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Undergraduate Colloquium

The Mathematics Undergraduate Colloquium is held each Wednesday from 12:55 - 1:45 during the regular academic year in LCB 225. Each week a different speaker will present information on a specific subject area in mathematics. Anyone can come by to listen, socialize, get to know members of the department, and hear some interesting information on the many areas of mathematics.

Spring 2018 Schedule

No Talk - First Week of Classes

Peter Alfeld

Cool Mathematics

Abstract: I will in fact talk about some unsolved, or recently solved, problems in Mathematics. The main purpose of the meeting, however, will be to organize the Undergraduate Colloquium for those interested in taking it for credit (1 hour credit/no credit). For many participants this will be the first class in which they have to write a technical report. This is a complicated yet gratifying task. I will discuss some of the issues involved and also give a first introduction to the use of LaTeX.

Maggie Cummings

What's the deal with being a high school teacher?

Abstract: Are you thinking about maybe teaching middle or high school math someday? Maybe as a career or even as a bridge to graduate school or some other career? Perhaps you’ve thought about it as a profession after you retire from something more lucrative?  There is a shortage of math teachers in Utah (and across the country); teaching is incredibly rewarding, but also challenging because there is a lot to know to be successful in a classroom. This colloquium will focus on three questions: 1) What is mathematical knowledge for teaching? 2) What’s in the “Common Core”? and, 3) What are the paths into teaching secondary math?

Tim Jones

The Joy of Teaching Kids Math

AbstractMy career has taken me from particle physics at CERN to defense work at Lockheed Martin to start ups in Silicon Valley.  I have worked with tremendous people on some amazing projects – but nothing has been more rewarding to me than the past decade I have spent teaching math to secondary kids (7 – 12).  When we teach math at our school, we teach kids that math is hard – it is not built-in and requires a significant effort on the part of the student to learn math.  We teach kids how to do math – that it is not guess-work.   Math, to us, is a language – a language that is used to communicate ideas and to communicate logical reasoning.  Not surprisingly, our algebra standards are therefore quite high.  We do not use gimmicks to teach math – we do not need to.    Students get the same intrinsic rewards as scientists, engineers, and mathematicians when they can do math – when they can solve problems.   When students are taught at a level that is appropriate to them as an individual, they can learn math efficiently.  All students – independent of socio-economic background can be successful – when given a chance.  Teaching math requires teachers that have a drive to change the world – a willingness to invest in kids – a willingness to do the right thing.  Math teachers, however, must be smart in math.  Not x + 3 = 5 smart, but Fourier Series smart.

 Fumitoshi Sato

Sequences and Differential Equation

Abstract: You learned arithmetic sequences and geometric sequence in an elementary algebra class. In this talk, I will talk about another type of sequence which is little bit more complex than arithmetic/geometric sequences.  We will find its n-th term by solving a corresponding differential equation. That means we will use differentiation, integration, taylor expansion, linear differential equation etc, to understand the sequence.

Nicholas Cahill
No Talk - Spring Break

Math 3000 (Receive Credit for Attending)

The Undergraduate Colloquium is open to anyone to attend; however, if students would like to receive credit, you may register for Math 3000.
This is a 1 credit hour CR/NC course. To receive credit:

  • You may not miss more than 2 of the colloquia
  • You will need to write a short paper on one of the topics presented during the semester. (Report Specifications)

Course Syllabus - Spring 2018

Past Colloquia

Course Coordinators

Peter Alfeld
Course Instructor
Aryn DeJulis
Administrative Coordinator
Last Updated: 1/17/18