MSU News - Math News
http://www.montclair.edu/news/index.php?ChannelID=174
News in Mathematicsen-usThu, 06 Jun 2013 09:53:20 -0400Spring 2013 Issue of MathClarion
http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=11518&ChannelID=174
<h1>Spring 2013 Issue of MathClarion</h1> <p><em></em></p> <p>View the spring 2013 issue of the Mathclarion. Click on image below to view animated version, or view in <a href="http://www.montclair.edu/media/montclairedu/csam/math/MathClarion-spring-2013.pdf">PDF format</a>.</p><p> </p><div><object style="width: 420px; height: 272px;"><param value="http://static.issuu.com/webembed/viewers/style1/v1/IssuuViewer.swf?mode=embed&layout=http%3A%2F%2Fskin.issuu.com%2Fv%2Flight%2Flayout.xml&showFlipBtn=true&documentId=130606135328-1a1904931ff58d5f1d5b46904f78b656&docName=mathclarion-spring-2013&username=MSU_Comm&loadingInfoText=Mathclarion%20spring%202013&et=1370527475535&er=26" name="movie" /><param value="true" name="allowfullscreen" /><param value="false" name="menu" /><param value="always" name="allowscriptaccess" /><embed flashvars="mode=embed&layout=http%3A%2F%2Fskin.issuu.com%2Fv%2Flight%2Flayout.xml&showFlipBtn=true&documentId=130606135328-1a1904931ff58d5f1d5b46904f78b656&docName=mathclarion-spring-2013&username=MSU_Comm&loadingInfoText=Mathclarion%20spring%202013&et=1370527475535&er=26" style="width: 420px; height: 272px;" menu="false" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://static.issuu.com/webembed/viewers/style1/v1/IssuuViewer.swf" /></object><div style="width: 420px; text-align: left;"><a target="_blank" href="http://issuu.com/MSU_Comm/docs/mathclarion-spring-2013?mode=embed&layout=http%3A%2F%2Fskin.issuu.com%2Fv%2Flight%2Flayout.xml&showFlipBtn=true">Open publication</a></div></div>Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:53:20 -0400http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=11518&ChannelID=174Math Department Spring 2013 Newsletter
http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=11499&ChannelID=174
<h1>Math Department Spring 2013 Newsletter</h1> <p><em></em></p>Thu, 30 May 2013 15:47:38 -0400http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=11499&ChannelID=174Math Professor, Diana Thomas, Featured in CBS Obesity Research Interview
http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=10933&ChannelID=174
<h1>Math Professor, Diana Thomas, Featured in CBS Obesity Research Interview</h1> <p><em></em></p> <p>Dr. Diana Thomas of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Montclair State University was part of an international team of scientists who investigated myths, presumptions, and facts related to obesity. These results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine on January 30, 2013. A myth is defined as a belief that is widely held, yet scientific evidence has demonstrated otherwise. Similarily, a presumption is a widely held belief which is often acted on in policy, yet there is not yet sufficient scientific evidence to support the belief. The article was well covered by the media and the tri-state CBS evening news aired an interview with Dr. Thomas regarding the study results. The interview was aired by local stations around the nation.</p><p>Read the story and watch the interview:<br /><br /><a href="http://www.wcax.com/story/20876305/experts-debunk-obesity-myths" target="_blank">http://www.wcax.com/story/20876305/experts-debunk-obesity-myths</a> </p>Tue, 26 Feb 2013 09:07:05 -0500http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=10933&ChannelID=174Dr. Lora Billings to deliver Plenary Lecture at the SIAM 2013 Applied Dynamical Systems Conference
http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=10218&ChannelID=174
<h1>Dr. Lora Billings to deliver Plenary Lecture at the SIAM 2013 Applied Dynamical Systems Conference</h1> <p><em></em></p> <p><link href="file:///C:\Users\lb10\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_editdata.mso" rel="Edit-Time-Data" /><!--[if !mso]> <style> v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} </style> <![endif]--> <span style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Dr. Lora Billings will be delivering one of the nine plenary lectures at the 2013 biennial SIAM Conference on Applied Dynamical Systems. Often referred to as the "Snowbird Meeting," this conference has been one of the most prominent showcases for modern nonlinear science for several decades. The meeting brings together mathematicians and applied researchers from nearly every branch of the natural, life, social, and engineering sciences with a common interest in the modeling and analysis of complex dynamical processes.</span></p><p> </p><p><span style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Many conventional mathematical models do not include the effects of small random factors that are observed real problems. In recognition of the need to include randomness in modeling, this year's Snowbird meeting highlights the effect of random factors which is technically referred to as <em>stochastic fluctuations in nonlinear dynamical systems</em>. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">The inclusion of stochastic fluctuations, commonly called noise, can significantly impact model dynamics and is critical for accurately predicting rare, yet important events that occur in real-world phenomena.<span> </span>Examples of some such events are the extinction of species in ecological systems, the outbreak of an epidemic, a catastrophic failure in a mechanical system, or a giant market swing in an economy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Dr. Billings’ important contributions to the field were articulated by conference organizer, Dr. Charles Doering of the University of Michigan, who stated “Professor Billings' research has contributed much to our understanding of the important role that small, seemingly negligible, noise can play in the long-term behavior of nonlinear systems.”<br /> <br /> Dr. Doering goes on to say that “It is the task of the applied mathematician to understand the fundamental mechanisms at play, to reliably predict the probabilities of such events and, ultimately, to suggest and design control strategies to manage the phenomena.”</span></p> <span style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;">Dr. Billings will be presenting on her recent results in intervention-based disease extinction in population models. Corroborating Dr. Doering’s comments, she says “I’m grateful for this opportunity to showcase the work my group has accomplished in the field of stochastic fluctuation theory and what it has revealed in the dynamics of disease modeling. Our goal is to understand rare events and find new, efficient control strategies to eradicate diseases in a network of populations.”</span> <p> </p>Sun, 16 Sep 2012 19:37:07 -0400http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=10218&ChannelID=1742012 George Pólya Award Winners
http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=10178&ChannelID=174
<h1>2012 George Pólya Award Winners </h1> <p><em></em></p> <p>The Mathematical Association of America has selected T.S. Michael (U.S. Naval Academy) and Leslie A. Cheteyan, Stewart Hengeveld, and Michael A. Jones as the 2012 winners of the George Pólya Award. Full citations and biographical information for each winner are available below.</p> <p>This award, established in 1976, is named after the renowned teacher and writer, and is given for articles of expository excellence published in the<em> College Mathematics Journal</em>. This is an award of $500. Up to two of these awards are given annually at the Summer Meeting of the Association.</p> <p><a href="http://maa.org/awards/polya.html">Read more about the award</a>. </p> <p>Awards were presented during the <a href="http://www.maa.org/mathfest/othermath.html">MAA Prize Session</a> on Friday, August 3, 2012, at the <a href="http://www.maa.org/meetings/mathfest/mathfest-archive" target="_blank">2012 MAA MathFest </a> in Madison, Wisconsin.</p><h3>Leslie A. Cheteyan, Stewart Hengeveld, and Michael A. Jones</h3> <blockquote>“<a href="http://mathdl.maa.org/mathDL/22/?pa=content&sa=viewDocument&nodeId=3899"><em>Chutes and Ladders</em> for the Impatient</a>,” <em>College Mathematics Journal</em>, v. 42:1 (2011), p. 2-8.</blockquote> <p>Think back to your childhood and the game of <em>Chutes and Ladders</em>, in which you used a spinner to try to move your token to exactly square 100 of a 10 × 10 board before your opponents did. Along the way there were ladders to help you jump ahead, but also chutes to send you back. If you were unlucky, the game could be agonizingly slow. Might there be a better way?</p> <p>After providing a brief review of the game, Cheteyan, Hengeveld, and Jones extend a Markov chain model that uses the “official” 1-to-6 spinner to one that uses an arbitrary spinner labeled 1 to <em>n</em> in order to understand the relation between spinner range and the expected number of turns for the game. They discover that a spinner with range 1 to 15 will provide the impatient player with the shortest game on average (with an expected length of 25.81 turns). Readers are invited to consider additional variations on their own, and to model other childhood board games, aided by modifiable Maple code provided by the authors.</p> <p>Because the Markov chain for <em>Chutes and Ladders</em> has 101 states, the authors cleverly explicate their analysis with a simplified 10-state version of the game, making the article exceptionally clear and very enjoyable to read. Cheteyan, Hengeveld, and Jones are to be congratulated for their innovative and enticing introduction to a classical mathematical topic that all undergraduates should see.</p> <h4><em>Biographical Notes</em></h4> <p><strong>Leslie A. Cheteyan</strong> received her B.S. in mathematics from Montclair State University in 2008, followed by her M.S. in 2011. From an early age she has had a love for math and its implications. Besides math, Leslie enjoys playing all types of sports, though basketball is her favorite. Her competitive nature helps to fuel her motivation in different areas of mathematics. She now works at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York as a research assistant.</p> <p><strong>Stewart Hengeveld</strong> received his B.S. in mathematics from Montclair State University in 2008 and his M.S. in 2012. He has enjoyed spending the last seven years as a mathematics and physics tutor at Bergen Community College, and the last four years as an adjunct professor there. During his time at Montclair, he worked as a fellow in the NSF sponsored GK-12 program. In his spare time, he enjoys astrophotography and playing games of all sorts. He now works for Blue Cross Blue Shield in New Jersey. Per aspera ad astra.</p> <p><strong>Michael A. Jones</strong> just completed his 4th year as an Associate Editor at <em>Mathematical</em> <em>Reviews</em> in Ann Arbor. Previously he held faculty positions at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Loyola University (Chicago), and Montclair State University. He is a graduate of Santa Clara University (B.S., 1989) and Northwestern University (Ph.D. in game theory, 1994). He likes the challenge of examining everyday observations through a mathematical lens and, when appropriate, writing about them. After eight years of living next to a piano teacher in New Jersey, he finally started taking lessons last year. </p>Mon, 10 Sep 2012 12:49:46 -0400http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=10178&ChannelID=174Welcome, new faculty!
http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=10108&ChannelID=174
<h1>Welcome, new faculty!</h1> <p><em></em></p> <p>The following people have joined the department:</p> <p>Marc Favata - Physics. Marc joins us after Postdocs at the Center for Gravitation & Cosmology at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at Caltech. He earned his PhD in Astrophysics at Cornell University. His office is in RI 250</p> <p>Steven Greenstein - Mathematics Education. Steven joins us from the University of the Virgin Islands. He earned his PhD in Mathematics Education at The University of Texas at Austin. His office is in RI 220</p> <p>Deby Ives – Mathematics Education (one year appointment). Deby worked as Mathematics Supervisor K – 12 and taught mathematics at the high school and middle school level. Deby earned her EdD at Montclair State University. Her office is in RI 242. </p> <p>Eliza Leszczynki – Mathematics Education (one year appointment). Eliza is currently in our EdD Program in Mathematics Education. Eliza has been an adjunct and was an instructor in the Traders to Teachers Program. Her office is in RI 242.</p> <p>Timothy Mink – Course Coordinator Red Hawk Mathematics Learning Center (RHMLC). Tim expects to complete his MS Mathematics concentration in Pure and Applied mathematics this Fall. His office is in Conrad J. Schmidt Hall in the RHMLC.</p> <p>Greg Stock – Course Coordinator Red Hawk Mathematics Learning Center (half-time). Greg has an MS Statistics from Rutgers and an MS Stochastic System Analysis and Optimization from Stevens Institute of Technology. His office is in Conrad J. Schmidt Hall in the RHMLC.</p>Thu, 23 Aug 2012 12:07:07 -0400http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=10108&ChannelID=174NSF MRI grant Awarded to Vaidya, Yecko, Mukherjee, and Trubatch
http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=10107&ChannelID=174
<h1>NSF MRI grant Awarded to Vaidya, Yecko, Mukherjee, and Trubatch</h1> <p><em></em></p> Drs. Ashwin Vaidya, Phil Yecko, Arup Mukherjee, and David Trubatch received a grant award for $171,135 from the NSF for their project entitled, "MRI: Acquisition of Imaging System for the Study of Flow Patterns."Thu, 23 Aug 2012 12:02:52 -0400http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=10107&ChannelID=174NSF CMMI grant Awarded to Forgoston and Billings
http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=10106&ChannelID=174
<h1>NSF CMMI grant Awarded to Forgoston and Billings</h1> <p><em></em></p> Drs. Eric Forgoston and Lora Billings received a grant award for $278,966 from the NSF for their project entitled, "Understanding the Dynamics of Stochastic Disease Spread in Metapopulations."Thu, 23 Aug 2012 11:59:56 -0400http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=10106&ChannelID=174Two Veteran CSAM Professors Retire
http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=10070&ChannelID=174
<h1>Two Veteran CSAM Professors Retire</h1> <p><em>Mary Lou West, Ken Wolff</em></p> <p><img border="0" align="left" hspace="5" vspace="5" src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7253/7699481374_96d57bdf50_m.jpg" alt="Mary Lou West - Montclair State University" />Professor <strong>Mary Lou West</strong> of the Department of Mathematical Sciences has retired as of June 2012. She began her career at Montclair State College (as it was called at the time) in the fall of 1970, soon after earning her Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Columbia University. She has been an active and visible member of the campus community as an enthusiastic promoter of the sciences. Over the years, Dr. West has mentored over 60 undergraduate students on their independent study research projects and was the coordinator of the physics and astronomy clubs. In outreach efforts, she was co-director (with Frank Kelland from Earth and Environmental Studies) of a training course for elementary and middle school teachers in the mid-80’s called "The Earth and Other Planets: Their Weather and Surfaces," funded by the New Jersey Department of Higher Education, and principal investigator of NASA’s IDEAS (Initiative to Develop Education through Astronomy and Space Science) grant “It’s All in Motion” with Charles Liu and Kevin Conod in the late 90’s. In 1994, she was the organizer of “The Best Astronomy Day in the USA.” On campus, a visible aspect of her work can be appreciated near Sprague Library where the sculpture “Ophiuchus”, produced in collaboration with sculptor MacAdams in 1998, stands.<br /> <br /> For the past five years, Dr. West has been co-director of the $2.8 million NSF-funded GK12 program at MSU, which involves work with CSAM graduate students and local middle school students and teachers. Though her retirement will be noticed by all in CSAM, she has assured us that she will arrange to have the popular Public Telescope Night in front of Richardson Hall continued. I recently had a chance to sit down to chat with her.<br /> <br /> MM: What have been some of the highlights of your career?<br /> MLW: Having the concentration in Astronomy within the Physics major approved. Also, I have particularly enjoyed working with enthusiastic physics students, many of whom have continued on to graduate school in physics or astronomy. In fact, one is returning today, to give a seminar to our current students. I especially enjoyed them on projects that involved experimentation and mathematical modeling. I will miss interacting with these very promising students.<br /> </p><p>MM: How did you become interested in astronomy and physics?<br /> MLW: I read a lot of science fiction books in middle school. I enjoyed considering the “what if” questions. When I was a child, I would often experiment with kitchen chemistry and enjoyed taking apart clocks just to put them back together. I never thought that I could go into science because back then, girls didn’t do science. Math, however, was more accessible to girls, so I went into mathematics, which I also loved. In my sophomore year of college, I asked a mathematics professor what good the mathematics we were studying was. He immediately pointed me to the physics department, so I became a double major. I became fascinated with astronomy during my senior year of college when I took my first astronomy course - magneto-hydrodynamics in the solar system. In graduate school, my interests in cosmic rays interacting with magnetic fields in space led to my studies of star motions in the galaxy.<br /> </p><p>MM: Who inspired you?<br /> MLW: Marie Curie was an inspiration for many female students and scientists. As an undergraduate, I was usually the only female student in the science classes. This changed in graduate school, where often there were two or three of us. So, it was inspirational to see how much Marie Curie had accomplished. Ian Axford and Ken Greisen, my undergraduate mentors, were also inspirational figures for me.<br /> </p><p>MM: If you could study anything, what would it be?<br /> MLW: Meteorites, to find out about the earliest days of the solar system, four and a half billion years ago. There is nothing else you can hold in your hand that is anywhere near that old. Black holes are also fascinating and mysterious. They are the engines of quasars and affect their environment in powerful non-linear ways. I’ve started these projects with some students, so I’d like to continue it.<br /> </p><p>MM: What else will you pursue upon retirement?<br /> MLW: I would like to play with my grandchildren and hike and quilt more. I want to write about demos and PER (physics education research) and continue with AAPT (American Association of Physics Teachers). I will definitely miss my interactions with good students but will not miss grading lab reports!</p><p><strong><img border="0" align="left" hspace="5" vspace="5" src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8154/7699481450_377d439a8f.jpg" alt="Ken Wolff - Montclair State University" />Ken Wolff,</strong> professor of mathematics, has retired as of June 2012 from MSU, his alma mater. Prior to receiving his BS from MSU in 1963, his undergraduate advisor Tony Pettofrezzo encouraged him to seek graduate degrees and then to come back to teach at MSU, because it’s “a great place to start a career.” Well, here we are 45 years later, looking back on a career that began as a mathematics teacher at Ridgewood High School and included positions as associate chair of the MSU mathematics department, chair, interim dean of CSAM and member of the doctoral faculty.<br /> <br /> Professor Wolff is happy he stayed at MSU. As you can imagine, he has taught many courses over the years, but his favorite course to teach was linear algebra. He especially enjoyed the blend of procedures, theory, and applications that are intrinsic to the subject. As technology became an increasingly integral part of mathematics education, he and Dr. John Stevens received an $88,750 NJ DHE High Tech grant in 1987 for hardware and software to introduce the use of computer algebra systems (CAS) software into the teaching of Linear Algebra and Differential Equations. This provided the groundwork for further funding of $25,000 for a NSF ILI grant to support the use of CAS in the teaching of calculus. Together with secondary school colleagues from the Wayne school district, Ken obtained $167,000 in external funding from a variety of sources that brought MSU, in the 1990’s, to the forefront of institutions that provided training on the use of graphing calculators to support the teaching and learning of mathematics. During the same time period, as part of a cooperative effort with Rutgers University, he was the senior MSU faculty member for the $150,000 NSF Discrete Mathematics in the Middle Grades Leadership Program.<br /> <br /> In the late 1990’s Ken was a principal contributor to and a project manager for the $2.5 million Middle Grade Mathematics Science Teacher Education Project (MGM-STEP), a High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grant funded by the NJ Department of Higher Education. This project led to the development of the middle grades certificate program, which in turn led to the middle grades MA program, a popular program for local middle school teachers. Dr. Wolff looks back on the middle school programs as having opened his eyes to opportunities and the need for delivering more content and pedagogical content knowledge to middle school math teachers.<br /> <br /> In the early 2000’s, Dr. Wolff, was instrumental in developing the Ed.D. in Pedagogy, MSU’s first doctoral program (with concentrations in Mathematics Education and the Philosophy for Children), with colleague Drs. Anthony Piccolino and Evan Maletsky, the faculty in the Department of Mathematical Sciences and the College of Education and Human Services as well as by college and university administrators. Ken has advised numerous students on their dissertations, another experience he reflects upon fondly.<br /> <br /> More recently, Dr. Wolff has been co-director of the NSF-funded GK12 program, a 5-year $2.8 million project, another highlight of his career. He found it interesting, challenging, and rewarding, with the effort leading to great opportunities for CSAM graduate students, local middle school teachers, middle school students and project staff.<br /> <br /> His work over the years has also led to recognition outside of MSU. In 2003, he was awarded the Outstanding Mathematics Educator award from the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New Jersey. He served as president of that organization in 1981-82 and was the 1993 Conference co-Chair for the 6th International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics. Earlier in his career he co-authored several textbooks. He has continued to present at numerous local, national, and international venues and has published papers in professional journals. He continues to be a reviewer for NCTM publications and has been a member of several NSF review panels.<br /> <br /> As he looks back, he appreciates the variety of experiences he has had as a full-time faculty member, department chair and interim dean. Through these various roles, he was able to see three different aspects of university life. Upon retirement, Professor Wolff looks forward to additional travel, hiking, canoeing and boating, photography and spending more time with his grandchildren. <br /></p>Thu, 02 Aug 2012 14:36:36 -0400http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=10070&ChannelID=174Mathematics Professor Diana Thomas Featured in New York Times Diet and Exercise Article
http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=10067&ChannelID=174
<h1>Mathematics Professor Diana Thomas Featured in New York Times Diet and Exercise Article</h1> <p><em></em></p>Thu, 02 Aug 2012 10:46:40 -0400http://www.montclair.edu/news/article.php?ArticleID=10067&ChannelID=174