Math Major Presents Research at NCUR 2010, April 15-17, in Missoula Montana

 The National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), established in 1987, is dedicated to promoting undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activity in all fields of study by sponsoring an annual conference for students. Unlike meetings of academic professional organizations, this gathering of young scholars welcomes presenters from all institutions of higher learning and from all corners of the academic curriculum.

This year, Ithaca College is sending a delegation of 23 students representing 25 different projects to the conference at the University of Montana, from April 14 through 18. A total of 38 students were involved with the projects.

Among those students accepted to NCUR 2010 is Megan Weintraut ’11 (mathematics) who will be presenting “Self-Contact in Pruned Fractal Trees.”

Her sponsor David Brown, Department of Mathematics, says of her work, “Megan is completing research in an area of mathematics known as recurrent iterated function systems, and in particular, she is working with branching processes. These processes create images that look like trees growing and branching out. The fractal images help understand the canopy (tree-top) structure of trees.

Megan’s research revolves around understanding what happens to the canopy structure when you prune the tree at a specific growth level. In some cases, pruning causes almost no identifiable change in the canopy, while other prunings cause a drastic change. Megan has created a catalog of various prunings and is now analyzing them mathematically to determine the critical growth and pruning parameters that predict the change in canopy structure.

Megan has had a lot to learn to tackle this problem and she is doing a great job with it. I expect that she will help me create a path of research that will extend for several years. It has been great having a student helping out on the foundation of this new research area.”

Ithaca College is proud to be hosting the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research from March 31-April 2, 2011. For more details, please visit the NCUR 2011 website at


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