Pi Mu Epsilon Conference is April 12-13 at SJU

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April 9, 2013

Annalisa Crannell 

The 34th annual Pi Mu Epsilon Conference will be held Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, at Peter Engel Science Center, Saint John's University.

Pi Mu Epsilon is a national mathematics honor society that promotes scholarly activity in mathematics among academic institutions and recognizes students' mathematical achievements.

Approximately 140 students and faculty from surrounding liberal arts colleges and state universities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota are expected to attend the conference, which is free and open to the public.

A total of 30 students - a conference high - will present their undergraduate research from 6:30-8 p.m. April 12, and from 9 a.m. to noon April 13 at classrooms throughout the building. Those presenting include six students from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, which is also the largest group to represent CSB and SJU at the conference:

  • Marie Meyer (CSB senior, mathematics and music majors, Clive, Iowa), "Nim on Groups;"
  • Margaret Peterson (CSB senior, mathematics major, Grant, Minn.), "Visualizing Chaos;"
  • Whitney Radil (CSB senior, mathematics major, Alexandria, Minn.), "The Growth in Normal Subgroups Under Direct Products;"
  • Chris Roering (SJU senior, mathematics and computer science majors, Loretto, Minn.), "Coding Theory-Based Cryptography: McEliece Cyptosystems in Sage;"
  • Jessica Solfest (CSB senior, mathematics major, Apple Valley, Minn.), "With One Breath (On Oscillatory Dynamics and Synchronization of Cardiovascular and Respiratory Activity);"
  • Katelin Weiers (CSB senior, accounting and mathematics majors, New Prague, Minn.), "Applying Probability Theory to Alphabetical Ordering."

Both Meyer and Radil are presenting research for the second consecutive year at the conference.

Annalisa Crannell, professor of mathematics at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pa., is the conference's featured speaker. She'll give two presentations at the conference.

Crannell speaks on "Math and Art: The Good, the Bad and the Party" at 8 p.m. April 12 at Pellegrene Auditorium, SJU. She will explore the mathematics behind perspective paintings and ask, "How do you fit a three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional canvas?"

Her second speech, "In the Shadow of Desargues," is from noon to 1 p.m. April 13 at Pellegrene Auditorium. Crannell's speech looks directly at projective geometry as a tool to illuminate the workings of perspective artists.

Crannell received the 2008 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award from the Mathematical Association of America - the organization's most prestigious teaching award. Her primary research has been in topological dynamical systems (also known as "Chaos Theory"), but is also becoming active in developing materials on projective geometry applied to perspective art. Crannell has also worked extensively with students and other teachers on writing in mathematics, and with recent doctorates on employment in mathematics.