CMU Graduate Student Seminar

FALL 2018


If you would like to give a talk, please email me.

Meeting Times

Tuesday, 4:00–4:50pm, in Pearce 227.


Date Speaker Title (click Title for Abstract or scroll down)
8/28/2018 C-Y. Jean Chan (CMU) Organizational Meeting at PE 227
9/4/2018 Film Presentation Euler's Spoiler -- A Living Legend
9/11/2018 Thomas E. Gilsdorf (CMU) To Be Math or Not Be Math: That is the Question
9/18/2018 Dr. Daniel Wardrop (CMU Alumni) Department Colloquium
9/25/2018 Ana Dias (CMU) Identity and Class in Mathematics Education Research
October 1 & 2
Anna Sfard (University of Haifa)
2018 CMU Fleming Lecturer
Fleming Lecture Series
10/9/2018 Dmitry Zakharov (CMU) The Gaussian Integers: An Example of A Scheme
10/16/2018 Mr. Troy Klingler and Mr. John Aidoo
(Central Mutual Insurance, Ohio)
An Introduction to Careers in Actuarial and Data Science
10/23/2018 Yeon Ju Lee (Korean University Sejong Campus) Department Colloquium
10/30/2018 Jordan Gill (CMU) Mathematics Self-Efficacy and its Relationship to Perseverance and Study Habits
11/13/2018 Jordan Watts (CMU) Data Science & Drought, or How a Mathematician can be Useful in the Real World


Speaker: C-Y. Jean Chan (August 28)
Title: Organizational Meeting
Abstract: Students who registered MTH 693 for the current semester or are planning or interested in doing so should come to PE 227 for the course policy and essential guidelines for the assignments.

Speaker: Film Presentation (September 4)
Title: Euler's Spoiler -- A Living Legend
Abstract: Professor Sharadchandra Shrikhande (born 19 October 1917) is an Indian mathematician with distinguished and well-recognized achievements in combinatorial mathematics. He is notable for his breakthrough work along with R. C. Bose and E. T. Parker in their disproof of the famous conjecture made by Leonhard Euler dated 1782. Bertrand Russell used to say, "A pure mathematician, like the musician, is a free creator of his world of ordered beauty." Same thing can be said about Professor Sharadchandra Shrikhande, his contribution to mathematics is of fundamental nature and very significant. In this seminar, we will watch a tribute to the remarkable Professor Sharadchandra Shrikhande.

Speaker: Thomas E. Gilsdorf (September 11)
Title: To Be Math or Not Be Math: That is the Question
Abstract: The seemingly simple question of “What is mathematics?” is not so simple to answer. In this talk, we will examine this question. Also, because the upcoming Fleming Speaker, Dr. Anna Sfard, will discuss how mathematics can be viewed as a form of communication, we can ask ourselves questions, like: Are there ways to communicate mathematics other than the school mathematics we see in classrooms?, and: Can there be communications of complicated mathematics without complicated number concepts?
Click here for the presentation slides. And here for additional materials.

Speaker: Daniel Wardrop (September 18)
Title: Department Colloquium
Abstract: Click here for Title and Abstract.

Speaker: Ana Dias (September 25)
Title: Identity and Class in Mathematics Education Research
Abstract: The concept of identity has had a long influence in research in the social sciences. As such, it has also permeated a subset of research in mathematics education. Within mathematics education, we can find distinct conceptions of 'identity', depending on the disciplinary and methodological traditions researchers draw from or situate themselves. I use the notions of identity and class in my study of nonformal education in a rural settlement in Brazil. Anna Sfard and her collaborator Anna Prusak also work with identity as an analytic construct. In this talk I will review some of the concept's denotations, including that proposed by our 2018 Flemming Lectures invited speaker and her collaborator.
Two other areas in which Anna Sfard is known to theorize are: metaphors and the role of language in mathematics education. If time permits I plan to also talk about these theoretical formulations and the issues they raise.
Although most of the constructs I will talk about are not unique to mathematics education and can be applied to any area of research in education, some of these claim to be unique to mathematics teaching and learning, like the concept of mathematical identities. When talking about identity, class, metaphors, and language I will always try to make parallels about constructs in the field of mathematics education and the broader context. However, mathematics is not the focus of my talk.
Click here for the presentation slides.

Speaker: Anna Sfard(October 1 & 2)
Title: Fleming Lecture Series
Abstract: Click here for Title and Abstract.

Speaker: Dmitry Zakharov (October 9)
Title: The Gaussian Integers: An Example of A Scheme
Abstract: One of the most important breakthroughs in mathematics in the 20th century was the modern reformulation of algebraic geometry. At its heart is the insight that to every commutative ring, which is an algebraic object, we can associate a geometric object known as a scheme.
In my talk, I will give the briefest of introductions to scheme theory, using the example of Gaussian integers. I will first talk about the ring of Gaussian integers, which consist of the usual integers with the complex number i added in. I will explain the Euclidean algorithm for Gaussian integers, what the prime elements of this ring are, and how unique factorization works. In the second part of my talk, I will explain how the classification theorem for Gaussian primes can be interpreted as a geometric result using scheme theory.

Speaker: Troy Klingler and John Aidoo (October 16)
Title: An Introduction to Careers in Actuarial and Data Science
Abstract: The target audience of this talk is both graduate and undergraduate students with an interest in mathematics and statistics. We will be giving high-level overviews of two fulfilling and interrelated career paths in this space – namely Actuarial and Data Science. We will share our background and our careers with a variety of different companies in this arena and demonstrate the power of mathematics and statistics in the business world. We plan to walk through several real-life, on-the-job, business problems that we have faced and solved to give you a feel of how you will be applying everything that you are learning in school once you join the workforce.
Bio. Troy Klingler, FCAS, MAAA is a graduate of Central Michigan University. He earned a B.S. with a triple major in Mathematics, Statistics, and Actuarial Science. He started working for Auto-Owners Insurance in the Analytics department upon graduation, went on to join the Commercial Lines Pricing team for Grange Insurance, and finally joined Central Mutual Insurance as the Commercial Lines Pricing Manager in 2017. He obtained his Fellowship in the Casualty Actuarial Society in 2018.
Bio. John Aidoo, MSc Applied Statistics, a graduate from Wright State University. He started his career as a software engineer with LexisNexis upon graduating, then went on to work for Publicis Groupe as Sr. Database Analyst doing consulting in Marketing Analytics, worked as a data scientist with Nationwide Insurance and now currently managing the data science team at Central Mutual Insurance.

Speaker: Yeon Ju Lee (October 23)
Title: Department Colloquium
Abstract: Click here for Title and Abstract.

Speaker: Jordan Gill (October 30)
Title: Mathematics Self-Efficacy and its Relationship to Perseverance and Study Habits
Abstract: Mathematics Self-Efficacy (MSE), or a student’s belief in their own mathematics ability, has previously been shown to be related to achievement and persistence in college courses. This talk will examine the results of a pilot study that aimed to examine how college students’ MSE was related to their study habits and perseverance on challenging math problems. Results suggest that students may reduce the amount of time they spent studying when feeling confident with the material. Further, students with higher levels of MSE tended to persist longer than those with low MSE when failing to get a correct answer on challenging math problems. These pilot study results are being used to inform further studies, and future changes to methodology will be discussed.

Speaker: Jordan Watts (November 13)
Title: Data Science & Drought, or How a Mathematician can be Useful in the Real World
Abstract: In this talk, I will describe my experience working as a short-term postdoc for the National Drought Mitigation Center, an institution under the umbrella of the University of Nebraska Lincoln. In particular, I will describe one of the problems I worked on (clustering drought stations), why this is a useful thing to do, the mathematics behind what I was doing, and an idea of how I went about solving the problem.
The goal of the talk is to give mathematics/statistics students an idea of how knowledge of even basic mathematics can be extremely helpful to those who are not experts in these fields, and the types of problems you could be asked to deal with.

Past seminars: Spring 2018, Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2014