Missouri State University
Mathematics Blog

REU opens doors

On June 12, 12 undergraduate students from Cornell University, Evangel University, Hastings College, Hofstra University, Missouri State University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Tuskegee University, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Merced, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, University of Rochester and University of West Florida joined us on campus for the Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Mathematics.Rebaza and students

This is an eight-week adventure, including cutting-edge math research and weekend social events.

Historically, participation in an REU program such as this one has dramatically improved a student’s attractiveness to and readiness for graduate schools.

Drs. Jorge Rebaza, Les Reid, Steven Senger and Xingping Sun are hosting the event.

Read more about sample research projects for summer 2017 REU.

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Using theoretical math to prove the physical world

Congratulations to Dr. Shouchan Hu, professor of mathematics, on his research with differential equations, dynamical systems and nonlinear analysis. His work is featured on the Mind’s Eye blog and will be featured in the 2017 issue.

Using his theoretical question driven field, he helped launch the international journal Discrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems and has served as the editor-in-chief ever since.

Read more about Hu’s research and roles at Missouri State University and beyond.

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Students attend national mathematics conference

Cheek HallTwo mathematics students, undergraduate Hayley Hutson and graduate Kelsie Stewart, attended the 19th Annual Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics (NCUWM) Feb. 3-5 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“I presented my research from my summer REU, or Research Experience for Undergraduates,” said Hutson. “At this REU, I worked with my partner, Savannah Bates of Jacksonville University, and mentor, Dr. Jorge Rebaza of Missouri State University, to study global stability and bifurcations of a model of Zika virus.”

The largest portion of the conference was undergraduate presentations and posters. The conference also had lectures, panels and breakout sessions that covered a wide variety of topics including how to apply to graduate schools, exploring careers outside of academia and dealing with life and sexism surrounding a career in mathematics.

“Conferences like this one give undergraduates a great opportunity to present their research to an interested and non-judgmental audience,” said Hutson. “Also, since this conference was for undergraduate women in mathematics in particular, it was an amazing opportunity to meet and network with some truly inspirational women in a field I’m passionate about.”

Hutson is grateful to the mathematics department at Missouri State for hosting her REU and for providing funding for herself and Stewart to attend NCUWM.

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Mathematics Education at Missouri State recognized at MCTM Conference

At the annual meeting of the MCTM (Missouri Council for Teachers of Mathematics) on December 3, 2016, mathematics education at Missouri State was recognized with three awards. Dr Patrick Sullivan was given the Higher Education Professor of the Year award, our student, Camry Cowan who is currently student teaching at Willard, was awarded Pre-service Teacher of the Year, and Maida Russell, Reed Academy, was awarded Middle School Teacher of the Year. Congratulations!!

mathed

 

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Crowdfunding: Help the Mathematics Department Promote Student Success

The Department of Mathematics at MSU has kicked off a crowd funding campaign to do a complete make over of the Mathematics Student Study Lounge in Cheek Hall. Our goal is to double its size and make a comfortable space for students to study, share ideas, and work with faculty. The crowd funding site is at:

http://gvcmp.us/vzip2i

 

Five Ways to Show Your Support for the Mathematics Student Study Lounge campaign a success by doing any/all of the below!

 

Make a gift

Big or small, every gift counts. Demonstrate to your friends and classmates that you lead by example and make a gift yourself.

How: Go to http://gvcmp.us/kspafv – don’t forget to sign up when you do!

Share the campaign

Spread the word and show your support!

How: At the top of every campaign page are buttons to share via email, Facebook, and Twitter.

Become an advocate

With just a few clicks, create a GiveCampus account and gain the ability to track your impact. See how many clicks, gifts, and dollars your outreach generates!

How: Go to the very top right of the campaign page to sign up.

Create a matching gift or challenge

Put your money where your mouth is and encourage your network to join you in making a gift. You can match gifts dollar for dollar up to a fixed amount and even structure your challenge to be based on donor participation.

How: Look right below the video on the left side of the campaign page.

Upload a personal plea

Create a short video in which you explain why you’re supporting this campaign and why others should do the same and upload directly to GiveCampus. ‘Selfie’s’ work great!

How: Go to the advocates tab just below the donate now button.

 

Have questions?

Reach out to Dr. William Bray, Department Head, at  WBray@MissouriState.edu

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MSU Mathematics Lecture Series: Talk by Professor Dean Carlson (AMS)

As part of the MSU Mathematics Lecture Series, Professor Dean Carlson, from the American Mathematical Society, will be presenting : “Minimizers for Nonconvex Variational Problems in the Plane via Convex/Concave Rearrangements”. This presentation is scheduled for Wednesday November 2nd at 3:30PM in Cheek 301. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Abstract:

Recently, A. Greco utilized convex rearrangements to present some new and interesting existence results for noncoercive functionals in the calculus of variations. Moreover, the integrands were not necessarily convex. In particular, using convex rearrangements permitted him to establish the existence of convex minimizers essentially considering the uniform convergence of the minimizing sequence of trajectories and the pointwise convergence of their derivatives. The desired lower semicontinuity property is now a consequence of Fatou’s lemma. In this presentation, we point out that such an approach was considered in the late 1930’s in a series of papers by E. J. McShane for problems satisfying the usual coercivity condition. Our goal is to survey some of McShane‘s results and compare them with Greco’s work. In addition, we will update some hypotheses that McShane made by making use of a result due to T. S. Angell on the avoidance of the Lavrentiev phenomenon.

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MSU Mathematics Lecture Series: Professor Peter Plavchan gives a talk on Astrostatistics

Dr. Peter Plavchan, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Material Science (MSU) will be giving a talk on “Astrostatistics: The Intersection of Astronomy and Mathematics” on Monday September 26th, in Cheek 175. This is a seminar organized by the Department of Mathematics and KME, Mathematics Honor Society, and it is open to everyone interested in this topic. Pizza and soda will be served!

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Math problem solving group creates bonds between faculty, students

Friendships can form in the most unlikely places. For members of the problem solving group, that place happens to be the Schwartz Mathematics Library in Cheek Hall. For the past nine years, the problem solving group has worked together to solve problems from a variety of mathematical journals. Some members are professors and others are current students, but they all greet each other as friends.

Math = creativity

Dr. Les Reid, professor of mathematics, says the group exists to expand students’ exposure beyond the traditional problems that they regularly encounter in textbooks and the classroom.

“We want them to realize that there actually is a creativity to math,” says Reid. “Sometimes students feel like they should know how to proceed with a problem at the very beginning, but we want them to realize that’s not always the case.”

Math problem shared on whiteboard

Faculty as mentors

Kelsie Stewart, a senior majoring in applied mathematics, says the relationships students are able to cultivate with faculty are her favorite part of participating in the group.

“Interacting with faculty outside of the normal classroom setting is really cool,” said Stewart. “You get to learn more about their personalities and it actually makes it easier to go to them for help — you have more of a personal relationship with them, so it’s less intimidating.”

Dr. Reid works with students

Chris Arnold, a mathematics graduate student, says that the encouragement he receives from the faculty is the main reason why he still participates in the group today.

“The first time I ever went, I talked to Dr. Richard Belshoff and I told him that I just didn’t feel very effective when it came to the problems they were trying to solve,” said Arnold. “I followed along, but most of it was above my head.”

Belshoff, professor of mathematics at Missouri State, assured Arnold that the problems they deal with can even stump faculty, too, so he shouldn’t be discouraged. This support encouraged Arnold to keep coming back.

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Mathematics faculty receive National Science Foundation grant

Drs. Les Reid, Steven Senger, Xingping Sun and Jorge Rebaza, all mathematics faculty members at Missouri State University, were recently awarded a grant for more than $290,000 from the National Science Foundation for their Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. The grant, which will fund the program for the next three years, will provide meal […]

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MSU Mathematics Lecture Series: Talk by U. of Delaware Professor

As part of the MSU Mathematics Lecture Series, Professor Jacob Rezac, from the University of Delaware will be presenting : “Inverse Wave Scattering Problems and Transmission Eigenvalues”. This presentation is scheduled for Wednesday April 13th at 3PM in Cheek 301. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Abstract:

In an inverse scattering problem, we attempt to reconstruct information about unknown objects based on how waves (e.g., acoustic or electromagnetic) scatter off of them. One approach to solving this problem, the linear sampling method, has proven to be a fast and reliable technique for reconstructing an obstacle’s shape and location. The success of the linear sampling method depends on the behavior of solutions to a non-self-adjoint eigenvalue problem called the transmission eigenvalue problem. In this talk, we discuss this relationship and give new results on the existence and behavior of solutions to the transmission eigenvalue problem. These results make use of the theory of complex analysis and the theory of elliptic partial differential equations.

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