**Number-Crunching**
*At Moravian, there are many weapons of math instruction*
Photo
courtesy Borko Milosev '04
*Full house: Participants in the 18th
annual Student Mathematics Conference pack Prosser Auditorium
(below). Alicia Sevilla,
department chair, faces the camera; on her left, Amy Lawrence
and Dana Patchkowski ’04 (striped sweater), secretary
and president, respectively, of Moravian’s Pi Mu Epsilon
chapter. Turning around to talk to them is Ann Stehney,vice
president for planning and research, who came to Moravian
originally to teach math. *
Mild-mannered
Michael Fraboni has been chosen outstanding leader for
February by Omicron Delta Kappa, Moravian’s
leadership honor society, for organizing the 18th annual Student Mathematics
Conference, held February 21 at the College.
The conference is sponsored by Moravian’s
chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon, the national mathematics honor society, and LVAIC.
This year’s event drew more
than 200 students and faculty from 30 area colleges and universities.
The keynote
speaker was Robert Devaney of Boston University, who spoke on “Chaos
Games and Fractal Imagery.” The accompanying graphic, called a Sierpinski
triangle, is from his talk. It’s a self-similar fractal; that is, each
piece is a replica of the whole, and each piece of each piece is a replica
of the whole, ad infinitum. The rest of the day was given over to 24 presentations
on mathematics and computer
science by students of 16 institutions. Moravian students introduced the
speakers and helped with the 1,001 chores that keep a conference
running smoothly.
And, as Mike said, a chaotic time was enjoyed
by all.
Every so often, we Internetters notice that
our favorite search engine has decorated its logo to observe
a special
day. February 3 was such a day.
There was the logo (above),
all ornamented, with a mathematical formula just visible
in the background. Was it for a holiday?
If so, what?
So we asked the Math Department what was
going on. Gordon Williams, assistant professor, answered: “It
is Gaston Julia’s birthday, for whom a famous fractal
is named.” He
added: “This is very cool.”
Julia (1893-1978)
was famous by the age of 25 for one of his formulae.
He was horribly disfigured in World
War I
and wore a mask for the rest of his life to guard his
exposed breathing passages from infection.
However,
the first illuminated character, the one on the G that
looks like a Siamese temple dancer’s headdress,
is not a Julia but a Mandelbrot, says assistant professor
Michael Fraboni; and the last, the one like a scorpion,
is a piece of a Mandelbrot. The middle one may or may
not be
a Julia; at this depth it looks like one.
Benoît
Mandelbrot (b. 1924) teaches at Yale. Mike, who has
worked with him, plans to use a Mandelbrot-based
curriculum for a teachers’ workshop he will
conduct this summer. Mandelbrot will be served. (That’s
a joke.)
Logo used with permission of Google. |