Undergraduate Colloquium Fall 2009

Wednesday at 5:00pm in Baskin 301A
There will be refreshments served at 4:45pm
For further information, please contact Professor Frank Bauerle, bauerle@ucsc.edu.

October 7, 2009

Games Night - Richochet Robots

Dr. Frank Bauerle 

This week we will be introducing and playing Ricochet Robots. The premise is as follows: robots of different colors are scattered about a game board. Robots move laterally until they hit an obstacle (a wall or another robot). The goal is to find the shortest number of moves to move a particular robot to a particular space on the board. This game is one of those with simple rules but with interesting and often quite surprising solutions. One reason why this game is so much fun is that everybody plays simultaneously (i.e. no turns) and that you can play alone or really any number of players (as long as the players can see the board).

October 21, 2009

Cal Teach and the Math Major -- with Pizza!

Gretchen Andreasen, Cal Teach Director and Andrea Gilovich, Mathematics Department Undergraduate Program Advisor 

Do you have an interest in teaching as a career? If so, come find out how the Cal Teach program can help you explore teaching as a career, while at the same time satisfying some of your degree requirements. Cal Teach offers internships, advising, professional development, and teaching resources for math, science, and engineering majors who are interested in teaching at the middle or high school levels. All aspects of the program will be discussed, as well as how the Cal Teach internships can satisfy math degree requirements or education minor requirements (including the new STEM education minor). Fellow math majors currently participating with the Cal Teach program will also be present to answer your questions. We'll have pizza for students who attend.

October 28, 2009

Games Night: Hex

Dr. Frank Bauerle 

Hex is typically played on a 11x11 rhombus-shaped board made up of hexagons. Hex is an abstract strategy game independently invented by Piet Hein (1942) and Steve Nash (1947) that belongs to the general category of 'connection' games. Each player has an allocated color and players take turns placing a stone of their color on a single cell within the overall playing board. The goal is to form a connected path of your stones linking the opposing sides of the board marked by your colors, before your opponent connects his or her sides in a similar fashion. The first player to complete his or her connection wins the game. The four corner hexagons each belong to two sides. We will also discuss some of the interesting underlying logic such as that there are no ties in this game and that consequently there exists a winning strategy for the first player (even though the game is so complex that nobody and no computer program actually knows the winning strategy) . For more information on this deep and rich game see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hex_(board_game)

November 3, 2009

Applying to Graduate School in Mathematics

Jen Mogel, Lecturer in Mathematics, UCSC and SJSU 

Applying to graduate school in Mathematics, even going to graduate school, seems like an overwhelming task. For the application, there are essays, letters of recommendation, transcripts, the GRE and more! When you get in, what is in store for you? With everything else you have to do right now, it's scary and maybe, at times, doesn't seem worth it. Well, let us present you with a compelling different opinion! Let us present you with someone who applied, went through a graduate program, and succeeded! This weeks Undergraduate Colloquium is designed to help you get the ball rolling. Jen Mogel, a recent Ph.D. graduate in Mathematics from UCSC, will be outlining the graduate application process from the ground up. She will be covering topics that range from: tips on what to include in your personal essay, to important deadlines you will need to meet. She will also provide insight into the life of a successful graduate student and what demands she faced in her program. This will be a rare opportunity to solicit some great insider advice! Come one, come all and see what wonders may be in store or you!

November 11, 2009

No Colloquium - Veteren's Day Observed

November 18, 2009

Is physical intuition relevant in mathematics?

Professor Dave Dorfan, Emeritus, UCSC Physics Department 

Professor Dorfan will be discussing the use of physical intuition to solve mathematics problems rigorously He will also reference and review the article, "On Teaching Mathematics" by V.I. Arnold, the Great Russian Mathematician.

December 2, 2009    The next (and last) colloquium for the quarter!

Games Night: "Set"

Dr. Frank Bauerle 

Set is a card game with 81 cards. Each card has a variation of the following four features: Color, Symbol, Number, and Shading. The object of the game is to identify a SET of 3 cards from 12 or more cards laid out on the table faster than everybody else. We will play the game but also discuss the underlying mathematics. For instance, one can describe having a SET using modular (or clock) arithmetic or also geometrically.