March 19, 2009 - Department Offers New Course in Partial Differential Equations

The deparment has added a new course, Math 370 Partial Differential Equations, with the following course description: "A study of the theory and applications of partial differential equations. Linear and nonlinear PDEs, including quasilinear first order equations, conservation laws, discontinuous solutions, classification of PDEs, wave propagation in multiple space dimensions, Fourier analysis and separation of variables, Sturm-Liouville theory, fundamental solutions for equations of parabolic adn elliptic type, as well as consideration of the nonlinear Riemann Problem. Applications in biology, chemistry, engineering, and physics.

April 4, 2009 - Department Hosts 33rd Lower Michigan Mathematics Competition

On Saturday, April 4, Albion College hosted students and faculty from 11 Michigan colleges in the 33rd Lower Michigan Mathematics Competition. Teams of 2 or 3 students faced off in a 10-question, 3-hour exam covering a variety of undergraduate mathematics topics. Calvin College is the defending LMMC champion; Albion teams won the contest in 2004 and 2007. The 2009 LMMC was written by Andy Niedermayer of the University of California-San Diego. Representing Albion in the LMMC were Chen Chen, Yang Chen, Rachel Kamischke, Whitney Patton, Kathryn Wagner, and Qian Wang. In addition to coordinating the 2009 LMMC, Mark Bollman advised the two Albion entries. Results of the competition are expected by the end of the academic year. The 2010 LMMC will be hosted by Grand Valley State University.

April 7, 2009 - Students Complete Honors Theses

The following senior mathematics and computer science students have completed theses:

  • Ryan Graham, a Physics major with an Applied Mathematics Minor, completed a thesis entitled "Quantifying the Influence of a 4.8-Tesla Magnetic Field on The α-γ Phase Transitions in Fe-0.75c Steel" for College honors. His thesis advisor was Dr. Aaron Miller (Physics). Ryan plans on attending graduate school to study civil engineering.
  • Whitney Patton, a Mathematics major, completed a thesis entitled "Comparison of the Rectangular, Polar, and Biangular Coordinate Systems as Seen Through Real and Complex Analysis" for Mathematics and Computer Science Departmental honors. Her thesis advisor was Dr. Mark Bollman. Whitney plans on pursuing a PhD in mathematics after graduation.
  • Timothy Rambo, a dual computer science and physics major with a minor in applied mathematics, completed two departmental theses. His thesis "Quantum Algorithms" was for departmental honors in Mathematics and Computer Science. His thesis advisor was Dr. Harold Connamacher. His thesis "An Algorithmic Solar Tracking System for a Solar Collector" was for departmental honors in Physics; his physics thesis advisor was Dr. Aaron Miller. Tim plans on pursuing a PhD in electrical engineering after graduation.
  • Lesley Simanton, a physics major with a minor in applied mathematics, completed a thesis entitled "Establishing Observing and Imaging Protocols for Albion College Telescopes: Investigating Instrumentation and Photometry" for College honors. Her thesis advisor was Dr. Nicolle Zellner (Physics). Lesley plans on pursuing a PhD in the area of astronomy and astrophysics after graduation.

A thesis is one of the most rigorous elements of the undergraduate experience at Albion College, a culmination of intensive independent research during a student's junior and senior years. All research and writing take place under the close supervision of a thesis committee consisting of a thesis advisor and two other faculty readers of the student's choosing. A thesis provides a unique opportunity for students to develop their capacity for independent research and provides excellent preparation for many graduate study programs. This year 55 students completed either a college or department thesis.

April 9, 2009 - Albion Students Excel in COMAP International Mathematical Contest in Modeling

Two teams of three Albion students each were honored with awards of both Meritorious Winner and Honorable Mention in the 2009 International Mathematical Contest in Modeling sponsored by the Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications. This year 1675 teams from 14 countries participated in the competition. The team of Yang Chen, Chris Creighton, and Sophia Potoczak received the prestigious award of Meritorious Winner for their work on a problem a complex problem related to cell phone usage and energy consumption. Only 9 teams in the world scored better than this Albion team in the competition. Other schools that received the same level of recognition as Albion for this problem included Harvard University, Harvey Mudd College, Tsinghua University (Beijing), Cornell University and The United States Military Academy at West Point.

In addition, the team of Chen Chen, Whitney Patton, and Kathryn Wagner, who chose to solve a problem involving the mathematics of traffic circles, received the rank of Honorable Mention for their solution. This is significant since, out of the 1675 teams in the competition, 1074 (61%) received a ranking lower than honorable mention. Other schools that received this ranking include Princeton University, Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute, Michigan State University, Colorado College and numerous universities from China.

Congratulations to all six students for this fine achievement! Official results are available at the official COMAP MCM Results Website

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