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Math Happenings

Upcoming Math Talks & Joint Math Colloquium Series

F&M and our colleagues down the road in Millersville University jointly present a quasi-weekly mathematics colloquium talk series on Thursday afternoons during the academic year. All are welcome! Talks vary in their intended audiences: Some are moderately specialized and technical, while others are very student-friendly.

Two upcoming sessions will be of broad interest to the F&M community, as well as the public:

Thursday, Oct. 16, 4-5 PM in Stahr Auditorium (Stager Hall)

"The Mathematics of Obesity," by Dr. Diana Thomas, Director, Center for Quantitative Obesity Research, Montclair State University (Montclair, NJ)                                                                                                                             

Dr. Diana Thomas’ research interests include developing, validating, and applying mathematical models to obesity related issues. Dr. Thomas has developed body composition models for use within energy balance equations that predict changes in weight in response to altered diet, increased exercise energy expenditure, and pregnancy.  Dr. Thomas has also developed mathematical algorithms to objectively quantify food intake during weight loss. Dr. Thomas works closely with an interdisciplinary team of researchers in medicine, physiology, nutrition, and computer science to translate mathematical models of human body weight regulation into applications that improve health.

Thursday, Oct. 23, 4-5 PM in Boncheck Lecture Hall (LSP142)

"The Geometry of Origami:  How the Ancient Japanese Art Triumphed over Euclid" by Dr. Tara Holm, Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)

Dr. Holm earned her B.A. from Dartmouth College and her Ph.D. from MIT.  She is a graduate of Lancaster Country Day School.

Putnam Exam

The Putnam Exam is a prestigious, difficult competitive mathematics exam administered annually on the first Saturday in December to students at colleges and universities across the US and Canada. Franklin & Marshall has made good showings in recent years, and we hope to continue the tradition this year.

Interested students should contact Academic Department Coordinator Cynthia Dinger at for more information.


Students Honored for Math Excellence

Manil Bastola '14 and Shangqin Chen ’14 were designated as the Ronald K. Stuart Mathematics Prize recipients for 2014 at the recent Math Department Recognition Ceremony.  The Stuart prize is the highest honor the department bestows and is “awarded to the student who has completed major work in the field of mathematics with greatest distinction.”  

The prize is awarded every year to the senior or seniors who accomplish the best mathematical work of all students in the graduating class.  The prize is endowed by funds donated to the department, and includes an honorary stipend.

Thirteen students were designated as 2014 John Kershner Scholars.     This honor is awarded to students of good and regular standing in the College for "proficiency in mathematics," and includes an honorary stipend.

Mathematics Chair Prof. Robert Gethner awarded the honor to:                         Manil Bastola ’14, Arya Bhattarai ’15, Shangqin Chen ’14, Zheng Jin ’15, Donghui Li ’14, Elana Machlis ’15, Eric Nehrbas ’15, Derek Pawlush ’15,       Emily Rayfield ’15, Matthew Salinger ’15, Aidan Smith ’15, Yuxun Sun ’14 and Zhizhou Xia ‘15. Chen and Li are second-time recipients.

The Kershner Scholarships were established in 1937 through the bequest of Dr. Jefferson E. Kershner, who was head of the College’s Department of Mathematics and Director of the Scholl Observatory for many years.  Kershner was an 1877 graduate of F&M.


Math Honorary Society Inducts New Members

Franklin & Marshall College's Eta Chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon welcomed 22 new members at the annual induction ceremony.  The Pennsylvania Eta chapter was chartered at F&M in 1963. Pi Mu Epsilon is a nationally-recognized honorary society dedicated to furthering knowledge of mathematics. 

Chapter Advisor Prof. Annalisa Crannell and President Arielle Leider '14 presented membership certificates to:  Bryan Andrews ’15, Thu  Diem ’16, Yitong Huang ’16, Tianbai Jia ’16, Thao Le ‘15, Elana Machlis ’15, Eric Nehrbas ‘15, Eric Nturibi ’15, Gregory Olenginski ’15, Lukasz Olenginski ’15, Christian Parsons ’16, Derek Pawlush ’15, Yucheng Peng ’16, Pengyu Qin ’16, Eliana Rabinowitz ’14, Emily Rayfield ’15, Amer Suljendic ’15, Viet Anh Tong ’16, Imali Wanigasundara ’14, Zhizhou Xia ’15, Chenyao Zhang ’15 and Zhang Ka Chun Zhang Guo Xiong ’16.    Machlis was elected as chapter president for 2015.

The organization has a rich history of promoting scholarly activity in mathematics among students in academic institutions. For example, there is a journal of student mathematical research, and there are opportunities to receive funds to attend national mathematical meetings.

Tetrahedral Geometry-Topology Seminar

Topologists, geometers, and other interested colleagues from F&M, Millersville University, Elizabethtown College, and Lebanon Valley College (the four vertices of our "tetrahedron") also co-sponsor a monthly geometry and topology research seminar series. We generally meet on the first Friday of each month at Hempfield High School (the approximate barycenter of our tetrahedron), in a math classroom festooned with inspirational Garfield posters. We then relax with a nice dinner out.

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  • F&M Math Professor Christina Weaver spoke to a rapt audience of 100 people from the Pennsylvania area, including half-a-dozen F&M math majors at the "Careers in Mathematics" conference, sponsored by EPaDel-MAA (Mathematics Association of America) at Drexel University.

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  • Brian Habeker, F&M class of 2002, describes his career with the U.S. Department of Defense, while Don McElheny (far right), F&M class of 2007 and small business owner, looks on at the EPaDel-MAA "Careers in Mathematics" conference.

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  • Several F&M math students traveled to the Moravian  College Student Math Conference with Prof. Annalisa Crannell.  Left to right:  Adil Tyeb, Dimitrios Taras, Stefan Busheski, Prof. Crannell, Cristina Diez, Jessica Lynn Tynes, Ruihan Wang, and Samuel Thomas Crozier.

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  • Seniors Jacqueline Sager and Katie Sneeringer enjoy the festivities at the department's annual Senior Dinner in April, honoring graduating math and computer science majors and minors.