Career Planning

2016-17 Academic Year Colloquium Schedule

September 10, 2015

Title: Counting Without Seeing
Speaker: Eric Kamischke
Mathematics & Engineering
Jackson College
Jackson, MI

Abstract: The National Park Service asked for an estimate of the number of elk taken by the wolves introduced to the park.  As there was no method guaranteed to find all the kills in the wilds of the park, a design was created to estimate what was not seen. The estimate involved a double count procedure, logistic regression modeling and parameter approximation. Once the estimate was found, the search and verification of the standard error involved delta methods, bootstrapping and simulation.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Citation: BibTeX citation

September 17, 2015

Title: Planning for Gradute Study in Mathemaitics and Computer Science
Speaker:  David A. Reimann, Professor Albion College
Abstract:  A degree in mathematics or computer science is excellent preparation for graduate school in areas such as mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering, finance, and law.  Come learn about graduate school and options you will have to further your education after graduation.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Citation: BibTeX citation

September 24, 2015

Title: The Mathematical Connection between Patterns in Moorish Architecture and the Artwork of M.C. Escher
Speaker:  David A. Reimann, Professor Albion College
Abstract:  The Mathematical structure of symmetrical patterns can be studied using group theory. The Moors built many magnificent buildings richly decorated with geometic patterns during their rule of the Iberian peninsula (711-1492). The graphic artist M.C. Escher visited southern Spain in 1922 amd was capitivated by the patterns that richly decorate the archtecture of the Alhambra, Alcazar, and other Moorish building. After a second visit to Spain in 1935, Escher became obsessed with creating patterns of interlocking figures based on these elaborate tiling patterns. While Escher had no formal mathematical training, he used mathematical methods grounded in scientific literature to study these patterns. We will view these patterns through the lens of group theory, one of the great mathematical accomplishments of the 19th century. This talk will be highly visual with many pictures of Escher's work and Moorish architecture.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Citation: BibTeX citation

October 1, 2015

Title: Finding the Best Way From Here to There - A Primer on Variational Calculus
Speaker:  Darren Mason, Professor Albion College
Abstract:  

Given a task to accomplish, it is natural to ask what is the best way to achieve your goal? Maybe you are flying from Beijing to London and need the shortest flight path. Or you are selling fuel and you want to find the optimal time t to sell it so that you can maximize your profit. Or you are crossing a river with a strong current and want to determine a propeller direction (as a function of time) so that you cross the river in the least amount of time. The number of possible questions of this type seems endless. During this lecture we will discuss some of the above problems, a famous brain-teaser called the brachistochrone problem, and illustrate how to find solutions to these problems using a version of calculus that makes sense in infinite dimensions — the interesting field of variational calculus!

Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Citation: BibTeX citation

October 8, 2015

Title: Spider Craps: Mathematical Development of the New Casino Games
Speaker:  Dr. Mark Bollman, Professor Albion College
Abstract:

Games of chance have been found in the relics of ancient cultures for as far back as one cares to look. The popular game of craps, played with two six-sided dice, traces its origins to the Old English game of Hazard, which was then transplanted to New Orleans by French settlers and evolved into one of the most popular casino table games. This talk will describe research in both theoretical and experimental probability that modified craps to use eight-sided dice, leading to the invention of a new game called "Spider Craps". Mathematical points of interest for casino game developers including reasonable win probabilities, a meaningful house advantage, and efficient gameplay will be described. This research was carried out under a grant from Albion College's Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (FURSCA) with recent Albion alumnus Jacob Engel.

 
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:30 PM
Citation: BibTeX citation

October 15, 2015

Title: Pizza and Pamphlets
Speaker:  Bring your friends, bring your questions; bring your schedule!
Abstract:  

Pizza and Pamphlets is the event where the Mathematics and Computer Science Department provides information about spring courses in Mathematics and Computer Science. All Math majors/minors, Computer Science minors, Math/Physics majors, Math/Econ majors, prospective majors, and friends of the department are invited to join us.

Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Citation: BibTeX citation

October 22, 2015

Title: Building Better Biological Models
 Speaker:  Elizabeth Skubak Wolf, Assistant Professor
Abstract:  

Randomness is inherent in many biological processes, from the dynamics of the populations in an ecosystem down to the systems of biochemical reactions occurring within a single cell. Therefore, when trying to analyze these processes, we might consider using a stochastic model — that is, one that includes some form of randomness.

Can stochastic models behave significantly differently from deterministic models? (Yes!) What might a stochastic model look like? How exactly does one use a stochastic model to say anything useful? We'll look at a few biological examples, introduce a particular stochastic model called a Markov chain, and see how, using a tool called Monte Carlo simulation, we can gain some insight into the biological systems we model.

Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Citation: BibTeX citation

October 29, 2015

Title: The weak cop number of a graph
Speaker:  Robert Bell
The weak cop number of an infinite graph
Lyman Briggs College & Department of Mathematics
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI
Abstract:  The cop number of a finite graph G is defined as the minimal number of cops a player needs to capture an opponent's robber in a game of cops and robbers on G. In this game, the cop player places each of her cop pawns on vertices of G; and then the opponent places his robber pawn on a vertex of G. Both players have complete information about G and the location of the pawns. The players alternate turns, with the cop player playing first, by moving any number of his or her pawns along edges of G to adjacent vertices. If a cop is moved to the same vertex as the robber, then the robber is captured. In this talk, we explore the notion of a weak cop number due to Florian Lehner. Suppose G is a possibly infinite graph. The weak cop number of G is the minimal number of cops needed to either capture the robber or prevent the robber from visiting any vertex of G infinitely often. We compute the weak cop numbers of several families of infinite graphs, extend several theorems to this new setting, and give examples of how some of the foundational theorems for finite graphs fail to extend to infinite graphs. In particular, we will outline how one can bound the weak cop number of a connected, countable, locally finite planar graph. This is joint work with undergraduate participants in the 2015 summer REU program at MSU.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Citation: BibTeX citation

November 5, 2015

Title: Random Chess: Piece Strength; End Games; and Large Sparse Eigenvalue Problems
Speaker:  Allan Struthers, Professor Mathematical Sciences, Michigan Technological University
Abstract:  Chess books all include an assessment of the relative strength of pieces and a detailed analysis of various end game situations. Modern computer algebra systems make it easy to build transition matrices for random walks by various pieces on chess boards. The eigenvectors of these large sparse matrices quantify piece strength and provide interesting end-game information. The talk will provide all necessary background in both Chess and Linear Algebra.
Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Citation: BibTeX citation

November 12, 2015

Title:

Two-Colored Motzkin Paths, Set Partitions and Restricted Growth Functions 

Speaker:  

Samantha Dahlberg, Mathematics - Michigan State University

Abstract:  

This talk is based on the research done with a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) group at Michigan State University in the summer of 2014. The goal of this talk is to first introduce three commonly studied objects in combinatorics: set partitions, restricted growth functions (RGFs) and two-colored Motzkin paths. We will introduce and explore these seemingly different objects, but we will find that they are actually closely related to each other. This is joint work with Robert Dorward, Jonathan Gerhard, Thomas Grubb, Carlin Purcell, Lindsey Reppuhn, and Bruce Sagan. 

Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Citation: BibTeX citation

November 19, 2015

Title: Tennis Rankings over Time
Speaker:  Michael A. Jones, Associate Editor Mathematical Reviews
Abstract:

In 2010, Kim Clijsters won the U.S. Open, but had her world ranking drop from #3 to #5 by the Women's Tennis Assocation (WTA). How can a tennis player win a tournament but drop in the rankings? The WTA uses a moving window to determine the rankings. We explain how discounting older results in the window can prevent such counterintuitive behavior and consider geometric and arithmetic discounting methods. We examine real data from the WTA, and comment on discounting methods already in use by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) for ranking national teams for the World Cup and by the Professional Golf Association for ranking golfers. This talk is based on joint work with Alex Webb (undergraduate at Macalaster College) and Jennifer Wilson (Eugene Lang College, New School University).


 

Location: Palenske 227
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Citation: BibTeX citation

Faculty and Staff

Principal Investigator

Beth LincolnBeth Lincoln
Provost

Office: Palenske 120
Phone: 517/629-0331
Email:

Coordinator

Ronney Mourad, professor of religious studies and department chair at Albion CollegeRonney Mourad
Professor
Religious Studies

Office: 211 Vulgamore
Phone: 517/629-0354
Email:

Steering Committee

Lynne ChytiloLynne Chytilo
Professor
Art and Art History

Office: Bobbitt Visual Arts Center
Phone: 517/629-0373
Email:

gueninlellemourad2Dianne Guenin-Lelle
Professor of French
Modern Languages and Cultures

Office: 117 Vulgamore Hall
E-mail:
Phone: 517/629-0335

Allison Harnish, Anthropology/SociologyAllison Harnish
Assistant Professor
Anthropology

Office: Robinson 310
Phone: 517-629-0272
Email:

Beth LincolnBeth Lincoln
Provost

Office: Palenske 120
Phone: 517/629-0331
Email:

Ian MacInnes, Chair and Professor, English DepartmentIan MacInnes
Department Chair and Professor
English

Office: Vulgamore 311
Phone: 517/629-0259
Email:

Bindu Madhok, chair and professor, Albion College Philosophy DepartmentBindu Madhok
Department Chair and Professor
Philosophy

Office: Vulgamore Hall, Room 209
Phone: 517/629-0338
Email:

Ronney Mourad, professor of religious studies and department chair at Albion CollegeRonney Mourad
Professor
Religious Studies

Office: 211 Vulgamore
Phone: 517/629-0354
Email:

Clayton Parr, assistant professor of music, Albion CollegeClayton ParrAssociate Professor
Music

Office: T-1, Goodrich Chapel
Phone: 517-629-0251
Email:

Gregg Strand - Director of Corporate and Foundation RelationsGregg Strand
Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations
Institutional Advancement

Office: 3rd Floor Ferguson
Phone: 517/629-0510
Email:

John Woell, associate provost and professor of philosophy, Albion CollegeJohn Woell
Associate Provost

Phone: 517/629-0776
Email:

Albion College Student Farm

The mission of the Albion College Student Farm Association is to cultivate a student-organized, all-natural, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing produce garden for the benefit of students and faculty from all academic disciplines and community members of all ages.

Using a combination of fields, a hoop house, and Three Sisters plots, the student farm grows a variety of peppers, tomatoes, green beens, onions, squash, corn, beets, and herbs at its location in the Whitehouse Nature Center

The goals of the student farm include:

  • Promote gardening as an uplifting, healthful, environmentally-friendly activity
  • Experiment with organic gardening practices such as composting and planting heirloom seeds
  • Raise awareness about the role of a local diet in reducing carbon footprint by offering our produce to Dining Services, student apartments, and annexes
  • Help ensure equal access to nutritious food in the Albion community by donating produce to local charities
  • Encourage Albion residents, especially youth, to learn about and appreciate organic gardening, become more connected with their local food system, and grow a deeper sense of community.

A group of five students started the farm during Albion’s Year of Sustainability in 2010.

Student Workers

The farm is a three way collaboration among Albion College's Center for Sustainability and the Environment, the Whitehouse Nature Center, and an independent student organization.

The work in the student farm is all volunteer during the school year. In the summer, the Center for Sustainability employs two interns to work half time at the farm, with the Nature Center employing them the other half of their time. 

Gardens and Hoop House

The The 1,440-square-foot growhouse is a "greenhouse on wheels." The hoop house was made possible by a generous gift from the Baird family in honor of Jessica Baird’s, ’11, graduation. Jessie was one of the founding members of the student organization. The Student Senate has also supported the student organization generously over the years.

In the hoop house, student farmers grow tomatoes and a variety of peppers. Outside the hoop house, students manage Three Sisters plots (corn, beans, and squash), as well as:

  • Winter squash
  • Watermelons
  • Various herbs, including basil, parsley, oregano, mints
  • Onions 
  • Summer squash
  • Green beans

How To Help

You can get involved with Albion's student farm by volunteering with the Student Farm Association, or apply to work at the student farm during the summer. Contact CSE Director Tim Lincoln for details. 

The student farm needs help with:

  • Weeding
  • Composting
  • Planting and cultivating crops

 

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