Colby Math/Stats Colloquium
Spring 2010
Talks (unless otherwise indicated) are in Mudd 405 from 4 - 5 PM on Mondays.
Refreshments begin at 3:30.
Feb. 8 TBA

Feb. 15 TBA

Feb. 22 No Colloquium this week.

March 1 Adriana Salerno
Bates College
Arithmetic Geometry: From Circles to Circular Counting

In this talk, I will show you a glimpse of one of the most exciting and accessible facets of research in modern number theory: arithmetic geometry. We will start with a (gentle) introduction to this area of research through some familiar examples. Then we will move on to a not so familiar example where we count solutions of equations mod p. I will end by answering two of the oldest and most mystifying questions in mathematics: how does this work fit into the bigger picture, and who cares?
March 8 Jonathan Webster
Bates College
Cryptography, Finite Groups, and the Discrete Log Problem

Modern day cryptosystems typically rely on the computational difficulty of one of two problems: integer factorization (RSA) or the discrete log problem (ECC). It is usually easy to convince people of the computational difficulty of integer factorization; therefore, we will focus on the discrete log problem. In order to understand this problem, we will examine the ln(x) function and its discrete analogue, define what a group is, and give many examples.
March 15
Arey 5
Ben Mathes
Colby College
Those Wacky Bell Numbers

E.T. Bell is probably most famous for his controversial book "Men of Mathematics". I will talk about a sequence of numbers that are named in honor of Bell's mathematical work in combinatorics, and the eerie connections this sequence has with linear algebra and calculus.
March 29 Available

April 5 Available

April 12 Mariah Hamel
University of Georgia
Ramsey Theory and Arithmetic Combinatorics

Arithmetic combinatorics can be described as the study of structural properties of sets of integers, or more generally, additive groups. While this area has long been of interest to mathematicians, over the past few years there has been an abundance of collaboration between those who study number theory, analysis and combinatorics. A striking, beautiful and recent example is the proof of Green and Tao that the primes contain arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions. One of the earliest results is a theorem due to Schur that states that if the integers are colored with r colors, then there must be integers x, y and z, monochromatic, such that x+y=z. In this talk we will prove Schur's theorem and discuss related results from additive combinatorics.
April 19 Thom Pietraho
Bowdoin College
On Gambling with Mathematicians (and other things you should never do)

We will analyze three games of chance via simulation and theory, incidentally proving that neither your intuition nor your math professor are to be trusted.
April 26 Available

April 28 Aichatou Fall
Colby College

May 3 Ashley Blum
Colby College
Exploring Animal Movement with Discrete and Continuous Mathematical Tools

The reintroduction of the Gray Wolf in the Northern Rocky region in 1995 was extremely controversial, particularly because farmers were concerned wolves would wander to different livestock grazing areas and kill cattle. Wouldn't it be great to be able to predict where the wolves are at any given time to prevent such depredations? It turns out, that this is not possible, but mathematicians could come very close. This talk will discuss two manners in which wolf movement could be modeled, and how these methods could be implemented to learn even more.
May 6
Emily Hanley
Colby College
Recreational Mathematics

If you would like to talk, please email Otto Bretscher or Scott Taylor.
If you are so inclined, you may peruse previous semesters' schedules