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Due to Covid-19, spring 2021 Undergraduate Colloquium is only open to students enrolled in Math 3000


 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 2020 Schedule


Hotel Infinity

Abstract:  You are the owner of Hotel Infinity. It has infinitely many rooms, and it's full. A new guest arrives and insists you give her a room. How do you accommodate her? The next day, a family with infinitely many members arrives, each of whom wants a private room. The Hotel is still full.  The next day infinitely many families, each with infinitely many members, arrive. Each member of each family insists on a private room. What do you do? We'll use this puzzle as an introduction to some subtleties of the concept of infinity.


Cryptography, Freedom, Democracy 
How Basic Science Affects Everyone

Abstract:  To most people, research in basic science seems irrelevant, and consequently, citizens, legislators, government funding agencies, and corporations are disinclined to support it. 
Nevertheless, basic science can have deep impacts on our lives.  This talk examines two developments in basic science in the Twentieth Century. The first of them, Albert Einstein’s work in 1905, changed the field of physics, and the course of history.  The second, the invention of public-key cryptography in 1975, has important consequences for secure communications.
Many of mankind’s discoveries have potential for both good and bad.The talk concludes with a discussion of some recent uses of technology that pose the very serious risk of our complete loss of privacy, freedom, and democracy.

Automorphisms of varieties of general type

Abstract:  If X is a Riemann surface of genus g at least 2, then it is well known that X  has at most 84(h-1) automorphisms (symmetries). In this talk we will explain this result and its generalization to higher dimensional varieties.


 MATH 3000

Tex, LaTex and writing a math paper.  Students enrolled in MATH 3000 are strongly encouraged to attend this session. 

 The Marriage Problem

Abstract:  As Valentine's Day approaches, you might wonder "how do I know when to stop dating and settle down?" You might be surprised to learn that mathematics has an answer for you! I'll discuss this interpretation of a classic problem and tell you how to optimize your chances of making the best choice. The talk will use some simple probability and series computations.

SIAM Presents Graduate Students' Mini Talks
Join us for a series of short presentations by fellow applied math graduate students showcasing their research! This is a great opportunity to experience how one actually uses many facets of math in solving practical problems.
Chee Han Tan
China Mauck
Nathan Willis
Huy Dinh
Trent DeGiovanni

Non-Euclidean geometries

Abstract:  In one of the earliest mathematical textbooks, Euclid set out the rules of geometry: any two points are connected by a straight line; any straight line segment can be extended to a line; and so on. This Euclidean geometry is very familiar to us: the interior angles of every triangle add to 180 degrees; two lines that start parallel to each other remain parallel forever; and, polygons with four right angles exist. However, not every geometry behaves in this way. For example, the geometry of sphere is quite different. There is a third planar geometry to explore - hyperbolic geometry - that was borne out of the realization that one of Euclid's original axioms could not be derived from the others. This talk will be an introduction to hyperbolic geometry, a beautiful field that revolutionized mathematics and remains at the forefront of modern research in topology, dynamics, and algebra. 


Why Bayes’ theorem is cooler than you thought

Abstract:  Come and see how this seemingly trivial theorem has the potential to change your life. Okay, that's maybe a bit of hyperbole (but maybe not, you never know). We'll walk through some basic ideas in Bayesian statistics, covering how Bayes' theorem can help us think logically in the presence of uncertainty and how to use Bayes' theorem for basic statistical inference. This is intended to be approachable even if you don't have any background in probability/statistics, though having that background would probably help. 



Allechar Serrano López will present “Applying to grad school”

Abstract:  Maybe you are curious about what grad school is, maybe you're considering to apply someday, or maybe you've looked into it and  it seems too overwhelming. If you've been in any of these situations, this workshop is for you! We will provide information about the path to grad school. We will talk about what is needed and what to expect during the application process. We will also have Q&A with a professor that has been involved in the admissions process. 


Thinking Categorically about Undergraduate Mathematics

Utah Undergraduate Colloquium, March 2020

Abstract:  Categories are ubiquitous in mathematics, and "thinking categorically" is a framework for reviewing some high points of the undergraduate curriculum. For example, there are the categories of (finite) sets, vector spaces, topological spaces and various flavors of groups. We get quickly to interesting mathematics when we consider automorphism groups Aut(X) of symmetries of an object in a category. One of the central problems in geometry (and physics and chemistry) is to understand symmetries of manifolds via their representations as symmetries of vector spaces. This gives us the opportunity to review more high points of the undergraduate curriculum and to segue into graduate mathematics by introducing students to Lie Groups, Lie Algebras and Algebraic Geometry. 
This talk is an advertisement for my Math 4800 course in the Fall semester.










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. 

Course Syllabus - Spring 2020

Past Colloquia

Course Coordinators 

 Kevin Wortman  Lisa Penfold
Course Instructor                          Administrative Coordinator
Last Updated: 6/8/21