Undergraduate Colloquium


Fall 2014
Wednesdays 12:55 - 1:45
LCB 225

Pizza and discussion after each talk
Receive credit for attending
Past Colloquia

August 27    No Talk

September 3     Ivan Sudakov
Fractals in Nature
Abstract: We discuss the mathematical concept of fractals and how fractals relate to issues within the Earth’s climate system. A fractal is any equation or pattern, that when visualized, produces a similar image when viewed at any spatial scale. We describe how fractal-like patterns occur widely in nature and introduce the fractal dimension, a number which describes the fractal-like nature of an object. Specifically, we will highlight the ubiquitous nature of fractals within many facets of the climate system. We provide a real example of fractals in nature and involve our students to solving a few entertaining problems.

September 10     Andrejs Treibergs
Mapping the Earth
Abstract: Can regions on the surface of the earth be mapped to the plane in such a way as to preserve areas, angles and lengths, i.e., by local isometries? We develop notions from the differential geometry of the sphere such as curvilinear coordinates, metric and length. We show that local isometries from the sphere to the Euclidean plane are impossible because if they existed, a natural compatibility condition on the metric would have to be satisfied: the curvature would have to vanish. We give examples of maps that preserve areas but not angles such as the one discovered by Lambert, and examples of maps that preserve angles but not areas such as the one first drawn by Mercator. We consider a notion of map distortion and discuss the theorem of Milnor, that for maps of spherical caps, the least distortion occurs for the azimuthal equidistant projection.

Lecture slides are available: http://www.math.utah.edu/~treiberg/MappingtheEarthSlides.pdf

September 17     Kenneth Bromberg - Director of Graduate Studies
Applying for and attending graduate school
Abstract: This weeks Undergraduate Colloquium will be aimed at helping undergraduates answer the following questions:
  • Should I apply to graduate school?
  • How do I apply to graduate school?
  • What will it be like when I'm in graduate school?
There will be a short presentation followed by a panel discussion. Faculty, postdocs and current graduate students from all areas of the department will be there to give their points of view and to answer your questions. This discussion should be useful both for students who will be applying this fall and students who are just starting to think about going to graduate school and may be applying in future years.

September 24     Peter Trapa

October 1     Kelly MacArthur

October 8     Aaron Bertram

October 15     No Talk - Fall Break

October 22     Vira Babenko

October 29     Ben Trahan (NSA)
Location Change to LCB 215 (this talk only!)

November 5     Sean McAfee

November 12     Peter Alfeld

November 19     Stewart Ethier

November 26     Shiang Tang

December 3     Braxton Osting

December 10     Anna Macquarie Romanova