11th Emmy Noether High School Mathematics Day
Texas Tech University, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

May 15th, 2013

Workshops for Students


Mathematical clocks, [MATH 111].
Dr. Roger W. Barnard
Abstract: We will discuss the history and current use of mathematical clocks and then have the students create their own mathematical clocks in small groups.

Time scales fly when you're having fun, [MATH 110].
Dr. Raegan Higgins
Abstract: This will be a hands-on down-to-earth introduction to difference equations and time scales. We will introduce a variety of basic sequences and see how to establish recursive relationships. In some instances, we will see how to use these recursive relationships to establish explicit formulas.

Telling Ham from Spam, [MATH 113].
Dr. Victoria Howle and Dr. Lourdes Juan
Abstract: Everybody knows that spam is unsolicited bulk email. Email that is not spam is referred to, among the antispam software developers, as ham. At the workshop we will introduce the students to basic spam filtering through machine learning tools.

Mathematical Modeling of Biological Populations, [MATH 108].
Dr. Sophia Jang
Abstract: Mathematics provides important and useful tools for studying biological problems. We will review some classical population models of predator-prey interactions and of exploit competition. We will use computer simulations to explore the cyclic behavior of a predator-prey relation, a kind of fox-rabbit phenomenon. We will then investigate competition outcomes between two competing populations to see how vital parameters determine selection.

Modern Windtalkers: On Codes, Coding, and Decoding, [MATH 114].
Dr. Mara D. Neusel
From Wikipedia:
"Code talkers were people who used obscure languages as a means of secret communication during wartime. The term is now usually associated with the United States soldiers during the world wars who used their knowledge of Native-American languages as a basis to transmit coded messages. In particular there were approximately 400-500 Native Americans in the United States Marine Corps whose primary job was the transmission of secret tactical messages. Code talkers transmitted these messages over military telephone or radio communications nets using formal or informally developed codes built upon their native languages. Their service improved communications in terms of speed of encryption at both ends in front line operations during World War II."
This workshop is on coding theory: How do we encode a message? How do we decode messages? What is a "good" code? Why are the codes used during the world wars no longer acceptable? How do the modern codes work? -- And we will have a lot of fun!

Let's have fun with paper plates, [MATH 109].
Dr. Lih-Ing Roeger and Dr. Giorgio Bornia
Abstract: Paper plates are not for picnic only. You can have fun with them too. I will show you how to form a pyramid using only one paper plate. Spheres can be made using four paper plates and a few hair clips or scotch tapes. Students who attend this workshop will also put together a fancy sphere formed by 20 paper plates. No advanced math skills are needed in this workshop. You just need to have an open mind and great imagination. Come and have fun.

Real Uses of Imaginary Numbers, [MATH 112].
Dr. Brock Williams
Abstract: We will see why imaginary numbers are really important and what they can be used for. In particular, we'll explore the connections between complex numbers and geometry and solve real-world problems in brain mapping and image recognition.

Workshops for Teachers


10:00-10:50 AM: Where are all the irrationals, and who cares?, [MATH 115].
Dr. Gary Harris
Abstract: We will discuss the existence and preponderance of irrational numbers. We might even consider the question: Who cares?

11:00-11:50 AM: Is there a perfect exam question?, [MATH 115].
Dr. Jerry Dwyer
Abstract: This talk explores issues of assessment in mathematics. Is it possible to design an exam question that tests deep conceptual knowledge of a topic? Are exams the best way of testing students' content knowledge? Is there any merit in multiple choice tests? Should teachers be graded on their students' test scores?

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