Events for Fall 2004:

 Date Speaker(s) Speech Title Abstract Sept. 29 Mihaela Kraseva "National Evaluation of the NEFE High School Financial Planning Program" NEFE stands for National Endowment for Financial Education. The NEFE High School Financial Planning Program seeks to teach students how to establish adequate personal financial goals. The Statistical Survey conducted by Iowa State University sought to evaluate teachers' satisfaction with the program and to compare students' financial knowledge and abilities before and after participating in the program. This presentation will address the following interesting questions: 1) How do we collect data? 2) What is selection bias? 3) How do we prevent and work with non-response? Oct. 5 Jen Leahy "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" Summer Program Info Oct. 13 Afua Amoah "Want to be an Engineer? You can be..." 1. What is Engineering?2. Why is engineering a combination of almost all academic disciplines?3. Some project demonstrations and the behind the scenes work.4. Questions on how to enroll in any of the dual degree engineering programs at MHC. Oct. 20 Naiomi Cameron "Counting on Determinants: A Combinatorial Approach to the Matrix-Tree Theorem" There are many counting problems for which the solution is the determinant of some matrix. Examples include counting nonintersecting path systems in a directed graph, counting standard Young tableaux of a certain shape and size, and counting permutations with specified descents. To see WHY these problems produce such fascinating answers is not obvious. In this talk, I will focus on the problem of counting spanning trees in a graph. A result known as the Matrix-Tree Theorem provides the amazing answer. I hope to convince you that the combinatorial argument which produces this result is the real beauty of the solution. Oct. 27 Prof. Moataz Emam "The Theory Formerly Known as String Theory: A Review for Mathematicians" String theory is an ambitious program advertising itself as a 'Theory of Everything'. It was put together by an ever-growing group of renegade theoretical physicists. String theorists find themselves straddling two worlds, since to most physicists they are mathematicians while to most mathematicians, they are physicists.We will introduce the basic structure of the theory, and review its latest developments, going through the so-called First and Second String Revolutions and, hopefully, explain why string theory seems to persist, and in fact grow, in the research arena despite its troubles. Nov. 3 Ha Le Nov. 11 Art Bengamin Dec. 1 James Propp