Mind your one’s and two’s buster

In an effort to reach out to freshman and sophomore math students, a series of “Students Only” mathematics seminars are being held every Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m. in the Science Complex.

The weekly, student-based seminars were created by Brendan Kelly and Vincent Martinez, junior mathematics majors, with the help of Jean-Michelet Jean-Michel, associate professor of mathematics.

“We came up with it over the summer with Jean-Michel,” Martinez said. “We thought it would be a good way to help the math department cultivate the community. It gives freshmen a taste of what to expect in the major.”

According to Kelly, the seminars not only help underclassmen, but also provide a chance for upperclassmen to lecture and share their knowledge.

“I tell all presenters to make it accessible to people who just took Calculus A,” Kelly said.

Natalie Hine, senior maththematics and Spanish major, presented “Non-Unique Factorization of Numerical Monoids.”

Hine once worked for a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer program. For eight weeks she lived at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where she was employed to research monoids, which are algebraic systems closed under binary operations.

“I’m not going to say it’s easy, but it’s definitely worth it,” Hine said of her work in the REU program. “The good moments make it worth it.”

The REU programs are designed to get undergraduates involved in the national mathematics community doing research alongside professors, Hine said.

Students attending Hine’s seminar were encouraged to participate by solving problems and asking questions.

Hine used basic math and examples to give an overview of monoids and explained each step of the problems.

Though the seminar ended early, most students stayed behind to ask more questions and to discuss the next week’s seminar.

“This is a way to show what options are out there in math and to give seniors a chance to share their information and experiences,” Hine said.

“It’s definitely good to see . what mathematicians are doing outside of the classroom,” Valerie Schneck, senior chemistry major, said.

The seminars are currently being advertised through facbook.com, fliers and word-of-mouth. Martinez and Kelly both encouraged students who want to present a seminar to get in contact with them.

“We’re still looking for speakers for the rest of the semester. We want to give anyone who wants to speak a chance,” Kelly said.

The next five seminars are already planned, with topics ranging from chaos theory to economic mathematics to thermodynamics.

The seminars are recorded and refreshments are provided. Students who are not math majors but are interested in mathematics are encouraged to attend.

“We definitely plan to keep it informal,” Martinez said. “We don’t want it to be like a class or lecture.”