Home > About > News and Events > News Releases > News Releases 2009 > Moravian College to Host 23rd Student Mathematics Conference
News Release

Moravian College to Host 23rd Student Mathematics Conference

David Bressoud, Macalester College to discuss alternation sign matrix

Bethlehem, Pa., February 16, 2007—Moravian College will host the 31st annual Student Mathematics Conference on Saturday, February 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Priscilla Payne Hurd Academic Complex (PPHAC) Atrium on the College’s Main Street Campus. Approximately 150 students will attend the program with 20 presenting talks. The keynote speaker will be David Bressoud, DeWitt Wallace professor of mathematics and computer science from Macalester College.

LVAIC Math Competition Award Presentations will be conducted after the keynote address. Student presentations of research experiences, honors projects, course projects, or interesting ideas developed by undergraduates will begin at 10:50 a.m., followed by lunch at noon. Student talks will resume at 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. to the conclusion of the conference.

Bressound will discuss the role of proof in mathematics. “Most of the time, the search for proof is less about establishing truth than it is about exploring unknown territory,” he notes. “In finding a route from what is known to the result one believes is out there, the mathematician often encounters unexpected insights into seemingly unrelated problems. I will illustrate this point with an example of recent research into a generalization of the permutation matrix known as the ‘alternating sign matrix.’  This talk is intended for a general audience and should be accessible to anyone interested in a window into the true nature of research in mathematics.”

Bressoud is currently serving as president of the Mathematical Association of America. He served in the Peace Corps, teaching math and science at the Clare Hall School in Antigua, West Indies before studying with Emil Grosswald at Temple University and then teaching at Penn State for 17 years. He chaired the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Macalester from 1995 until 2001. He has held visiting positions at the Institute for Advanced Study, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Minnesota, Université Louis Pasteur (Strasbourg, France), and the State College Area High School.

Bressoud has received the MAA Distinguished Teaching Award (Allegheny Mountain Section), the MAA Beckenbach Book Award for Proofs and Confirmations, and has been a Pólya Lecturer for the MAA. He is a recipient of Macalester's Jefferson Award. He has published over fifty research articles in number theory, combinatorics, and special functions. His other books include Factorization and Primality Testing, Second Year Calculus from Celestial Mechanics to Special Relativity, A Radical Approach to Real Analysis (now in 2nd edition), A Radical Approach to Lebesgue's Theory of Integration, and, with Stan Wagon, A Course in Computational Number Theory.

The pre-registration deadline is February 16 and may be done using the online registration form. Fees are $5.00 for all students and faculty; the onsite fee is $7.00.  The buffet lunch is $10.00 for those who pre-register by February 16.   Student speakers will receive a complimentary lunch.  For additional information please visit the website http://math.moravian.edu/conference.

For more information, contact Michael Fraboni, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Moravian College, 1200 Main Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018-6650. Phone: 610-861-1605; E-mail: mfraboni@moravian.edu

The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and the Moravian College chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon, with support from the United Student Government (USG) and the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC) are collaborating to sponsor the conference.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.