Winter 2004 Newsletter

From the Chair A Call for Papers
The Governor's Corner Nominations Needed
The Annual KYMAA Meeting Hey Students!
The Invited Talks - including abstracts KYMAA Visiting Lecturer Program

From the Chair

I hope everyone has set aside April 2 - 3, 2004 for our annual section meeting. This is a great opportunity to share your work and your interests with colleagues from across the state. Sharing and connecting is particularly valuable for new faculty, so please suggest to any new faculty in your department that they should participate. Murray State University is a lovely campus and the meeting accommodations should serve us well. Our chair-elect, John Wilson of Centre College, has been working hard to assemble a good program of invited speakers and workshops; Details can be found under The Invited Talks below. You and the faculty in your department can help by submitting talks. Additional details about the meeting can be found under The Annual KYMAA Meeting.

(By the way, congratulations to John and his colleagues at Centre for taking a group of twenty one students to Phoenix to attend the national mathematics meetings. Whenever I saw these students, they appeared to be having a great time. John was looking a little haggard toward the end, though!)

I also encourage you to plan to attend the Tri-Section Meeting to be held November 5 - 6, 2004 at the University of Evansville. The MAA sections from Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky are sponsoring a combined meeting, together with the Midwest History of Mathematics Group. T he featured speakers will be Ron Graham, president of the MAA; Brian Conrey, director of the American Institute of Mathematics; and Woody Dudley of Depauw, who has promised to revive his trisectors talk in honor of this Tri-Section Meeting. There will, of course, be plenty of submitted talks, plus Project NExT activities. There may be over two hundred mathematicians in attendance and I hope Kentucky will be well represented!

See you soon!

Bill Fenton at

The Governor's Corner

I would like to share with you some of my thoughts and observations gained while attending the Board of Governor's (BOG) meeting held prior to the AMS/MAA Joint Meeting in Phoenix in January 2004. This was the fourth BOG meeting that I have attended as Governor of the Kentucky Section.

Finances: The Board of Governors is legally responsible for the financial operation of the MAA and thus the MAA treasurer's report always seems to command much of our time. In short the MAA is a very complex organization but is doing quite well. Treasurer John Kenelly likes to use the phrase "6-6-6-6" to describe our financial condition: a 6 million dollar budget, 6 million in buildings, 6 million in endowment, and 6 million in grants. Much of the revenue comes from member dues so recruitment of new members and retention of current members are topics that are always of concern. It was reported that 2,145 individual and 23 institutional new memberships were received during the second half of 2003. In 2003 the total membership of the MAA was over 25,000. Incidentally, the institutional membership which has traditionally been based on the calendar year is moving to one based on the academic year. It is hoped that some colleges and universities will find it easier to budget for the annual dues under the new schedule.

Project NExT: Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching) is now in its 10th year and continues to grow. It has supported more than 700 Fellows over this period. ExxonMobil continues to provide approximately half of the needed support with the remaining support coming from a variety of organizations and individual donors. The goal is for Project NExT to be completely supported by the MAA within three years. A ripple effect of the success of Project NExT is that ExxonMobil has recently provided $475,000 for establishing ACCCESS, a program that is designed to support, initially, 30 community college faculty in activities that are similar in spirit to those of Project NExT. It is anticipated that ACCCESS (Advancing Community College Careers: Education, Scholarship, and Service) will encourage community colleges faculty to increase their participation in the MAA. Incidentally, 18 MAA sections (KY Section not included) now have their own NExT-like programs. Guidelines for the establishment of a sectional NExT-like program can be found on the MAA web site

Final CUPM Report: The final version of the CUPM (Committee on Undergraduate Programs in Mathematics) Curriculum Guidelines, together with a copy of the CRAFTY (Calculus Reform and the First Two Years) report will be mailed to all mathematics departments in early February. The CUPM document represents several years of work in an effort to update the last CUPM report, which was published approximately 10 years ago. The first CUPM report appeared in 1953. These two documents should be valuable sources of information and direction as our departments participate in planning and assessment of their courses and programs.

Book Sales: The Association continues to push forward in the area of publication of new textbooks and several new books are creating much interest and excitement. Please be sure to visit the MAA book exhibit during the April Section meeting in Murray. I think you will see several that will be of interest.

New On-Line Journal/new SIGMAA: Math DL will merge with the new MAA on-line magazine Convergence. Convergence will focus on the History of Mathematics and should be helpful to those who use the history of mathematics in their teaching. Also the BOG approved a new MAA SIGMAA (Special Interest Group) in Quantitative Literacy. It is SIGMAA QL and raises the number of MAA SIGMAAs to eight. SIGMAA QL should be of interest to many faculty who teach courses where quantitative literacy is discussed.

Committees: Numerous committee reports and recommendations were received at the BOG meeting including the establishment of a new committee on Web Policies and Procedures. Incidentally, the MAA does much of its work by using well over 100 committees. As Governor I am eligible to submit nominations for committee membership. If you would like to serve on a MAA committee(s) I will be happy to forward such a recommendation. These recommendations are forwarded to the Committee on Committees who, together with advice from the Chair of the Coordinating Council, make the final committee assignments. It was emphasized that a supporting vita is helpful in this committee membership process.

History: There seems to be an increase in the interest of MAA sections to place more emphasis on the historical development of our organization and our sections. MAA staff at the headquarters in Washington, D.C. recently discovered old documents in a basement that relate to the origins of the MAA itself. It was mentioned that an effort at the University of Texas is centered on collecting and archiving section documents of a historical nature. Hopefully this interest will continue and the KY Section can become active in this process.

NCTM: Finally, there have been discussions between the NCTM and the MAA in an effort to formulate a policy statement concerning the teaching of calculus in high schools. It was proposed that any calculus course offered in a high school be treated as a college level course, in spirit and content, and that students who do well in such a course be able to place into the succeeding college calculus course. This generated much discussion but with no action taken. The issue would be resubmitted for consideration after further discussions between the organizations.

MAA Website: If you haven't recently visited the MAA web site at I encourage you to do so. It is greatly improved and has expanded to contain a wealth of information about our organization and it many activities. It is a great way to stay on top of available activities and opportunities in the mathematical community.

If you have any concerns or questions regarding the MAA please let me know. I will try to assist you in any way I can.

Rodger Hammons at
KYMAA Governor

The Annual KYMAA Meeting

Our 2004 KYMAA Annual Meeting is scheduled for April 2 - 3, 2004 at Murray State University, Murray Kentucky. This should be an outstanding meeting and we strongly encourage you to join the fun. Perhaps you can give a talk, or just come and listen to what your fellow mathematicians are up to these days.

More information is provided below, including a description of the invited talks, a call for papers, a call for nominations and information for students. Information to facilitate your attendance of the meeting, including various forms for registration and talks, directions, lodging information, and meal information can be found on our 2004 Annual Meeting and 2004 Meeting Program webpages. Complete program details fill appear in the next newsletter on March 15, 2004. Please note the following important dates for the KYMAA Annual Meeting:

  • March 1 : deadline for submitting abstracts for talks at the meeting
  • March 15 : publication date of meeting program on this website
  • MARCH 17 : is the Registration Deadline. You Must register by this date if you would like to join us for meals at the meeting since the caterer needs a headcount by this date. At the very least e-mail our section secretary Daylene Zielinski at
  • March 19 : is the last day the hotels will hold the blocks of rooms set aside for the meeting; contact information is on the 2004 Annual Meeting webpage.
  • April 2 - 3 : a grand celebration of Kentucky mathematics at Murray State University!

The various meeting forms can be obtained via the following links:

html Presentation Abstract Faculty Registration Student Registration
latex Presentation Abstract Faculty Registration Student Registration
pdf Presentation Abstract Faculty Registration Student Registration
postscript Presentation Abstract Faculty Registration Student Registration
word Presentation Abstract Faculty Registration Student Registration

Finally, our schedule of hosts for future section meetings is:

2004 Murray State University
2005 Morehead State University
2006 Centre College
2007 any volunteers?!

Please contact any officer of KYMAA if you would interested in hosting a future meeting; we're always on the look out for a good meeting site!

The Invited Talks

The short course on Friday afternoon will be an MAA Workshop on Mathematics for Business Decisions. Professor Tina Deemer and Professor Pallavi Jayawant from the University of Arizona will be conducting the workshop. Both have experience giving this workshop at several national meetings. All participants in the workshop will receive examination copies of the e-texts and a Guided Tour CD, with video and a narrated interactive PowerPoint introduction to the program.

On Friday evening, the invited talk will be given by Professor Suzanne Lenhart of the University of Tennessee will give a talk entitled Can You Parallel Park Your Car with Lie Brackets? In addition to her faculty position, Professor Lenhart is a part-time research staff member at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Saturday morning will feature two invited speakers:

  • Last year's recipient of the Kentucky Section's Distinguished Teaching Award, Professor Ted Suffridge of the University of Kentucky will speak on Geometric Properties of a Family of Polynomials. Professor Suffridge has been on the faculty at UK for the last 36 years. He has directed 10 Ph.D. students and has two more who will receive their degrees later this year.

  • Our second invited speaker on Saturday morning is also an award-winning teacher. Professor Ed Spitznagel of Washington University will give a talk entitled Six Easy Pieces -- or How I Came to Be an Applier of Mathematics, with Half a Dozen Short Short Stories. Professor Spitznagel has authored two books and 187 papers in physics, group theory, mathematical modeling, statistics, and medicine.

Abstracts and Bios

MAA Workshop on Mathematics for Business Decisions
After five years of development, and testing by thousands of students, the Mathematical Association of America has published the electronic texts Mathematics for Business Decisions, Parts 1 and 2. These are distributed as boxed software, with installation CD's and Student Notebooks. Jointly written by a mathematician and a professor of finance, these e-texts feature four interdisciplinary, multimedia projects for lower division students in business and public administration. The two course sequence, including probability, simulation, calculus, and optimization, is designed to replace the traditional combination of finite mathematics and brief calculus. We will demonstrate the new materials, discuss the challenges and rewards of teaching the program, and allow plenty of time for hands-on computer experimentation with the texts.

Suzanne Lenhart speaking on Can You Parallel Park Your Car with Lie Brackets?
Abstract: This talk gives an introduction to the idea of controllability for systems of ordinary differential equations. The connection of Lie brackets with controllability will be given. The relationship between "parallel parking" actions and "noncommunicativity of operators" will be discussed.
Biographical Information: Suzanne Lenhart is a full professor in the Mathematics Department at the University of Tennessee and a part-time research staff member at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She received her PhD at the University of Kentucky in partial differential equations. Her research involves partial differential equations, ordinary differential equations and optimal control. She works on a variety of applications, including population models, disease models, bioremediation, lasers and resource management. She served six years on the SIAM Council from 1995-2000 and currently serves on the SIAM Education Committee. She just finished a two-year term as the President of the Association for Women in Mathematics. She is an elected member of the Board of the Society for Mathematical Biology. Lenhart has been the director of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates summer program at UT since 1990. She was just elected to the SIAM Board of Trustees.

Ted Suffridge speaking on Geometric Properties of a Family of Polynomials.
Abstract: Polynomials are in one sense the simplest kind of complex valued functions and yet their properties can be very complicated. In this talk, we define a family of polynomials that have a surprising geometric property that simplifies the analysis and leads to some unexpected applications.
Biographical Information: Ted Suffridge received a Masters degree in Mathematics from Wichita State University and taught for five years at Miltonvale Wesleyan College in Kansas. He then went to The University of Kansas where he received a PhD under the direction of Professor S.M. Shah. Ted has been on the faculty at UK for the past 36 years. He has directed theses for 10 PhD students and expects to have two additional students receive their degrees in May 2004.

Ed Spitznagel speaking on Six Easy Pieces -- or How I Came to Be an Applier of Mathematics, with Half a Dozen Short Short Stories.
Abstract: We tell our students that mathematics is good for so many different things. I firmly believe that this assertion is not just a pious fiction, and I will illustrate with six vignettes from my own career as a mathematician with a taste for applied problems. My vignettes are: 1) Landing a job with a postcard resume. 2) You haven't solved a problem until you've found the real source of error. 3) Saving a typist's eyesight with a Kronecker product. 4) Saving lives by terminating a $200,000,000 product line. 5) Bayes' rule and paternity testing. 6) Pharmacokinetics and the battle of the antacids.
Biographical Information: Edward Spitznagel received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1965. He served on the faculty of Northwestern University from 1965 to 1969. Since 1969 he has been on the faculty of Washington University, with a primary appointment in the Department of Mathematics. Since 1978 he has also held a joint appointment in the Division of Biostatistics in the Washington University School of Medicine. He has received ten awards for teaching, including the MAA Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics. He has authored two books and 187 papers in physics, group theory, mathematical modeling, statistics, and medicine.

A Call for Papers

One of the main activities of our annual meetings is the presentation of papers by faculty and students. Please consider giving a talk at this year's meeting. Use this opportunity to share mathematical ideas and insights, an interesting mathematical application, or an effective teaching innovation with your colleagues from across the state. For students, consider reporting on an honor's project or a summer research project. A panel presentation on current mathematical issues is always interesting.

For both faculty and students, if you wish to make a presentation, fill out the Presentation Abstract Form and submit by March 1, 2004. A copy of the form can be obtained above under 2004 Annual Meeting. In general, talks are scheduled for 20-minute intervals. Although, special presentations can be allocated more time if necessary. It is important to note any special needs and a time preference on this form. Submit the Presentation Abstract Form by either regular mail, fax, e-mail (preferred!) to:

John Wilson
Department of Mathematics
Centre College
Danville, KY 40422
fon: 859 - 238 - 5409
fax: 859 - 236 - 9610

Nominations Needed

We're Taking Down Names!!

As we acknowledged last year (see, classified ads for college faculty tend to be less than honest, since none ever declare a desire to hire a "highly-motivated individual, tolerant of low pay, willing to work hard in exchange for occasional bouts of extreme job satisfaction."

Well, we in the KYMAA are setting a new standard for honesty! We want to hire two highly motivated individuals to serve as Vice-Chair and Student Chapters Coordinator (one person for each position, in case there is any doubt). These positions offer unique rates of pay: in each case, the monthly stipend is zero (note that this is the only real number whose reciprocal is infinite!). Job satisfaction can, quite seriously, be extraordinarily high.

For information about the duties involved in these positions, please contact those currently holding them:

We are fortunate that both are both eligible and willing to stand for re-election. However, we welcome names of additional individuals, either self-submitted or suggested by colleagues. Please reflect, and send your suggestions to any member of the Nominating Committee: Elections will be held at the Business Meeting. Thanks for your thoughtful suggestions!

Barry Brunson at
Chair 2004 Nominating Committee

Hey Students!

April is Mathematics Awareness Month. This year's theme is the Mathematics of Networks: It's a Small World. Encourage your math clubs to organize activities during the month of April. You can also kick off the 2004 Mathematics Awareness Month celebration by organizing a trip to attend the Annual KYMAA Section Meeting, April 2-3, 2004 at Murray State University (MSU).

This year, students will join faculty at the Friday night banquet. Meals for students will be at a discounted price. Don't forget to prepare a poster to be displayed at a poster session of math and computer science club activities. Take pictures and prepare descriptions of your activities. Clubs can prepare self standing poster boards three feet in height and four feet in width to exhibit during the meeting or they can prepare 8 1/2 by 11 entries to be displayed on easels provided by MSU.

Students gave thirteen presentations at the 2003 meeting - it would be great to surpass this number at the 2004 meeting. Perhaps you know someone who could give a presentation at the meeting?! Student presenters will have a choice of a free one-year subscription to the Mathematical Association of America, which includes a monthly publication of the student's choice, or a book.

If you have any questions about MAA math clubs or student participation at the meeting, please feel free to contact me.

Dora Ahmadi at
KYMAA Coordinator of Student Chapters

KYMAA Visiting Lecturer Program

We would like to remind everyone of the Visiting Lecturer Program for KYMAA. We have compiled a list of those willing to give visiting lectures, the titles of those lectures, a short bio of the speaker, and contact information. This list also includes speakers willing to speak at high schools. You are invited to consider our list of speakers on the webpage for the KYMAA Visiting Lecturer Program

Lectures are undergraduate accessible, but not necessarily freshman/sophomore accessible (talks are designated as accessible to high school students). Being listed does not obligate a speaker to accept invitations, but participants are willing to travel within a reasonable radius of their home institutions. Participants do not require or expect an honorarium from the host institution. However, the host institution is expected to take full responsibility for making all arrangements directly with the speaker, covering all travel expenses, publicizing the event, and acting as a host throughout the speaker's visit.

We are still looking for speakers to include on our list of visiting lecturers; those interested in being visiting lecturers should e-mail their information to either: Dr. Kathryn Lewis of Morehead State University at or Dr. Daylene Zielinski of Bellarmine University at Please send them the following information:

  • Name as you wish it to appear,
  • Title and Institution,
  • Contact Information including: address, phone, email, fax, url,
  • A short professional biography that gives some idea of your expertise; please limit your biography to a maximum of 150 words,
  • Titles of lectures you are interested in giving; please indicate which talks are accessible to high school students.