Scheduled Speakers, Spring 2024

4-5 pm in Williams 320 (unless otherwise indicated)

Colloquium Schedule - Spring 2024

Megan Martinez @ Provost's Colloquium,

Clark Lounge, Campus Center,


The Mathematics of Hitomezashi Sashiko Embroidery---
2/19/24Pete Maceli, Ithaca CollegeSelf-complementary graphs

A graph is just a bunch of dots called vertices, together with lines called edges, joining certain pairs of vertices. The general nature of graphs lends them to efficiently model pairwise interactions amongst any set of objects.  Important real world applications of graph theory abound in fields such as network science, economics, computer engineering and operations research.

In this talk, we will look at the highly symmetric class of self-complementary graphs, which is structurally and algorithmically very rich.


Whalen Center for Music, Room 2105 (Iger Lecture Hall)

Joint colloquium: Music and Math

Mike Caporizzo (Music) and Dan Visscher (Math)

Can you hear the shape of an ear?

Examining immersive audio and the effects of personal geometry on our perception

Dolby Atmos. Sony 360. Spatial Audio. Immersive Sound. These are terms that one may recognize as recent entries into spec sheets and promotional materials on music, video, and media equipment, and they all refer to the latest generation of surround sound formats in music, film, and television. Whereas most recorded music over the past half-century has been distributed in a stereo (2-channel) format, immersive audio creates a 3-dimensional aural environment where sound can be localized from above, behind, or even below the listener. Unlike earlier generations of surround sound (quadrophonic or Dolby 5.1, for example), modern immersive formats can be heard on multi-speaker arrays or just simple pair of headphones, and the average listener may have all the necessary hardware right in their pocket.

But how can a pair of earbuds create an immersive environment, and what is required to do this convincingly? The mechanisms of this process are highly dependent on the geometry of ones’ ears, and so your brain has actually learned to decode the spatial data in your hearing in a very individualized system. This presentation will explore the fundamental concepts of sound localization in the human auditory system and their implications for both conventional stereo and modern immersive audio formats. We will investigate the theory of how simple differences in geometry can change the sound profile localization process, consider the complexity of modeling the acoustics of spatial hearing, and unpack data collected from individuals in practice. Audio demonstrations of these phenomena will be given as we examine some of the tools used to simulate spatialization in headphone playback.


Daniel Tjie, Alumnus


Working Full-Time While Going to Graduate School

Daniel Tjie graduated in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Mathematics and Bachelor of Economics from Ithaca College. Daniel has been working as an Economic Database Manager at Haver Analytics in New York City for the past 6 years. While working full-time, Daniel earned his MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Daniel will go discuss the financial process and the experience and answer any questions students may have.

On ZOOM (and simulcast with cookies in Williams 320):

Meeting ID: 912 6993 3675
Passcode: 857437


Susanne Pumpluen, University of Nottingham


Nonassociative algebras, applications to coding theory, and how I got there…

It is well known that the complex numbers can be constructed from the real numbers: they can be viewed as pairs of real numbers, together with a suitable multiplication. We will look at this construction and play with it a bit. What happens if we use the same multiplication, or a similar one, and instead multiply pairs of complex numbers? In the process we introduce the concept of algebras, which are vector spaces with some multiplication on them that allows two elements in the vector space to be "multiplied" with each other. We will meet quaternion algebras, cyclic algebras, and generalisations of them. Some of these algebras are employed to build codes used for wireless digital data transmission, e.g. in mobile phones, laptops or portable TVs, or in other areas of coding theory. We will explain how some of these codes work. I will also tell you a bit about how I ended up studying these particular nonassociative algebras, and their applications, over the last 10 years.

On ZOOM (and simulcast with cookies in Williams 320):

Meeting ID: 912 6993 3675
Passcode: 857437

Scheduled speakers, Fall 2023

4-5pm, in Williams 320 (unless otherwise noted)

Date Speaker Title Abstract
9/18/23 Emilie Wiesner Hats off: the einstein of aperiodic tilings

In Spring 2023, mathematicians announced "the hat," the answer to a long-standing open question:

Is there a single shape (or "einstein") that can tile the plane but such that no tiling ever has a repeating pattern (that is, an aperiodic tiling)?

In this talk, I'll give an introduction to aperiodic tilings and some of the key ideas in proving "the hat" gives an aperiodic tiling. I'll have plenty of tiles to play with!

10/9/23 John Maceli

 What is Mathematical Magic?

Magicians have used mathematical ideas in their tricks for hundreds of years to entertain and mystify.  

Martin Gardner’s book “Mathematics, Magic, and Mystery” sparked a renewed interest in using mathematics in the construction of magic tricks, delighting both amateur magicians and professional mathematicians.

We will explore some of the math behind the magic.

10/23/23 David Freund Knot 

for Everyday Purposes

Knots are a part of our everyday lives, from twisted strands of DNA, to shoelaces, braided hair, and the inevitable tangle of computer cords. Mathematics offers an insight into the structure and complexity of everyday knots and provides tools to tell them apart.

Starting with pieces of string, we will explore the study of knots and how it ties together various fields of mathematics. No background knowledge is assumed.

11/6/23 Lenley Aikin and Earth Sonrod Math summer experiences and Math Awards!

Come learn about summer math experiences and mentored research opportunities at IC that may be available to you.

Following the presentation, you are invited to stay for an awards ceremony to recognize high student achievement in math courses over the past year.  Refreshments will be served.

11/27/23  in CNS 204

(jointly sponsored with Physics)

Matt Sullivan, Department of Physics

Physical measurements of electric and magnetic fields using a mathematical “trick”: Seeing magnetic multipoles using a smartphone

Describing the shape of electric and magnetic fields is complex.  A useful approach in mathematics and physics is to break up a complex problem into smaller pieces.  One example of this is the Taylor series expansion for continuous functions, expansions like sin(x) ~ x - (1/3!)x^3 +….  Like the Taylor expansion, the field from a complicated source can be broken up into a multipole expansion.  Every field has a monopole term, plus a dipole term, plus a quadrupole, and an octopole, etc.  By manipulating the physical source of the field, we can eliminate the other multipoles and create a pure dipole, pure quadrupole, or even a pure octopole.  In this talk we will explore the math behind the multipole expansion, explain how we created the pure multipole sources, and describe how one can measure these fields using internal sensors in a smartphone.

Spring 2024, Scheduled Speakers

Date Speaker Title Abstract
2/5/24   TBA TBA
2/19/24   TBA TBA
3/4/24   TBA TBA
3/25/24 Daniel Tjie, Ithaca College alumnus TBA TBA
4/22/24 Susanne Pumpluen, University of Nottingham TBA TBA

Scheduled speakers, Spring 2023

All meetings will be in-person or hybrid via Zoom in Williams 320 from 4-5pm.

Date Speaker Title Abstract
Feb 6, 2023

Jennifer K. Mann Austin, Associate Professor of Instruction, University of Texas at Austin

Zoom recording

A Tutorial on the Topology of DNA

“…DNA can bend, twist, and writhe, can be knotted, catenated, and supercoiled (positive and negative), can be in A, B, and Z helical forms, and can breathe.” —Arthur Kornberg

DNA topology is the study of those DNA forms that remain fixed for any deformation that does not involve breakage. DNA molecules that are chemically identical (same nucleotide length and sequence) but differ in their topology are called topoisomers. There are three topological DNA forms that are the natural consequence of the  structure and metabolism of the double helix: knotted, catenated, and supercoiled DNA. Cellular DNA is either circular or constrained by being tethered at intervals to organizing structures. Thus, DNA knot and catenane resolution and supercoiling maintenance must occur locally. Controlling the topology of its DNA is critical to the cell. If unresolved, DNA knots could potentially have devastating effects on cells; DNA catenanes prevent genetic and cellular segregation. DNA negative supercoiling is essential for cell viability. Topoisomerases are enzymes within cells whose function is to control DNA topology.

In this session, we will appreciate the packaging challenges within cells, explore the topology of DNA, and learn how cells deal with DNA entanglements.

Feb 20, 2023 no colloquium    
Mar 6, 2023 Shaianne Osterreich, Ithaca College

Using data to think about equity:

what data do we need and

what questions to ask?

As economists interested in equity, data analysis can be extremely useful to demonstrate areas of concern and potentially reveal areas of policy relevance. This session will discuss issues related to data availability, putting together disaggregated descriptive data that captures the equity questions, figuring out good analysis techniques, and how to consider and convey the meaning of the results. 

Mar 27, 2023 Matt Thomas, Cornell University

Causality and Statistics

In many statistics classes, you'll hear or say "correlation doesn't equal causation."  While this is true, statistical tools and techniques can be useful for exploring causal claims, even in observational studies.  In this talk, I'll give an overview of some of these techniques, many coming from graph theory, to talk about when you should and shouldn't include covariates in models.

Additionally, I'll talk about what the job of a statistical consultant is like, with plenty of time for questions and discussion.

April 10, 2023 Erin Griffin, US Air Force Research Lab Panda + Nematode = Gibbon: An Introduction to Adversarial Machine Learning Machine learning has quickly become ubiquitous for tasks like object detection and classification, image and text generation, and more. However, these models may exhibit unexpected behavior and are vulnerable to intentional manipulation. In this talk, I will give a brief introduction to machine learning in general and adversarial machine learning in particular, in which we study these vulnerabilities and how to defend against them.
April 17, 2023  Scott Wilson, Queens College, 

The Graduate Center, CUNY

Contemplating x^2 =1 where x is a square matrix, and the interesting structures that ensue

Using familiar and elementary ideas from linear algebra and calculus, we'll be led by the suggestive title above.

The numeral 1 literally means an identity matrix, and our contemplation will include exploring the questions

  • when are there solutions, and
  • what do they look like, both individually and collectively?

This is all the first step in a vast area of active mathematical research, with important open problems, on the study of certain higher dimensional shapes called manifolds.  I'll share some perspectives on this at the end.  It's best to come with a curious and open mind!

April 24, 2023  Jerome Fung, Ithaca College

Applications of Light Scattering by Clusters of Spheres

What happens when you shine light on objects that are roughly the same size as the wavelength of the light, such as soot particles in the atmosphere, red blood cells, or aerosol droplets produced by coughing? The best way to analyze such problems turns out to be to treat them as scattering phenomena: an incident light wave interacts with the object and gets changed (scattered and/or absorbed) as a result – much like how ripples in a pond are scattered when they run into something on the surface of the water. 

In this talk, I will introduce the physics and mathematics of light scattering, which involves ideas from partial differential equations and linear algebra. I will focus specifically on numerical techniques for calculating scattering from clusters of spheres, for which there is no general analytical solution. I will discuss the application of these techniques to two computational physics projects in my group: validating an experimental technique for optically characterizing particles that are fractal aggregates, and modeling how non-spherical particles behave in optical tweezers and other complex beams.

Scheduled speakers, Fall 2022

All meetings will be in-person in Williams 320 from 4-5pm.

Date Speaker Title Abstract

Kathryn Mann, Cornell University

Topology and dynamics in dimension 3: Anosov flows 

Anosov flows are beautiful examples of dynamical systems, exhibiting "local chaos but global stability".  I will describe some of an ongoing program to classify such flows on closed 3-manifolds, bringing out some surprising relationships between geometry and topology of a manifold and the dynamical systems it supports.  


Ted Galanthay, Ithaca College

Life lessons from a mathematician

In 2021-2022, I took a sabbatical leave from Ithaca College.  Besides coming back from this experience with the belief that major corporations could benefit from an employee sabbatical leave program, I returned with a different outlook on how to live my life.  In this talk, I will share my experiences in the context of five lessons I learned and how they relate to the equation dP/dt = 2P. 


Martha Kemp-Neilson, Ted Mburu, Earth Sonrod, Tommy Angel; Ithaca College

Summer Math Experiences & Awards Ceremony

Come learn about summer math experiences and mentored research opportunities at IC that may be available to you. The following students will be sharing their experiences and answering your questions:

  1. Martha Kemp-Neilson
  2. Ted Mburu
  3. Earth Sonrod
  4. Tommy Angel
Following the presentation, you are invited to stay for an awards ceremony to recognize high student achievement in math courses over the past year. 

Scheduled Speakers, Spring 2022

All meetings will be in-person in Williams 320 from 4-5PM.

Date Speaker Title Abstract

Megan Martinez, Ithaca College

The Mathematics of Islamic Geometric Design

Islamic Geometric Design refers to a vast array of beautiful designs that were developed over centuries in predominantly Islamic regions of the world. At its core, geometric design focuses on creating interest with symmetry and color, and is the perfect marriage of mathematics and art. In this talk we will learn about the beautiful designs that evolved over the centuries and learn how we can recreate these designs with nothing but a compass and straightedge!

Come prepared to draw and experiment. Materials will be provided! No art skills required!


Walter Hannah (IC Class of '06), Climate Model Developer at Lawrence Liverpool National Lab

A Brief Introduction to Atmospheric Modeling

Walter Hannah is an IC mathematics alumnus working as an atmospheric scientist and climate model developer for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory funded by the US Department of Energy. Walter’s work revolves around developing a “next generation” climate model that will produce more detailed and realistic climate projections. This talk will briefly go over basic principles of atmospheric science and modelling, and how these relate to predicting weather and climate. It will also discuss the current state of the field and some exciting developments that are on the horizon.

4/11/22 Whalen Symposium! TBA Check out the Whalen Symposium on Monday, April 11. Talks will run from noon-2PM. Our math students will be presenting from 1-2PM in the Ithaca Falls Room.
4/25/22 Balloons and Marshmallows: Time for some mathematical recreation! TBA TBA

Scheduled Speakers, Fall 2021

All meetings will be in-person in Williams 320 from 4-5PM.

Date Speaker Title Abstract

Martha Kemp-Neilson, Lucy Loukes, and Joan Mattle (Current IC Math Majors)

Math Summer Experiences: The Internship Edition

Martha Kemp-Neilson, Lucy Loukes, and Joan Mattle will share about their summer internship experiences. Join us to learn more about what internships are like and how to find them!


Emma Anderson, Jake Brown, and Anatara Sen (Current IC Math Majors)

Math Summer Experiences: The Research Edition

Emma Anderson, Jake Brown, and Antara Sen will share about their summer research experiences. Join us to learn more about what research experiences are likeand how to find them!

11/1/21 Peter Maceli, Ithaca College Farey & Fractions

In this talk, using a strange yet simple way of adding fractions, we are able to catch a two-dimensional view of the rational numbers. This geometric perspective provides a hands-on approach towards solving several fundamental questions in number theory.

11/25/21 David Brown, Ithaca College World War II Cryptography: The Enigma Machine

In World War II, electro-mechanical cryptologic machines came into wide use. The most well-known of these was the Enigma machine used by the German military. We’ll explore the mechanics of the Enigma machine and the incredible number of settings possible for sending a message. We’ll also indicate ways in which the Allies went about breaking the Enigma code.

12/06/21 Capstone II Class Senior Capstone Poster Session

Math Capstone students will present posters of their year-long projects. Posters will be on bulletin boards on the second floor of Williams. Peruse and talk to the Capstone Students about their fine work!

The posters being presented are:

  • Emma Anderson, Ramsey Theory: Applications in Graph Theory and Geometry
  • Jake Brown, Tilings: Patterns, Connections, and Reflections
  • Lucy Loukes, 1 Route, 51 National Parks: An Optimization Problem
  • Joan Mattle, Mathematics of Gerrymandering
  • Jamie Woodworth, Geodesics on Surfaces of Revolution

Scheduled Speakers, Spring 2021

All meetings will be virtual, Mondays at 4pm. zoom link

Date Speaker Title Abstract

Jennifer Pawlewicz, Ithaca College Career Services

How to get a job, internship, or summer research experience

Students, have you ever wondered what opportunities are available for you, as a math major or minor?  Come find out about job, internship, and summer research opportunities.  Find out what's out there and how you can increase your chances of getting the experience you want!


Courtney Gibbons, Hamilton College

The Determinant Trick

Some people say there's more to life than linear algebra. They're not wrong — there are other types of algebra too! This talk will take one of those things everyone sees in linear algebra, the determinant, and use it in surprising ways for the noble purpose of proving a result (or two!) in commutative algebra. You don't need to know what commutative algebra is (it's better if you don't!) to enjoy this talk.


Tony Wong, Rochester Institute of Technology

Evaluating the Sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2 Infection Rates on College Campuses to Wastewater Surveillance

As college campuses reopen in Spring 2021, we are thrust into yet another large-scale experiment on the efficacy of various strategies to contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Traditional individual surveillance testing via nasal swabs and/or saliva are among the measures that colleges are pursuing to reduce the spread of the virus on campus. Additionally, some colleges are testing wastewater on their campuses for signs of infection, which can provide an early warning signal for campuses to locate COVID-positive individuals. We will discuss the implementation of a new model component for wastewater surveillance within an established epidemiological compartment model for the spread of COVID-19 on college campuses. We use a hypothetical residential university to evaluate the efficacy of wastewater surveillance for maintaining low infection rates. We find that wastewater sampling with a 1-day lag to initiate individual screening tests, plus completing the subsequent tests within a 4-day period can keep overall infections within 5% of the infection rates seen with weekly traditional individual surveillance testing. Our results also indicate that wastewater surveillance can be an effective way to dramatically reduce the number of false positive cases by identifying subpopulations for surveillance testing where infectious individuals are more likely to be found. Through a Monte Carlo risk analysis, we find that surveillance testing that relies solely on wastewater sampling can be fragile against scenarios with high viral reproductive numbers and high rates of infection of campus community members by outside sources. These results point to the practical importance of additional surveillance measures to limit the spread of the virus on campus and the necessity of a proactive response to the initial signs of outbreak.


Andrew Dykstra, Hamilton College

Complexity for symbolic dynamical systems

 In this talk, we will discuss dynamical systems that are symbolic in nature, meaning that points in the system are infinite sequences of symbols.  For example, the set of all possible infinite sequences of 0’s and 1’s, i.e., the set of all binary sequences, is a symbolic space which (as we will discuss) can be thought of as a dynamical system.  Whenever you have a symbolic dynamical system like this, it is natural to look for ways to measure how rich (or complicated) the system is.  One way of doing this is to calculate the entropy of a system. As we will see, even within the special class of systems that have entropy zero, it is still possible to distinguish among systems by measuring their complexity.  In particular, we will show how to use complexity to characterize important properties of systems such as recurrence, minimality, and transitivity.


Frank LiCausi,  Instructional Math Coach, Sweet Home Central Schools

Using math routines to build and deepen understanding

Jean Piaget once said, “Each time one prematurely teaches a child something he could have discovered himself, that child is kept from inventing it and consequently from understanding it completely.”

            Over the past 10 years, math education has undergone a major transformation towards Piaget’s ideal. As a math coach, it has been my role to convince both teachers and students this transformation is worth pursuing.  Our work is grounded in the math practices that will lend themselves to the critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills needed in today’s world. Today, we will explore some of the routines we have used to allow students to discover the and develop their own deep understanding of the world around us.


Nigar Altindis

Supporting students' meaningful understanding of functions: A learning ecology framework

In this talk, I introduce a learning-ecology framework that supports students’ meaningful understanding of functions. The learning-ecology framework consisted of three components: enacted task characteristics, teacher pedagogical moves, and small- and whole-group dynamics. In particular, I introduce enacted-tasks and tasks characteristics that might develop students’ meaningful understanding of functions.


Anca Radulescu, SUNY-New Paltz

Architecture-dependent bifurcations and clustering in brain networks

Modeling complex networks, and understanding how their hardwired circuitry relates to their dynamic evolution in time, can be of great importance to applications in the life sciences. However, the effect of connectivity patterns on network dynamics is only in the first stages of being understood. When the system is the brain, this becomes one of the most daunting current research questions: can brain connectivity (the “connectome”) be used to predict brain function and ultimately behavior?

We will start by describing an original study of neuroimaging data in humans, analyzing differences within a group of subjects with wide differences in vulnerability to stress (from extremely stress resilient to extremely anxious). Our statistical analysis found that connectivity patterns between prefrontal and limbic regions could explain differences in emotion regulation efficiency between the two groups. We interpret this result within the theoretical framework of oriented networks with nonlinear nodes, by studying the relationship between edge configuration and ensemble dynamics.

We first illustrate this framework on networks of Wilson-Cowan oscillators (a historic ODE model describing mean-field firing dynamics in coupled neural populations). We use configuration dependent phase spaces and probabilistic bifurcation diagrams to investigate the relationship between classes of system architectures and classes of their possible dynamics. We differentiate between the effects on dynamics of altering edge weights, density, and configuration.

Since Wilson-Cowan is a mean-field model, it can only predict population-wide behavior, and does not offer any insight into spiking dynamics and individual synaptic restructuring. To illustrate the effects of network architecture on dynamical patterns at this level, we test the same framework on networks of reduced Hodgkin-Huxley type single neurons. Building upon a model of cluster synchronization in all-to-all inhibitory networks (by Golomb and Rinzel), we study the contributions of more complex network architectures to the clustering phenomenon.

3/29/21 NO COLLOQUIUM    

Chad Topaz, Williams College

Quantitative Approaches to Social Justice

Civil rights leader, educator, and investigative journalist Ida B. Wells said that "the way to right wrongs is to shine the light of truth upon them."  This talk will demonstrate how quantitative and computational approaches can shine a light on social injustices and help build solutions to remedy them.  I will present quantitative social justice projects on topics ranging from diversity in art museums to equity in criminal sentencing to affirmative action, health care access, and more.  I hope that this talk leaves you informed about the breadth of social justice applications that one can tackle using accessible mathematical tools.


Dave Gondek, Leann Kanda, Ted Galanthay;

Ithaca College

COVID Modeling at Ithaca College

Mathematical modeling of the COVID19 pandemic cases at Ithaca College was an essential tool in planning for our Fall '20 & Spring '21 Semesters. Join us to learn why modeling is critical in a public health response, which model to choose, and how cross-disciplinary skills are needed to work in a dynamic environment. Get answers to these questions, come with your questions, and find out how Ithaca College professors advised campus decision-makers on COVID testing policy.


Sedar Ngoma, SUNY-Geneseo

An Overview of Inverse Problems

 In order to find approximate solutions to problems emanating from science, engineering, mathematics, and many other fields, a process called model is described in detail and an appropriate input called a cause is supplied. One is then required to find the unique output (or approximate solution) called effect. This is known as direct or forward problems, in which the media properties of a given model described by equations (for example, equation coefficients) are assumed to be known. However, media properties are often not readily observable. This lack of specification in the model leads to inverse problems, in which one is required to find the cause of the effect given the effect. For example, one can try to determine the equation coefficients (which usually represent important media properties) from the information about solutions of the direct problem. 

One of the downsides of inverse problems is that their approximate solutions are almost always ill-posed in the sense that they may not be unique or stable. In this talk we introduce inverse problems, investigate some examples, and describe analytically and numerically a regularization technique used to combat instability in the solutions. We conclude the talk with a time-dependent inverse source problem for a parabolic partial differential equation.


Kenan Ince, Westiminster College

Analysis of racial and gender bias in SLCPD's use of force and street checks, 2014-2017

Using data shared by the Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) related to use of force and street checks between 2014 and 2017, we utilize a chi-squared test to determine whether SLCPD uses force and street checks against Black and Indigenous people and people of color (BIPOC) disproportionate to their prevalence in the Salt Lake City population. We find that Black and Indigenous Salt Lakers are disproportionately targeted by police force, while Black Salt Lakers are disproportionately targeted by street checks. Asian and Pacific Islanders are underrepresented as subjects of both use of force and street checks.


Ahmad Almomani, SUNY-Geneseo

Hybrid Optimization Algorithms

The demand for Hybrid Optimization Algorithms is increasing in the last two decades to minimize the weaknesses in the individual algorithm. In particular, Derivative-Free Optimization (DFO) methods are applicable for these problems where the derivatives are not available or hard to compute. Hybridizing different stochastic methods to form a robust algorithm deals with slow convergence and minimizes problems.  This talk will introduce hybrid algorithms between global and local optimization solvers and give many real-life applications.

Scheduled Speakers, Fall 2020

All meetings will be virtual, Mondays at 4pm. zoom link

Date Speaker Title Abstract
9/28/20 Peter Maceli Graphs and Algorithms Graph theory is a young and exciting area of discrete mathematics. Visually, a graph is just a collection of dots together with lines joining certain pairs of these dots. Though at first glance graphs may seem like simple objects to study, the field of graph theory contains some of the deepest and most beautiful mathematics of the last fifty years. Being an extremely visual field, many questions and problems in graph theory are easily stated,yet have complex solutions with far reaching implications and applications.In this talk, we will explore the close relationship shared between graphs and algorithms. Describing how certain families of graphs “look” and can be“built,” and how, in turn, this allows one to efficiently solve certain important combinatorial problems.
10/5/20   A Virtual Escape Room Today we change gears from our typical talk. We'll break into teams to try out a virtual escape room! If you have a team in mind, email Matt Thomas ( with your team. Otherwise, just show up and we'll make some teams!
10/12/20 Priya V. Prasad, University of Texas at San Antonio Teaching Geometric Congruence Euclid and Hilbert both based their developments of axiomatic geometry on metric definitions of congruence, but current state standards (such as the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills Standards) implicitly rely on an isometric definition of congruence. So how can teacher educators prepare future secondary geometry teachers to teach an axiomatically coherent geometry based on this definition? We developed a task using Taxicab geometry that can perturb students’ internalized metric definition of congruence. This talk is based on work done with Steven Boyce at Portland State University.
10/19/20 Benjamin Levy, Fitchburg State University An Introduction to Disease Modeling with an Application to HIV/AIDS in Kenya

One can use mathematical techniques to model disease outbreaks such as COVID-19, Ebola, or HIV/AIDS. We can then use model simulations to make future projections about the number of cases, consider the impact of intervention strategies, or analyze other key characteristics of an epidemic.

This presentation will begin by introducing the compartmental framework commonly used to model infectious diseases, which will be illustrated by some simple models. After we lay some groundwork, a specific application to modeling HIV/AIDS in Kenya will be presented. In this application we formulate a compartmental system of ordinary differential equations (ODEs) to consider how stigma towards people living with HIV/AIDS has impeded the response to the disease. We take a data-driven approach to embed a time-dependent stigma function within our model for HIV dynamics and estimate model parameters from published data. We then explore a range of scenarios to understand the potential impact of different public health interventions on key HIV metrics such as prevalence and disease-related death, and to see how close Kenya will get to achieving UN Goals for these HIV and stigma metrics by 2030.

10/26/20 Emilie Wiesner, Ithaca College Ping Pong and Sleeping Beauty: Playing with Paradoxes We'll spend the first part of the hour thinking and talking about ping pong and Sleeping Beauty (two of my favorite paradoxes). The second part of the hour we'll have some paradox show and tell, so come prepared with your own favorite paradox.
11/2/20 John Gemmer, Wake Forest University Why is Lettuce so Wrinkly? Many patterns in Nature and industry arise from the system minimizing an appropriate energy. Examples range from the periodic rippling in hanging drapes to the six-fold symmetries observed in snowflakes. Torn plastic sheets and growing leaves provide striking examples of pattern forming systems which can transition from single wavelength geometries (leaves) to complex fractal like shapes (lettuce). These fractal like patterns seem to have many length scales - the same amount of extra detail can be seen when looking closer (“statistical self-similarity”). It is a mystery how such complex patterns could arise from energy minimization alone. In this talk I will address this puzzle by showing that such patterns naturally arise from the sheet adopting a hyperbolic non-Euclidean geometry. However, there are many different hyperbolic geometries that the growing leaf could select. I will show using techniques from analysis, differential geometry and numerical optimization that the fractal like patterns are indeed the natural minimizers for the system.
11/16/20 Gabe Pesco, Rachel King, and Jake Brown Summer research/jobs panel Come join us to hear about some of the work being done over the summers! Hear about what they did, and how they applied for and did their work. Ask questions to start thinking about what you might do next summer.
12/7/20 Mingyue Wang, Incyte On selecting the t best Bernoulli Treatments

In many situations we are faced with the problem of choosing among several alternatives. We may want to make a decision about which alternative(s) are the best. Considering a typical clinical trial setting, we set the goal of selecting among k ( > 0) experimental Bernoulli treatments the t (1 < t < k) best treatments provided that they are significantly better than the control. If fewer than t treatments are significantly better than the control, our goal is to retain the control. A fixed-sample-size procedure and a curtailed procedure are proposed to reach the goal. We adopt the two-stage selection/testing approach considered by Thall, Simon, and Ellenberg (1988) in both procedures. Properties of the proposed procedures will be presented through theorems and numerical results.

Scheduled Speakers, Spring 2020

Date Speaker Title Abstract
Feb 17, 2020 Xingye Qiao, Binghamton University Data Science in Action: Set-valued Classification and Applications to Precision Medicine Classification is a common machine learning task. Precision Medicine refers to selecting treatments that are most likely to help patients based on the patient's unique characteristics. In this lecture, I will talk about the fundamentals of classification, set-valued classification, and how the latter can be applied to achieve precision medicine. I will also talk about the research and education development of data science programs at Binghamton University. No particular knowledge is needed for the talk though knowledge of probability theory and some linear algebra will be helpful.
March 2, 2020 Megan Martinez Crocheting Mathematics Crocheting is a process that turns yarn into fabric. It has been used for centuries to painstakingly create one-of-a-kind fabrics and clothing. More recently, the art of crochet has been used to create physical models of mathematical structures, such as hyperbolic planes, spheres, and manifolds. This provides us a tactile (and crafty!) way to engage with mathematics; indeed, the very process of making a crochet pattern requires a deep understanding of the model you are constructing. In this talk, we will give an overview of different ways crochet has been used to make models, and then dive specifically into how we can construct patterns for volumes of revolution (the ones from Calc II!).
April 20, 2020 Stan Seltzer, by zoom - click here Gerrymandering Every ten years the United States conducts a census, after which the 435 seats in the House of Representatives are apportioned to the states.  The final step in all but the very smallest states that are entitled to one representative is the process of dividing each state into the appropriate number of congressional districts.  (State, county, and municipal districts may also have to be redrawn.)  When districting is done in a way intended to establish an unfair political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries, it is known as gerrymandering.

This brief introduction, based on the gerrymandering unit in Math, Fairness, and Democracy (MATH 16400), will include redistricting principles, gerrymandering strategies, historical and legal background, and some topics that are more mathematical: winner’s bonus, partisan symmetry, efficiency gap, and measures of compactness.  Also lots of pictures and quotes.

Scheduled Speakers, Fall 2019

Date Speaker Title Abstract
Sept 16, 2019 Dave Brown American Revolutionary and Civil War Cryptography

“One if by Land Two if by Sea”

This line from Longfellow’s poem describes a secret signal to the patriots about approaching British troops and goes on to commemorate Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride. At the same time, the poem reveals that Revere served as a spy and that the colonists engaged in early attempts at cryptology — sending, receiving, and decoding secret messages. We will explore the role that spycraft and cryptology played in the American Revolution and in the U.S. Civil War. 

Sept 30, 2019 Molly Noel and Jamie Woodworth Summer Research Molly and Jamie will share their experiences from their summer research.
Oct 14, 2019 Ted Galanthay

Shall we play a game? Hawks, Doves, and More

In the 1960's, ecologists began to use game theory to study evolutionary questions on topics such as animal aggression, the sex ratio, and altruism. Further study led to the creation of evolutionary game theory. In contrast to traditional game theory, evolutionary game theory seeks to describe changes in the frequency of strategies over repeated iterations of a game. Typically, the number of players in the game is fixed. In this talk, I will describe recent efforts to integrate population dynamics and evolutionary game theory models to answer questions about the evolution of animal aggression.

Oct 28, 2019 Math Department Preview of Spring Courses Join the department to hear about the courses being offered in the spring!
Nov 11, 2019 Josh Hayden and Heetisha Inderjeet Two Part Talk On Mathematics and Community

Part 1: Data and Donations, Joshua Hayden

A talk on using data to help project donations and find top donor prospects for the Ithaca State Theatre. How data analysis and machine learning can be put to work in the non-profit space to help communities.

Part 2: Application of Math in Real Life, Heetisha Inderjeet

As a math major, people sometimes expect that the only career goal is to teach. However, math can be a career in different ways. This project which involves working with Matthew LeRoux from the Cornell Cooperative Extension (Tompkins County) is a good example. This project consists of working with the cooperative extension partner to evaluate a meat pricing calculator and drill down on significant statistical numbers which will be able to be used for workshops and grant writing.

Dec 2, 2019 Xingye Qiao, Binghamton University Postponed due to snow