Math Lecture Series

The Mathematics Lecture Series offers broad exposure to interesting investigations in and applications of mathematics. Geared toward an undergraduate audience and given by faculty, student presenters, or outside speakers, the talks inspire students to experience the breadth and beauty of mathematics beyond the classroom.

Jeff Sommars, UIC – University of Illinois Chicago

Date: September 3, 2015
Location & Time: SCI 184, 4:30-5:30pm
Title: Tropical Mathematics

Abstract: Tropical algebraic geometry is a new area of mathematics with unexpected axioms that yields useful results to many areas of mathematics. Tropical geometry relates combinatorics with classical algebraic geometry in ways that lend itself to discrete computation and computer simulation. I will explain the core definitions and show how math can be tropical.


Stephen Lovett, Wheaton College

Date: September 10, 2015
Location & Time: SCI 184, 4:30-5:30pm
Title: When Does the Curvature Function Define a Closed Curve?

Abstract: The Fundamental Theorem of Plane Curves affirms that the curvature function (in terms of arc length) of a curve completely defines the curve up to position and orientation in the plane.  However, it is not easy to deduce properties of a curve from properties of this curvature function.  After giving an intuitive introduction to the curvature function and show how to use computer algebra software to reconstruct the curve from its curvature, we propose to give a sufficient condition on the curvature function to create a closed curve.  This will allow us to create a number of beautiful closed curves. 


Pete Meyer, Google

Date: September 17, 2015
Location & Time: SCI 184, 4:00-5:00pm
Title: Measuring Ground Truth: Using Human Evaluation To Assess Ad Quality

Abstract:  Google has historically relied on human evaluation to monitor ads quality, provide labelled data for training models of ads quality and generate outcome measures for comparing experiments that modify the ads system. I will discuss some of the practical and statistical challenges faced as we developed systems to perform those tasks. These will highlight the role of industrial analyst as both generalist and specialist in applying statistical theory, methods and tools.


Nathan Bliss, UIC

Date: September 24, 2015
Location & Time: SCI 184, 4:30-5:30pm
Title: Computers, Polynomials, Shapes: A Whiff of Computational Algebraic Geometry

Abstract:  Algebraic geometry is one of the most important and exciting fields of math today. Computers allow us to both calculate and visualize many of its objects of study. In this talk we examine some of the basic building blocks of the field, as well as how computers can be used to investigate examples and solve problems. One can expect pretty pictures and perhaps even the occasional nerdy math joke.


Fall ACCA Mathematics Lecture

ACCA = Association of Colleges in the Chicago Area

Date: October 1, 2015
Location: Benedictine University
Guest Speaker: Bruce Reznick, UIUC – University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

5-6pm: Lecture – Title TBA
6-7pm: Pizza party
7-8pm: Lecture – Title TBA


Jeremy Kun, UIC

Date: October 8, 2015
Location & Time: SCI 184, 4:30-5:30pm
Title: Eigenfaces: using linear algebra to recognize faces.

Abstract:  In this talk we'll see how to use linear algebra to detect and recognize faces in images. There will be pictures, animations, math, and algorithms. For those who don't know linear algebra well, this talk will motivate you to master it.


Nathan Bliss, UIC

Date: October 15, 2015
Location & Time: SCI 184, 4:30-5:30pm
Title: Computational Algebraic Geometry: A Second Whiff

We continue our investigation of computational algebraic geometry, and tie it in with the tropical world.