• Common Hour speaker Dr. Thomas Hull points out the fine details and complex folding pattern of an origami insect. Common Hour speaker Dr. Thomas Hull points out the fine details and complex folding pattern of an origami insect. Image Credit: College Communications

Math & Origami Center Stage at Common Hour 

The Math Club, together with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Art & Art History Department and the Office of the Dean of the College sponsored a recent visit of expert in the field of math and origami, Dr. Thomas Hull, to an F&M Common Hour talk that was open to the entire campus community and the public. Math Club President Chengcheng Zhai ’18 and the Math Department's Prof. Annalisa Crannell proposed the talk.

Zhai described details of the speaker’s background during her introduction of Dr. Hull at Common Hour. “Prof. Hull teaches mathematics at Western New England University, but has given talks all over the United States and in Japan. He was featured in the 2009 documentary 'Between the Folds',” she commented.  “He is the author of three books on origami, including Project Origami, which is a book on incorporating the mathematics of paper folding into college-level math classes. He has also published numerous research papers in mathematics and also in materials science.  One of his papers won the A. T. Yang Memorial Award in Theoretical Kinematics.”  

  • Math Club President Chengcheng Zhai '18 and Dr. Thomas Hull set up the stage for Common Hour, with several of Dr. Hull's origami models in the foreground. Math Club President Chengcheng Zhai '18 and Dr. Thomas Hull set up the stage for Common Hour, with several of Dr. Hull's origami models in the foreground.

“But he doesn’t just write and speak about origami,” Zhai added, “He’s a master practitioner.  He has exhibited his folded pieces at numerous art exhibitions, national and international, as well.   His origami model “Five Intersecting Tetrahedral” was named one of the “Top 10 Origami Models of All Time.”

In an interview with Origami USA, Dr. Hull said,

“Math is not just about algebra and equations; it is about understanding patterns. Those patterns could be in numbers or could be in geometry or they could be in nature or who knows . . . I find that in origami I'm trying to do the same thing. I'm trying to take interesting patterns and express them with paper.” 

In addition to the Common Hour talk during his visit, Dr. Hull spoke for the Joint Math Colloquium Series organized by F&M and Millersville University, and conducted a hands-on workshop at F&M’s Faculty Center. 

  • square love calculus

The Math Club launched into the fall semester with its kick-off program, “Keep Calm and LOVE Calculus: Studying Tips on Succeeding in Calculus I.”  A panel of math students who had already taken MAT 109 answered attendees questions and gave insight and advice.  Anyone wanting to view a video of the program can contact Math Club President ChenCheng Zhai at czhai@fandm.edu.

Below is a list of some suggestions that the experienced students offered to the audience:              
1. Make sure that you understand what's going on in class by getting tutoring, going to faculty office hours, and working together with other math students.  There are free math tutors available at the department’s regularly-scheduled weekly help sessions Sunday through Thursday.  The spring tutoring schedule for math is here.
2. Even if you got answers correct on homework, check if you got the question right by luck/chance, or if you actually know how to do them.
3. Write out the steps. Do not skip steps. Skipping steps can mean you do not know the underlying principles of the problem.
4. Ask questions in class whenever you don’t understand.
5. Keep up with the work. Do not let assignments pile up. If you don't understand, figure it out or get help as soon as possible.
6. Draw graphs to help you visualize the function.
7. If you get stuck  for 20 minutes, stop. Come back to the problem later.
8. Don't freak out. Start with simpler questions.
9. Trust yourself! You are not alone.                                                                                  10.Think, but do not overthink.

 

Math Students Compete in Global Competition

Two teams of students competed  in the 2018 COMAP's Mathematical Contest in Modeling, an international contest that has been taking place for more than 30 Years.  

Anton Arapin'19, Edith Flores'20 and Yinxi Li'19 composed the first team;  Ziqin Ni'18, Yuxin Tang'18 and Chengcheng Zhai '18, the second team.  Both teams tackled the competition's Problem C that dealt with energy production.  The problem's scenario is described as:  

Along the U.S. border with Mexico, there are four states __ California (CA), Arizona (AZ), New Mexico (NM) and Texas (TX) -- that wish to form a realistic new energy compact focused on increased usage of cleaner, renewable energy sources.  Your team has been asked by the four governors of these states to perform data analysis and mmodeling to inform their developement of a set of goals for their interstate energy compact.

Results of the competition will be determined later this spring.  Last year, an F&M team of three senior math majors was designated as an Honorable Mention, among more than 8,800 entries worldwide. 

COMAP, the Consortium of Mathematics and Its Applications, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve mathematics education for students of all ages.

 

  • attendees of Fall '17 EPaDel meeting

Students Experience Regional Math Meeting  

Eleven students and one professor attend the recent EPaDel section meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) at Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, enjoying a series of professional and student talks, and participating in knot theory workshops where they got to make their own knots and tangles.

  • Zihui Ni'20 spoke about Russell's Paradox at the recent EPaDel meeting of the MAA at Shippensburg University. Zihui Ni'20 spoke about Russell's Paradox at the recent EPaDel meeting of the MAA at Shippensburg University.

Yanlin Yang'18 spoke on "Undrawable Curves in the Real World;"  Zihui Ni'20 spoke about "Russel's Paradox," and Qing Ye'19 gave a talk on "The Geometry of Canaletto's French Ambassadors in Venice."

  • Qing Ye'19 presented a talk on "The Geometry of Canaletto's French Ambassadors in Venice." Qing Ye'19 presented a talk on "The Geometry of Canaletto's French Ambassadors in Venice."

Other F&M attendees included:   Prof. Annalisa Crannell,  Edith Flores'20, Zaigham Abbas'20, Nart Shalqini'21, Sara Juarez Mendoza'20, Fangzhao Wei'20, Mark Malayao'20, Gregory Bolet'20 and Uzziel Sanchez'20.  

 

Math Club Sponsors Movie Excursion to Local Cinema

  • F&M's Math Club sponsored a trip for students to see "Hidden Figures," the story of a team of African-American women mathematicians at NASA who served a vital role during the US space program's formative years. F&M's Math Club sponsored a trip for students to see "Hidden Figures," the story of a team of African-American women mathematicians at NASA who served a vital role during the US space program's formative years.

Talks, Seminars & Competitions Take Shape

  • Open Performance

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.  The  Spring  2018  schedule may be found here. 

  • photo

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.

 

  • Creative Writing

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 Prof. Henry Chan at ychan@fandm.edu (Office: STA 204)  or Prof. Ehssan Khanmohammadi at ekhanmoh@fandm.edu (Office: STA 226) for more information.

  • Jiayi (Nikki) Wang '17, Stuart Prize recipient, stands beside the award's memorial plaque stationed in the Math Common Room, STA211. Jiayi (Nikki) Wang '17, Stuart Prize recipient, stands beside the award's memorial plaque stationed in the Math Common Room, STA211.

Math Awards Honor Student Success

Jiayi Wang ’17 is the 2017 recipient of the Ronald K. Stuart Mathematics Prize.  The Stuart Prize is the highest honor the F&M Mathematics Department grants and is “awarded to the student who has completed major work in the field of mathematics with greatest distinction.”

The prize is awarded each 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.

Fifteen students are the recipients of the 2017 John Kershner Scholar designation.  This honor is awarded to students of good and regular standing in the College for “proficiency in mathematics,” and includes an honorary stipend.

Christoffer E. Alsen ’17, Adam C. Fox ’17, Lien P. Pham ’17, Shaina S. Reji ’17 and Jiayi Wang ’17 are second-time recipients.

First-time recipients include:  Tomass Brazovskis ’17, Katherine M. Kidder ’18, Yunhong Li ’19, Joshua A. McGinnis ’17, David C. Mix ’17, Hung P. Nguyen ’18, Nghia M. Phan ’17, Marko Savic ’18, Xingjian Wu ’18 and Xuan Zhang ’18.

 

Honorary Society Welcomes Inductees 

Franklin & Marshall College’s Pennsylvania Eta Chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) welcomed 23 new members at the annual induction ceremony.  Pi Mu Epsilon is a nationally-recognized honorary society dedicated to furthering knowledge of mathematics. 
  • Co-presidents Adam Fox '17, David Mix' 17 (left) and Shaina Reji' 17 (far right) welcome newly-elected Pi Mu Epsilon President Chengcheng Zhai '18 under the math honorary society's crest. Co-presidents Adam Fox '17, David Mix' 17 (left) and Shaina Reji' 17 (far right) welcome newly-elected Pi Mu Epsilon President Chengcheng Zhai '18 under the math honorary society's crest.
  • Guest speaker and F&M math major alum Dr. Ben Levy '08 gave a research talk to current and new 2017 members of Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) math honorary society describing, "Modeling Feral Hogs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Evaluate Control Efforts and Analyze the Population's Niche."  Dr. Levy is an assistant math professor at Fitchburg State University.  Also pictured is F&M PME Chapter Advisor and math Professor Annalisa Crannell. Guest speaker and F&M math major alum Dr. Ben Levy '08 gave a research talk to current and new 2017 members of Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) math honorary society describing, "Modeling Feral Hogs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Evaluate Control Efforts and Analyze the Population's Niche." Dr. Levy is an assistant math professor at Fitchburg State University. Also pictured is F&M PME Chapter Advisor and math Professor Annalisa Crannell.

The Pulse of Math at F&M

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