Batey Prize is awarded to the most outstanding graduating senior in
mathematics and includes a purse, a gift of the Batey family.*

**Mike & Millie Lehmann Scholarship: Samuel Roven***Established
in 2004 by the USF Faculty Association in honor of the Lehmanns'
dedication to their USF students and significant contributions to the
Faculty Association, the Lehmann Scholarship provides a $1000
scholarship to Math majors and Economics majors each year.*

*Congratulations, Helen & Sam!*

Pi Mu Epsilon: newly inducted members pictured here.

**Career Panelists:** Kathryn Berkman, Barbara Evangelista, Alex Nelson, Holly Toboni

*Kathryn Berkman*is a 7th grade math and science teacher at Gateway Middle School. She received her undergraduate degree from USF with a major in Mathematics and minor in dance. Kathryn then continued at USF to receive her graduate degree in education. She is currently working to bring enthusiasm to the field of math through integration of movement and social relevancy.

*Barbara Evangelista* completed her B.S. at USF in Mathematics, with a minor in Music, in May 2012. She completed her MS in Analytics at USF in June 2013 and was a member of the program's first cohort. During the program, she worked with three other MS candidates on a project at PayPal. Barbara began working at a mobile gaming company called GREE International, Inc. in August 2013 as a Business Intelligence Data Analyst. She ramped up quickly, shadowing two senior analysts and is now the BI analyst for two of their four RPG+ titles, and is the BI analyst for an innovative soft-core gaming initiative, G-Labs.

*Alex Nelson*
is a Senior Consultant at Oracle Corporation. He received his B.S. in
Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science from USF and went on to
obtain a masters from USF in Sports Management. At Oracle, Alex works to
create custom Project Portfolio Management solutions and he has
currently built solutions for INPEX Corporation's Ichthys Project and
Alberta Health Services e-Facilities Project.

*Holly Toboni* double majored in math and mechanical engineering at Santa Clara University. She then received an MS in statistics from the University of Maryland. Now Holly is senior manager of customer analytics at Williams-Sonoma here in San Francisco.

**Primes and Zeroes, a Million Dollar Mystery****Brian Conrey (American Institute of Mathematics)****Wednesday, April 19, 2014****Abstract:**More than 150 years ago Riemann proposed a way to understand how the prime numbers are distributed. But still to this day we have not been able to complete Riemann's program. This talk will focus on the colorful history of people and their attempts to prove Riemann's Hypothesis.

**Connect the dots!****Henri Picciotto (Urban School, Emeritus)****Wednesday, April 2, 2014****Abstract:**We will explore some interesting problems on a lattice. They cover a wide range. Some lead to a hands-on approach to secondary school topics such as slope, the Pythagorean theorem, and simplifying radicals. Some are currently unsolved and are fun to think about. Some fall somewhere in between.

**Eigenvalues of Toeplitz Matrices****Bin Shao (Univ. of San Francisco)**

Wednesday, March 19, 2014**Abstract:**Problems about abstract eigenvalue distributions, in general, are of interest because of their applications in physics. They are also fascinating from a purely mathematical point of view. A host of mathematicians and physicists have been attracted to such problems since the early 1900’s. In this talk, I will present one of the old and elegant results in this area; namely, a 1917 theorem of Gabor Szego’s which tells how the eigenvalues of Toeplitz matrices are distributed as their size grows to infinity. The purpose of this talk is to present an account of Szego’s result at the level accessible to undergraduates who have had a basic real analysis course or a calculus sequence course, and a basic linear algebra course.

*The Diagonal Harmonics and*n*Capricious Wives*Angela Hicks (Stanford University)Wednesday, March 5, 2014**Abstract:**In 1966, Konheim and Weiss told the mathematical story of*n*dutiful husbands driving down a one way street and parking in the first available space upon receiving the command from their*n*(independently) capricious wives. We will discuss the now famous combinatorial object that results from the story--the parking function--and a few of the reasons for its study. In particular, we'll discuss a space of multivariate polynomials called the diagonal harmonics and their conjectured connection to the parking functions. We'll discuss open problems in the area, and time permitting, a connection to the Catalan numbers. This talk will assume basic familiarity with partial derivatives and some familiarity with linear algebra (especially the concept of dimension of a space) but no deeper background will be assumed.

*Working for a National Laboratory in Operations Research--*

‘The Science of Better’**Carol Meyers**(Lawrence Livermore National Labs)Wednesday, February 19, 2014**Abstract:**Are you curious as to the kind of work that is done at a national laboratory? Have you heard of the field of operations research, or are you interested in learning about it and how it is applied to real problems? In this talk I will describe the kinds of math I use in my job at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, as well as giving an introduction to the discipline of operations research. The talk will focus primarily on two projects I have worked on. The first of these involves using optimization techniques to assess policy options for downsizing the US nuclear weapons stockpile.We discuss consolidation of the weapons complex in general, and our implementation of a mixed-integer linear programming model that is currently being used to evaluate policy alternatives. The second topic addresses using supercomputers to help solve energy grid planning problems, based on ongoing work with energy stakeholders in the state of California. With the increased introduction of renewable resources into the grid, planning models must account for increased intermittency of generation, which leads to larger and more complex optimization problems. We demonstrate how such problems can be solved much more quickly via the use of supercomputing.

__Past talks (2010–Fall 2013)__

__Past talks (2010–Fall 2013)__