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University of Wisconsin-Marshfield / Wood County

Wisconsin MAA Spring Presenters

Diane Benjamin (Edgewood College)

“Mathematics Knowledgefor Teaching (Middle / Secondary) – is there such a thing and, if so, what can it teach a mathematics professor?”

Abstract: Our role as teacher-educators, in training the next generation of middle/secondary mathematics teachers, offers distinct challenges and sometimes raises controversial questions. What mathematics content belongs in the preparation of future high school mathematics teachers? What understanding of and commitment to teaching that demonstrates integrity to the subject do we hope to instill? How do we prepare these future teachers – the most public of ambassadors for mathematics – to respond to their students in ways that are intellectually rich and engaging? Is there a customizedMathematics Knowledge for Teaching? This question will be examined (and stories told) through the lens of a 400-level undergraduate mathematics course with content that never rises above the 12thgrade level. Colleagues, consider this is a call to join the conversation!


Bio: Diane Benjamin teaches at Edgewood College in Madison Wisconsin, and previously taught at UW-Platteville. Diane’s area of specialization within mathematics is abstract algebra; where she has a short but happy list of publications. Throughout her career, she has also worked, quite concertedly, to build second path of (evolving) expertise in the scholarship of teaching; where she has a growing list of publications and presentations. Outside of her profession, her favorite things are tearing around with her best pal and grandson Keaton, knitting, and ripping up the back-roads of Ireland with her one-and-only – in any order.


Walter Stromquist (Swarthmore College)

“The Mathematics of Three-Candidate Elections”


Abstract: Three-way elections pose special challenges. What can we learn from Salvador Allende, John Anderson, Joe Lieberman, Lisa Murkowski, Charlie Crist, John Edwards, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and Vicente Fox? The 2012 Republican primaries offered weekly examples, and in a way, so did Wisconsin's recall election. We might want a system that respects the "No Spoilers" rule---if X would beat Y in a head-to-head race, then Y should not be the winner of an X-Y-Z race. Alas, no reasonable system has this property. We’ll look at some ways to cope, including instant runoffs, Borda counts, and Eric Maskin's "true majority" rule.


Bio: Walter Stromquist is the Editor of Mathematics Magazine. After attending the University of Kansas and Harvard University, he worked first for the U.S. Treasury's Office of Tax Analysis. He then joined Daniel H. Wagner, Associates, a mathematical consulting firm, where his work included applications of mathematics to submarine search, financial risk management, and valuation of oil fields. He has continued this work as an independent consultant, and has published papers related map coloring, permutation patterns, fair division, and applied topics. He has taught most recently at Bryn Mawr College and Swarthmore College and in the Awesome Math Summer Program. He has been active in the MAA and in the EPADEL Section.


Robert Delaney (Boston University)

“The Fractal Geometry of the Mandelbrot Set”


Abstract: In this lecture we describe several folk theorems concerning the Mandelbrot set. While this set is extremely complicated from a geometric point of view, we will show that, as long as you know how to add and how to count, you can understand this geometry completely. We will encounter many famous mathematical objects in the Mandelbrot set, like the Farey tree and the Fibonacci sequence. And we will find many soon-to-be-famous objects as well, like the "Devaney" sequence. There might even be a joke or two in the talk. This talk only supposes a knowledge of complex numbers and is accessible to undergraduates.


Bio: Robert Devaney is currently Professor of Mathematics at Boston University. He received his undergraduate degree from the College of the Holy Cross in 1969 and his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in 1973 under the direction of Stephen Smale. He taught at Northwestern University and Tufts University before coming to Boston University in 1980. His main area of research is dynamical systems, primarily complex analytic dynamics, but also including more general ideas about chaotic dynamical systems. Lately, he has become intrigued with the incredibly rich topological aspects of dynamics, including such things as indecomposable continua, Sierpinski curves, and Cantor bouquets. He is President-elect of the MAA.