Cookie seminar

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General Information: Cookie seminar will take place on Mondays at 3:30 in the 9th floor lounge area. Talks should be of interest to the general math community, and generally will not run longer then 20 minutes. Everyone is welcome to talk, please just sign up on this page. Alternatively I will also sign interested people up at the seminar itself. As one would expect from the title there will generally be cookies provided, although the snack may vary from week to week. To sign up to bring snacks one week please visit the Cookie Sign-up


To sign up please provide your name and a title. Abstracts are welcome but optional.

Seminar talks:

January 30

Speaker George Craciun
Title Persistence in biological networks
Abstract I will describe some open problems in mathematical biology, having to do with existence of invariant regions for nonlinear dynamical systems. There is NSF grant funding (RA support) to work on some of these problems.

February 6

Speaker Leland Jefferis
Title Intuitive computational methods

February 13

Speaker Diane Holcomb
Title A brief (and highly non-rigorous) introduction to Brownian Motion.

February 20

Speaker Uri Andrews
Title Hercules and the Hydra
Abstract We will talk about important techniques of self-defense against an invading Hydra. The following, from Pausanias (Description of Greece, 2.37.4) describes the beginning of the battle of Hercules against the Lernaean hydra:

As a second labour he ordered him to kill the Lernaean hydra. That creature, bred in the swamp of Lerna, used to go forth into the plain and ravage both the cattle and the country. Now the hydra had a huge body, with nine heads, eight mortal, but the middle one immortal. . . . By pelting it with fiery shafts he forced it to come out, and in the act of doing so he seized and held it fast. But the hydra wound itself about one of his feet and clung to him. Nor could he effect anything by smashing its heads with his club, for as fast as one head was smashed there grew up two.


February 27

Speaker Beth Skubak
Title Polynomials, Ellipses, and Matrices: Three questions, one answer.
Abstract Given two points a,b in the unit disk, when is there a cubic polynomial with roots on the circle with a,b as critical points?

I'll describe the connection between this question and two others, and give the one concise answer for all three. The result, and the proof, extend very naturally to any finite number of points.


March 5

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March 12

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March 19

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